Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Cupcakes

What is the difference between a cupcake and a muffin? There's probably some technical divider having to do with the process of making them or the moisture or the crumb. In the case of these pumpkin cupcakes, however, I've decided that the only difference is the frosting. So this morning, I had a lovely pumpkin muffin for breakfast.

With Halloween approaching, it is clearly time to dust off the pumpkin recipes. If you read any food blogs, you've no doubt been subjected to many, many mouthwatering pictures of pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin cake, pumpkin whoopie pies, you name it! And hey, no complaints here, I love pumpkins. I jumped on the bandwagon this weekend and made these delicious pumpkin muffins (cupcakes), straight from a real pumpkin.

This was my first time making my own pumpkin puree. Most recipes that use pumpkins call for pumpkin puree, which can either be purchased in a can or made at home with a pumpkin. I thought I'd try the latter, and I am so glad I did! It was really easy and well worth it - I have plenty of puree left over to use in future recipes. The Pioneer Woman (whose cookbook comes out today!) has a great guide to making your own puree, if you're interested. High recommendation.

Don't forget to save the seeds. I toasted them in a little olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon and paprika. Yum! Yes, this pumpkin recipe is like a gift that keeps on giving. And we haven't even gotten to the cupcakes yet!

Okay, on to the cupcakes (muffins). I had a little bit of trouble finding a recipe. I was using my mom's kitchen, so I had a lot of ingredients on hand, but I was surprised to find myself short for many of the recipes. Self-rising flour? Nope, sorry, Martha. Buttermilk? Nope, sorry Deb. Guess old-fashioned pumpkin cupcakes (muffins) aren't that common?!

Well, I was determined to come up with something. I finally found a recipe to work with and was very happy with the results. They were delicious frosted as cupcakes, and also un-frosted as muffins. Wright decided to make his even more delicious with a little extra decorating...

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Adapted from Thoroughly Modern Housewife, on Tastykitchen.com
Makes 18-20 cupcakes

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin pan with paper cups.
2. Sift together flour, spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.
3. Beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Stir in the milk and pumpkin puree. Mine didn't look very pretty; it's okay.
4. Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula until just incorporated.
5. Pour batter into muffin cups and bake about 25 minutes.

For the frosting, I followed the recipe's advice and beat 8 oz. of cream cheese with 1/3 stick of butter, then slowly added 3 cups of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. First of all, this is WAY too much frosting. Unless you are piping it on Magnolia's style, half that recipe. Also, only frost what you will eat at that time, because, well, you might want to try and pull these off as muffins.

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