Vanilla Ginger Spice Cupcakes with Brandy Buttercream Frosting

While I was in Germany earlier this month, I made these lovely Vanilla Ginger Spice Cupcakes, only I made mini- ones. Of course, I was daft enough to not photograph them. This actually was just an excuse to make them again.

For the cupcakes
1 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extra22ct
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
1/2 cup water

for the frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon brandy (or 1 teaspoon brandy extract, if you object to the alcohol)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
2 and 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a standard 12-muffin tin with paper liners, or 24 mini-muffin tin with liners.

For the cupcakes, Combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside. Using a hand mixer, beat together the melted butter, vanilla, sugar, molasses, and egg. Add 1/4 cup of the water to the melted butter mixture, then half the dry mixture, and stir. Add the remaining water and dry mixture to the wet, and beat until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 22 minutes (12-15 for minis), until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool for 30 minutes.

For the frosting, place the butter and cream cheese into a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on med-high speed. Add in the spices and brandy (extract), and beat for one minute more. Add in the sifted confectioners sugar and, starting on low, mix until the mixture starts coming together, then turn the speed up and beat until light and smooth. Fill a piping bag and pipe a swirl on each cupcake. Decorate with sugar decorations, sprinkles or edible glitter. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
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