Friday, November 16, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Creamy Brown Sugar Frosting

I've been plotting what to bake for my boss' birthday for weeks.  On a sidenote, her birthday happens to coincide with my work anniversary, and what better birthday present for her than me, right?  ;-)  Anyway, last year I made her THESE, which everyone loved.  This year I decided to go with an autumnal flavor - pumpkin!

I found a great pumpkin cupcake recipe that was light and not brick-like texture - great.  There was a maple cream cheese frosting recipe that went with it, and I'm sure that would be fine.  But I wanted to try something a little different.

I'm not really a huge cream cheese frosting fan, and I'm not sure why.  But after lots of searching, I just settled for a different type of cream cheese frosting - brown sugar.

The flavor was great, and it was creamy and not overly sweet.  It was a big hit at the office, and everyone was raving about the frosting.  Perfect!

Since it was a cream cheese frosting that softens up quite a bit, I made the frosting the night before, refrigerated it, and then piped it the morning of with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.  It worked well, and I'm glad to have another fantastic cupcake recipe to add to the ever-growing list!

Pumpkin Cupcakes 
(from Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 17 to 18 cupcakes

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
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I used far less as I don't like it super-spicy)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin

1. Preheat the oven to 350° (175°C). Line a cupcake pan with 18 liners.

2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.

3. Add the eggs 1 at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners — you’re looking to get them 3/4 full. Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely.

Creamy Brown Sugar Frosting
(slightly adapted from Epicurious)
It makes more than you will need. Bummer, right?

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add brown sugar; beat until well blended. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup (scant) at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Chill at least until firm enough to pipe, about 30 minutes.

Put frosting in large Ziploc bag or pastry bag to pipe on cupcakes. Pipe on and sprinkle cinnamon on top to finish.


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