Spice Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting by Krista Davis

Food was very important in my family when I was growing up. My mom baked a cake every Saturday morning, just in case someone dropped by over the weekend. I always looked forward to teatime with cake or a pastry. Needless to say, when I left home and was on my own, I didn’t do quite as much cooking, but I always baked something special if guests were coming to visit. Some habits die hard.

The truth is that I like to eat. When I worked at a large convention hotel, I became very spoiled because they served wonderful food and even had a dining area just for the employees. In the middle of every meeting I went to, someone arrived with tea, coffee, and trays of fruit and pastries. Suddenly, when my friends wanted to go out for fast food, I wasn’t so enthusiastic. After all, I was eating gourmet food every day at work!

In Color Me Murder, Florrie Fox manages a bookstore by day and draws adult coloring books during her time off. But she has to eat, right? One of Florrie’s favorite things to do is bake. Each book in the series will include a few of the yummy things she bakes to share with her family and friends.

This is one of my favorite go-to recipes. I love it  (maybe too much) and I find that it’s always well received when I take it somewhere as a gift.

Spice Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

(makes 12 regular cupcakes or 24 mini-cupcakes)

3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of cloves

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup regular sugar

1 large egg (room temperature)
1/2 cup applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 and place cupcake papers in pan.

Use a fork to mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a bowl. Set aside.

Cream the butter with the sugars. Add the egg and beat. Add the applesauce and beat. Beat in the flour mixture until smooth.

Fill cupcake papers a little over 1/2 full. Bake 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Caramel Frosting

1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter (room temperature)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar

Place first four ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. (I use a Pyrex 2-cup measure.) Microwave in short bursts from 20-50 seconds, stirring each time until it bubbles up and is hot. Set aside to cool. Must be completely cool to make the frosting. (After it cools substantially, I place it in the fridge for 1/2 hour while the butter comes to room temperature.)

Beat the butter well, scraping the sides and beating again. Add the cream and the cool caramel mixture and beat. Add the vanilla and beat. Slowly add the powdered sugar until it reaches the desired consistency.

Includes A Front and Back Cover for You to Color! 
Download the PDF and start coloring today.

By day, Florrie Fox manages Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. By night, she creates her own intricately detailed coloring books for adults, filling the pages with objects that catch her eye. There’s plenty of inspiration in her new apartment—a beautiful carriage house belonging to Professor John Maxwell, Florrie’s boss. He offers the property to Florrie rent-free with one condition—she must move in immediately to prevent his covetous sister and nephew from trying to claim it.

When the professor’s nephew, Delbert, arrives, he proves just as sketchy as Florrie feared. But the following morning, Delbert has vanished. It’s not until she visits the third floor of the store that Florrie makes a tragic discovery—there’s a trap door in the landing, and a dead Delbert inside. The esteemed Professor Maxwell is an obvious suspect, but Florrie is certain this case isn’t so black and white. Doodling clues, she begins to consider other colorful characters on the scene, all with a motive for murder. With a killer drawing closer, Florrie will need to think outside the lines . . . before death makes his mark again.