December 11, 2016 • BOOKS, FOOD, PEOPLE, RECIPE

Candace Nelson “Sprinkles” On Some Holiday Cheer [RECIPE]


Sprinkles cupcakes founder Candace Nelson, who shares her recipe for Spice cupcakes with us below, is wearing our Flurry Dot Top. “Draper James always does holiday style in such a fun and feminine way,” she says. “I love this top because it checks all the boxes: the black color is timelessly chic, the silhouette is feminine, and the crisp white snowflakes are festive and playful.”

If anyone knows the recipe to a sweet holiday season, it’s Candace Nelson. A pal of Reese’s and a supporter of Draper James since its inception, Candace is the founder of Sprinkles, the world famous cupcake bakery. Boasting almost two-dozen store locations in her cupcake empire—including a spot on the same street as our Nashville boutique—Candace, along with her team, churns out cupcakes all year-round.

There are classic styles plus seasonal favorites, including one of our favorites this time of year: a flavor called simply, Spice. “This spice cupcake is full of warm spices that are perfect for celebrating the holiday season,” says Candace of the wintry flavor.
“They are the perfect treat as soon as there is a slight chill in the air. I love serving them alongside a frothy latte or cup of egg nog.”


The Sprinkles Baking Book, Candace’s new recipe book, makes “the perfect holiday gift!” she says. “Or even better: make it a pre-holiday gift so that you can bake up treats in time for your holiday celebrations.” The book and Candace’s Spice cupcakes are shown here on our Draper James Amaryllis Placemat.

Recipe for Spice Cupcakes from Sprinkles Baking Book

Makes 12 cupcakes or one 2-layer 9-inch cake

Even in sunny California, I still look forward to using the so-called “warm spices” that herald the start of the winter baking season. Regardless of the season, this recipe delivers a delicious dose of cozy comfort in every bite. These cupcakes combine a generous blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves into a luxurious cake sweetened with rich, dark molasses. Top them with velvety, cinnamon-laced cream cheese frosting . . . and may I suggest a latte to go along?


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk, shaken
  • ⅓ cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •  ⅔ cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
  •  ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk, molasses, and vanilla. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, add the eggs one at a time, and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add half the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, then the remaining flour mixture, beating until just blended after each addition.

Divide the batter evenly among the liners and bake until the cupcakes are dry to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

To Bake as a Cake

Butter two 9″ round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper cut to fit, and butter the parchment. Flour the pans, coating the bottom and sides of each pan, then tap out the excess flour. Divide the batter between the two pans and bake until the tops are dry to the touch, the sides of the cake start to pull away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (for generally the same amount of time as in the cupcake recipe). Let cool on a wire rack, then remove each cake from its pan, discard the parchment paper, and set one cake layer on a cake round, frosting turntable, or the final serving platter. Frost the top of that cake layer with the frosting, stack the second layer on top, and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.

Recipe for Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting from Sprinkles Baking Book

Makes 2 cups

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, slightly softened
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, and beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium, add the cinnamon and vanilla, and beat until fully blended, 1 to 2 minutes, making sure not to incorporate too much air into the frosting.