In case you weren’t aware of this yet, I am the current Cupcake Queen of my department at work.  What that means is, whenever someone has a birthday, I bring in cupcakes.  I actually volunteered for this job, because I like to cook, and when the former Cupcake Queen left our department, no one else wanted to take over her duties.  So I sort of crowned myself.


Yesterday was a coworker’s birthday, so I had to bring the cupcakes.  While shopping the day before, I was totally agonizing over what kind of cupcakes to make, because although usually I can drag some sort of creative response out of the Victims as to what flavor cupcakes they want, this girl gave me absolutely no clue.  So I just kind of had to wing it.


I had seen an interesting recipe in a cookbook for marble swirl cupcakes with dulce de leche icing, and it looked easier to make than the carrot/cardamom cupcakes that were also in the book.  Also, I thought that more people might like the marble cupcakes, instead of some differently-spiced (cardamom) cupcakes with a flavor that they probably couldn’t identify. 


In the interest of both time and budget, I had already decided to get a box mix, instead of making everything from scratch.  I dunno.  Call me lazy.  So I went to the grocery store to get supplies.   I saw ONE box of marble cake mix there, and it looked kind of…sad.  It was a mostly yellow cake, with very minute flecks of fudge in it.  Not marbly at all.  So I looked for Plan B.


I ended up getting a box of spice cake mix.


…Cue a trip down memory lane…


When I was a very little girl, my mom used to get me birthday cakes of whatever I was totally obsessed with at the time.  Before the age of 5, I remember having a Holly Hobbie cake, a Raggedy Ann cake, and another cake with some sort of Sesame Street character (Big Bird?).  Those were all well and good, but the best birthday cake ever was still to come…


After my parents divorced, my sister and I lived with my mom.  As I recall, she was pretty broke.   But that didn’t stop her from making me the best birthday cake ever!


Back in the late 70s, you could get boxes of cake mix that included a little tray to bake the cake in.  The tray was about the size of the box, and I think it included a packet of cake mix and a packet of icing.  So it was pretty much an all-inclusive cake experience.


So anyway, my mom got this cake kit and baked me a cake for my birthday.  (I think it was my 5th or 6th.)  The flavor was Spice Cake.


As I recall, she did the hard part—reaching up to turn on the oven, (Which was electric.  Very sad…) mixing the batter, and putting the cake in to bake.  I, however, got to do the fun part!  I got to knead the packet of icing, and then I think I even got to ice the cake!


And let me tell you, eating a cake that you made with your mom, fresh out of the oven, is pretty much the best way to celebrate a birthday.  Store-bought cakes may be pretty, but homemade cakes are full of LOVE. 


Tastiest.  Cake.  EVER.


My mom gets kind of freaked out that I remember EVERYTHING, but maybe she’ll feel a little better knowing that I remember the good stuff, too.  ;-]


Oh, and about the cupcakes:

Everyone LOVED the spice cake cupcakes with the dulce de leche icing!  It was the first time EVER that I didn’t have to take any leftovers home!  Yay, me!


  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • (+ whatever ingredients the box says to get)
  • 1 container cream cheese icing
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
  • Caramel sundae topping (Or caramel Magic Shell)
  1. Bake cupcakes according to directions on box
  2. Let cool for at least 30 minutes
  3. Mix 1 tsp cinnamon into icing
  4. Ice cupcakes
  5. Decoratively apply caramel to tops of cupcakes.  My original intent was to squirt in stripes, then drag a toothpick to make a sort of marble effect.  This did not work.  Instead, I had caramel everywhere, and I sort of tried to salvage the design as well as I could.  But the ugliness did not deter the consumers.  So I guess it doesn’t matter what they look like anyway… 
  6. Sprinkle tops of cupcakes with more cinnamon.  Because more is more…