Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

One of the things I like most about baking and caking is the process by which a project "comes together". For me, this process is often a string of random ideas and happy coincidences. I found the inspiration for these Fall themed cupcakes as I was browsing Melissa Diamond's blog at Her turkey cake and Fall cupcakes caught my attention because they were so colorful and fun. As luck would have it- happy coincidence- :), I had some of the Fall leaves sprinkles used to decorate the cupcakes on hand.

When I ran across the Fall tree decoration idea, I was already planning to make some pumpkin cupcakes topped with my favorite cream cheese frosting. I thought these tree decorations would pull the cupcakes together so nicely. After all, a pumpkin flavored cupcake with cream cheese frosting definitely tastes like Fall and with these colorful Autumn trees on top they look like Fall too.

So now I just needed a great pumpkin cupcake recipe. I wanted a recipe that would knock my socks off and wondered who I should turn to: Paula?, Duff Goldman from Ace of Cakes? Their recipes looked good, but they incorporated chocolate, and I wanted a traditional pumpkin cupcake recipe. I considered Brown Eyed Baker's recipe, but it called for cake flour, and I have found my trusty King Arthur's All Purpose Flour makes the best cupcakes. I also perused the 130 options on In the end, I went with Martha, I trusted her to do a classic right, and my trust was not misplaced: These cupcakes are scrumptious! The cake is moist and only slightly sweet and the cream cheese frosting adds a perfect extra bit of sweetness.Martha also suggests that you use your favorite cream cheese froting recipe to ice the cupcakes, and I definitely have one of those!

I followed the recipe as is, with only two minor changes. I did not use canned pumpkin. Instead, I roasted a small pie pumpkin in the oven and pureed it in my trusty chopper attachment for the Cuisinart stick blender. Michelle over at Cook Au Vin, loves pumpkin in recipes and uses fresh instead of canned because it is so easy to prepare the fresh pumpkin. I agree that roasting and making the pumpkin into a puree was no big deal, but I will say that you need to have a very good knife before you attempt to cut the pumpkin in half to roast it. I thought our knives were in good shape, but that pie pumpkin let me know I was sadly mistaken. I ended up hacking the top of the pumpkin off with a paring knife, and roasting it upside down. However, I digress. I also did not have ground allspice, so I omitted it.

I will include Martha's pumpkin cupcake recipe below. If you are interested in the Fall tree decorations you can see the tutorial I followed here.

Pumpkin Cupcakes


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


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.

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