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Mrs. Kostyra's Spice Cupcakes


These glazed cupcakes are adapted from a recipe by Martha's late mother, Martha Kostyra, who was an avid baker. She especially enjoyed making spice cakes. The orange glaze is also hers, but the cupcakes would be equally delicious topped with cream-cheese frosting or brown-butter icing. This recipe is from "Martha Stewart's Cupcakes."

  • Yield: Makes 24

Source: Martha Stewart Cupcakes


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for tins
  • 4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted, plus more for tins
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups packed dark- brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
  • Citrus Glaze for Triple-Citrus Cupcakes, made with orange juice and zest


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush standard muffin tins with butter; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, salt, and spices three times.

  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

  3. Divide batter evenly among prepared cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

  4. To finish, place cupcakes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet; spoon glaze over cupcakes, and let set. Cupcakes are best eaten the same day they are glazed; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Cook's Notes

Don't skip the crucial step of sifting the dry ingredients three times, as it helps to fully distribute the spices for the best flavor.

Reviews Add a comment

  • Karma1207
    22 AUG, 2012
    I agree with the other negative reviews. These were very dense and dry and though they smelled fantastic while making them, in the end the spices really didn't come through. The Citrus Glaze was delicious
  • maryjoe85
    28 NOV, 2010
    I definetly agree with others comment.
  • kristinwo9
    3 NOV, 2010
    These were ok.... I will agree with the other comment and say that these are very dense. I took into consideration with the other reviewer said and added more spices to the mixture. However, I don't think I will be making these again.
  • hcdanz1
    1 JUN, 2010
    I was very disappointed with this recipe, which is surprising since I've been so pleased w/ other Martha Stewart cupcake recipes. This one, though, turned out fairly dense, dry, and not nearly spicey enough to be called spice cake. I will def. search for a better recipe next time.
  • hcdanz1
    27 MAY, 2010
    Question: Why bake directly in the pan? Can cupcake wrappers be used instead of baking them directly in the pan or will they stick too badly? What about silicone cupcake liners? Has anyone tried theses? I can't find any reviews.