Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fall is in the Florida Air (kind of) - Pumpkin Cupcakes

It may seem odd to make pumpkin pie, roll, or in this case, cupcakes in April. After all, the taste and spices and smells that are part of these recipes all are associated with fall. The thing is, Florida doesn't have fall. Or winter, or spring...just summer. It is nearly a year since we made the move from Ohio to Florida and even though I thought the holidays would be rough, what I miss most so far was the changing of the leaves and that first day when it just cool enough that you need a sweater but no jacket. I am starting to get off track, but the point was I get a pass, because if I wait for fall in Florida these cupcakes will never happen. Unless of course I wait for the day when it hits 55 degrees again, since that seems to be fall and nearly winter like for Floridians. Its 55 - is a winter coat really necessary?

I liked these cupcakes a lot. I liked them more than the jelly roll cupcake. Pair one with a nice cup of coffee and it makes perfect mid morning snack.

To make this treat, I used a pumpkin cupcake recipe I found on Martha Stewart online and took a basic cream cheese frosting and changed it up a little. Some cream cheese frosting recipes will call for butter, and some won't. I like to use butter for the flavor and consistency it gives. I find it makes the frosting creamier.

Pumpkin Cupcakes - Makes 18
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree***
***Pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin is what you need for this recipe. It can be found in the bakery aisle. You do not want pumpkin pie filling. Be sure to check the can.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
Once cool, frosting with cinnamon frosting (recipe below)

My cupcake pans are dark metal. I heat my oven to only 325 and bake for 25 - 27 minutes. This is a tip from boxed cake mixes and I follow it for anything I bake in a dark metal pan. Basically, you should decrease the oven temp and add about 5 minutes to bake time. In this case, I bake for the full 25 minutes suggested as a max bake time.

Cinnamon Frosting

  • 1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 C butter, room temperature
  • 4 C powdered sugar (feel free to adjust to get the flavor and consistency you want)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 1 T cinnamon
  1. Mix the cream cheese and butter until well combined
  2. Add vanilla, almond extract, and cinnamon
  3. Slowly add powdered sugar until combined.
Frost away!
I like to pipe frosting on cupcakes for two reasons.
1. It is easy. Wilton actually makes a cupcake decorating set. It comes with some disposable
bags, 4 tips (one is the #230 tip for a filling center in your cupcake) and a pamphlet with a few simple techniques. I really do think its easier to pipe frosting on the cupcake than to
spread it on.
2. It looks pretty.

As a note to Nick - I apologize for the lack of an actual pumpkin on the cupcake. I just didn't like the way my frosting looked when I colored a little bit of it orange, and a blob of uncolored frosting trying to look like a pumpkin just ends up looking like a blob. Not to worry though, I am sticking to the clown ban.

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