for me - pumpkin is not just for thanksgiving. it is a flavor i crave all year round.
i am not quite sure where my love of pumpkin came from but i am sure that it had something to do with my Great Aunt Betty's chiffon pumpkin pie. it was not like any pumpkin pie i had ever tasted. it was light in texture and the spices were perfect. i looked forward to thanksgiving because it was the only time i got that awesome pie.
a couple years ago i made it for the first time on my own. it is not the easiest pie to make - it is a long process - but i just love the flavors so i overlook the difficulty. but i am always on the lookout for other baked goods that can mimic that flavor without all of the work.
when i saw this recipe on smitten kitchen
- i knew i had to make it. i knew i could create the flavors of Aunt Betty's pumpkin pie in a cupcake.
the pumpkin cupcake itself was moist with an excellent crumb and had just the right spice. i was a bit freaked out by the addition of black pepper in the cupcake - but it added that extra spice that make these cupcakes a favorite of mine. the maple cream cheese frosting was the perfect finishing touch - not too sweet. i sprinkled the tops with a bit of cinnamon for decoration but it was a nice flavor addition as well. a vanilla buttercream would be equally wonderful but would probably up the sweet factor. pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting
adapted from David Leite
via smitten kitchen
Yield: 17 to 18 cupcakes
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pans
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 pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
cinnamon to sprinkle to tops of cupcakes
Make the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 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, pumpkin pie spice, 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.
Make the frosting:
In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Decorate the cupcakes however you like. I used a plain circle tip.
Refrigerate the cupcakes for 30 minutes to set up frosting.
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