Have you reached pumpkin overload yet? You know how excited us bakers get when it come to pumpkin. Within a course of five weeks, I’ve seen more pumpkin recipes than ever and guess what? I kind of love it. Seasonal baking keeps my kitchen adventures interesting. I’d get bored baking with chocolate or vanilla all year long. You have to add something to the mix and thankfully, pumpkin is that much needed addition that is on the tips of everyone tongues.
However, once Thanksgiving hits, pumpkins get no love. Why is that? Is it the pumpkin overload or is because we start dreaming about big, ridiculous desserts for Christmas? I mean, a pumpkin is great but does it compare to towering layer cakes and deep rich pies that adorn our holiday tables? Most would say it doesn’t but I think that with the right recipe, a pumpkin could compete for a spot on your holiday spread.
Take this pumpkin cupcake recipe. It seems pretty ordinary but once you taste it, it blows your mind. I adapted the recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Sprinkle Bakes, and referred to the ultimate cream cheese frosting from Smitten Kitchen. While the cake recipe calls for brown butter, after burning one batch, I gave up and just melted butter. If you have a better attention span than I do, go ahead and try the brown butter route because I’m sure that only enhances the flavor of the pumpkin in the recipe. The cake combines the ultimate blend of sugar and spice, and delivers that combination in a moist yet sturdy cake. Made out of cream cheese and maple syrup, the frosting is the kind that has you dipping your finger into the frosting bowl every five minutes… Just a taste, you tell yourself… ten minutes later, you are in a frosting coma.
With Halloween coming up next weekend, I think this cupcake would be a fine dessert to have for your party-goers or little munchkins. Trick-or-treating is hard (walking! smiling!) so give them a reward for their oh0so hard endeavors. And don’t forget to stealthily sneak one from the serving plate before bed. I won’t tell anyone, I promise.
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. salt
1/s tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Let the butter melt, swirling the pan occasionally until the butter is completely melted. Pour the butter into a small bowl and let stand until slightly cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk 1 ½ cups of pumpkin puree with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and buttermilk until well combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Whisk in the butter until well blended.
Scoop and fill cupcake liners so they are 3/4th full. Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely. Wrapped rightly or stored in an airtight container, the cupcakes will last for 3 days.
Make the frosting:
In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy, making sure to scrape down the side of the mixing bowl. To assemble the cake, scoop frosting into a piping bag and swirl frosting decoratively in a clockwise pattern. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to set up frosting.