Spice cake isn’t just for fall and winter (or so I tell myself). It is a good alternative to chocolate and vanilla any time of the year, and paired with pineapple it makes it even better. The roasted pineapple filling and rum buttercream in this cupcake hits all the right notes. It is an earthy but very elegant cupcake. The cupcakes are best if filled and brushed with syrup a day ahead and frosted the day of.
For the cake
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup room temperature butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tbs molasses
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the filling
1 medium can of crushed pineapple filling, drained (reserve liquid)
2 tbs honey
For the syrup
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 brown sugar
For the frosting
3 sticks of room temperature butter
5 tbs spiced rum (alternately you can use ¾ tsp of rum flavoring or use vanilla and cinnamon instead)
Tiny splash of vanilla
4 – 5 cups of powdered sugar
Can of pineapple rings cut into thirds, coated with sugar and broiled until slightly caramelized
Caramel sauce (freshly made or from a jar is fine)
Yields 24 cupcakes exactly
For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners.
2. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate bowl crack the eggs and add the molasses and vanilla. Give it a quick, tiny stir.
3. Beat the butter and sugars in a mixer until very light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg-molasses mixture. One egg should slide out of the bowl at a time with a bit of molasses. Mix until completely combined. If the mixture looks marbled it is probably because your eggs were cold compared to the butter. Don’t worry, its fine.
4. Beat in the flour mixture in four parts, alternating with the buttermilk and ending with the flour mixture. Beat just until combined, then scrape sides down to make sure everything is incorporated.
5. Divide batter evenly into the liners. Bake for about 13 minutes. A toothpick should barely come out clean.
6. Let the cupcakes cool in pan for about 10 minutes then transfer from tins onto a wire rack to cool completely.
7. Cut a cone shape out of the cupcakes and fill with pineapple filling. There should be exactly enough to fill all the cupcakes. Spoon a small amount of syrup onto each cupcake. Let them cool completely before frosting. Garnish with a drizzle of caramel and a caramelized pineapple mohawk if desired.
For the filling:
1. Place the drained, crushed pineapple onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with honey. Roast at 350 until the pineapple looks slightly dried out.
2. Transfer the mixture to a container and refrigerate until chilled. Add in about ½ cup of the reserved liquid, or just enough until the pineapple soaks it back up and there is a bit of excess liquid in the bowl.
For the syrup:
1. Combine brown sugar and pineapple juice in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes.
For the frosting:
1. Beat the butter, rum, and vanilla in a mixer until rum is dispersed throughout butter. Slowly add in powdered sugar until desired consistency and sweetness is reached. Chill for 10 minutes until it firms up.