Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pump Up the Pumpkin

I’ve been on a cupcake jag lately and felt I should find a flavor appropriate for the Thanksgiving season. I combined several flavors that I enjoy (and that make me think of cool, crisp temperatures) and decided the perfect opportunity to try it out was at a combination church Game Night and Bake Sale. I’m pleased to report that it was a great success of flavors and would be a sweet treat for Thanksgiving dinner that isn’t pie..

Semi-Homemade Pumpkin Spice Cupcake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese & Homemade Caramel Drizzle

And the big bonus is… You start with a MIX! Yay! I love a good “semi-homemade” recipe.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

  • 1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® Butter Pecan cake mix (if you can’t find Butter Pecan you can use Spice cake mix.)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

In large bowl, beat cake mix, pumpkin, water, oil, eggs and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Don’t overmix your batter. Divide the batter evenly among muffin cups (fill about three-quarters full). Bake at 325°F for about 22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when tested in the center.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese icing and Homemade Caramel Drizzle. Ready for transport.

When the cupcakes are completely cool, frost with something that would go well with "pumpkin” or “spice”. The obvious choice is Cream Cheese frosting. The even better, but maybe less obvious choice is CINNAMON Cream Cheese Frosting. The flavor difference is subtle, but marked.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 Cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 (16 oz.) packages powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.

Gradually add mixture of powdered sugar, salt and cinnamon, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at high speed 2 minutes or until creamy. That’s it! No more. If you overbeat your cream cheese frosting you’ll break down the cream cheese, and it will end up grainy looking and be too soft to hold shape when you pipe it. (Makes about 5 cups)

Pumpkin Spice Cupcake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting & Caramel

This is the easiest cupcake to decorate – all you need is a big zip-top bag. Fill it with your luscious cinnamon cream cheese frosting, snip about a half inch from one corner and swirl it on top of your cupcakes.

To add to the depth of the flavor even more, generously drizzle  some homemade caramel over the top of the frosted cupcake. Oh man!! You won’t believe the flavor… this is really simple, impressive and oh so good!

Homemade Caramel

  • 1/2 Cup butter
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Cup whipping cream

Combine butter and sugar in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is caramel-colored, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and slowly add cream, stirring constantly until blended.

Seriously. That’s it.

Be sure it’s cooled sufficiently before you drizzle. I like a little candy decorating bottle for this, but you could do your drizzling with a spoon or out of the snipped off corner of a bag.

You could add the little Wilton leaf sprinkles if you want, but it’s even pretty without them.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese icing and Homemade Caramel Drizzle

Now you might notice a little hint of something orange there are the top of my cupcake in the photo above. That’s an upside down Pumpkin Spice Hershey’s Kiss. I pushed it into the cupcake while it was still very warm.

Don’t do this.

There are a couple of reasons. First, it’s overkill – you don’t need it – it’s actually too much.

Second, this cupcake will need to be refrigerated because of the cream cheese in the frosting. (Assuming you don’t eat them all at once…) That will just make this Kiss get hard and cold. It’s not quite as tasty that way. So just leave it out.

So, mix it up on your dessert table on Thursday, pass on the pumpkin pie and try a pumpkin-y cupcake instead.

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1 comment:

  1. How did I miss the taste test on these? They look pretty....we'll have to try it next Thanksgiving. Lisa~


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