In an effort to be 100% transparent, I used a cake mix to make these cupcakes.  I think it was a Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix, to be exact.  If you have read this blog for a while, you know that I'm not afraid of or embarrassed by a cake mix.  I use them all of the time for shortcuts - especially when I'm making cupcakes.  Maybe it is just me, but I think that homemade cupcake batter can be a little finicky... it can roll over the sides, it can deflate, etc., and I wanted these to look just perfect in my new Gold Striped Cupcake Papers.  And it was easy.  I was really in the mood for a Fall-ish spice cake topped with creamy, cream cheese frosting and these were everything (and more!) than I had hoped.

People tend to not think about texture as much as they should.  I had a gourmet ice cream sundae at a fancy restaurant this summer, and the combination of textures was unbelievable.  I can still taste (feel it?) right now.  This cupcake combination of creamy frosting, moist cake and crunchy toffee has the same effect - in a very fall way.

Aren't these little Acorn Folded Tags so sweet?  I've been using them all month - attached to gifts as cards, as display signs (like this) and as place cards.

Even though I used a mix, I thought I should provide you with some sort of recipe if you want to make some from scratch.  Here is my favorite, very dense and delicious spice cake recipe.  If you are making them from a box like me, just follow the baking directions and the frosting instructions.  Enjoy!

Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Toffee
makes about 12 cupcakes

1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
2 eggs
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons of melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
4 ounces of cream cheese (1/2 block), room temperature
1 stick of butter
2 cups of powdered sugar (or more)
toffee candies (I used Werther's Original, which are caramel candies), chopped

In a mixer, combine sugar, flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices.  Stir to combine.  Add egg, milk, melted butter and vanilla.  Mix on low until combined.  Beat for 1 minute on medium high. 

Scoop into cupcake papers, I used Gold Striped Papers ($6.50) for a little festive touch.  

Bake at 350 for 13-15 minutes, until tester comes out clean, or cupcakes spring back to touch.  

Because I used a box mix, I had enough to make 12 cupcakes and some loaf-style cakes, too, in my Kraft Loaf Pans for gifts.

For cream cheese frosting, combine cream cheese and butter in a mixer until blended together.  Add powdered sugar and mix for 3 minutes on low.  Frost using an 18" Piping Bag with the tip cut off.   I did a basic, easy swirl - you can just scrape it off and start over if you need some practice.  I try not to do toooo much frosting, just a good ratio.  

I used Werther's Original caramel candies, because my grocery store didn't have toffee, except with milk chocolate.  So, I just chopped up the candies with my knife - it worked great.  

These were so tasty and perfect for breakfast, I mean an afternoon snack with coffee.  What are your favorite Fall desserts?  The next on my list is soft pumpkin spice pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies with a cream cheese butter icing.  That will have to wait until next week... when I can find my rolling pin!

Products Used :

Orange Linen Tea Towel, 2 for $24
Gold Striped Cupcake Papers, 100 for $6.50
Kraft Loaf Pan, 10 for $12.50
Disposable Pastry Bags, 20 for $14.50
Acorn Folded Card, 10 for $6