Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Posted by: Maggie

You didn't honestly thing we were done with pumpkin yet, did you? I'm pretty sure I've had this recipe from Smitten Kitchen bookmarked since she posted it almost two years ago, but I'm just getting around to making it now.

Jeff and I are having a very Halloween/fall themed weekend.  We plan to see Paranormal Activity 2, carve jack-o-lanterns, and go to a haunted forest.  The haunted forest doesn't allow children, so I'm hoping that means it's actually scary! I wanted to make a Halloween themed treat to go along with our fun, and when I gave Jeff the vote between these cupcakes and another Halloween recipe I have saved, he chose these.

A couple notes about the frosting...

 - It's very soft, even though I adjusted the ingredients as per suggestions on the original source of the recipe.  I was able to pipe it using a large round tip - I wouldn't suggest using a star tip since it doesn't hold its shape well.  After piping the frosting onto each individual cupcake I stuck them in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up.

- While delicious, I can't taste the maple flavor at all.  I think if I upped the amount of syrup that would make the frosting even less stable.  I wonder how maple extract would affect the flavor? If anyone tries it out let me know!

About the decorations...

- I bought an "Autumn Mix" from the grocery store that contained pumpkins and two colors of candy corn.  They need to sell those little pumpkins on their own - they're so cute for decorating if I do say so myself!

- They're not pictured because I unfortunately only had a couple minutes to photograph these before heading out the door, but I decorated some of them with a candied pecan half in place of the candy pumpkin.  When I first started cooking I was always really frustrated when recipes called for something like candied pecans, but didn't actually say how to do it.  It's not always obvious to new cooks! To make them, put 2 1/2 tablespoons of white sugar, and 1/2 cup pecan halves into a small skillet.  Stir constantly until the sugar caramelizes and coats the pecans.  The sugar will seem to melt suddenly - for about 5 minutes you'll just be pushing sugar around in a pan thinking it will never liquefy.

Here's what you'll need:

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
Candied pecans and Autumn Mix for decoration

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line cupcake pans with 18 paper liners.

Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium for about 5 minutes, or until fluffy.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.

Add the eggs one at a time to the butter mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.  Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk/vanilla mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.  Beat in the pumpkin until smooth.

Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full, and lightly rap the pans on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean - about 20-25 minutes. Cool on racks completely before frosting.

Frosting recipe:

12 oz (1.5 packages) cream cheese, softened
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 c maple syrup

Mix ingredients together on medium speed until fluffy. 

adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Leite's Culinaria


  1. Did you know that cupcakes are now becoming a big hit here in Portugal? Until 6 months ago hardly anyone knew what a cupcake was, but then some small cupcake bakeries started to open and now it's like cupcake fever everywhere. It reminds me when the first starbucks opened here!
    Anyway I love cupcakes and these with the maple frosting... yummy!

  2. What do you mean by "lightly rap the pans on the counter"?

    1. Just lift them up and give them a good tap on the kitchen counter to help release any air pockets in the batter :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Replies
    1. Hey Rin -

      Per the instructions in this line, sift it with the other dry ingredients (except the sugar):

      "In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt."

      If you're asking if it should be sifted before measuring, that would be no.

      Hope that helps, and enjoy the cupcakes!

      - Maggie


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