Friday, October 25, 2013

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Wow, I can't believe October is over in less than a week! It really just flew by. I wanted to make sure I posted at least one more pumpkin recipe before the end of the month. This one is a great one! I made these pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting last Saturday during a baking break while working on papers. They are so delicious! I think it's my favorite pumpkin recipe I've made this season. The cupcakes are perfectly spiced & the texture is amazing. The frosting is also pretty incredible. I'm usually strictly a frosting person, but I actually might like the actual cake better in these cupcakes (don't tell the frosting). I topped some of the cupcakes with sweet and salty pumpkin seeds. This is totally optional. Greg thought he wouldn't like them, but he loved the combo and when given the choice of having one with or without seeds, he chose one with seeds. I also shared some cupcakes at work this week & my coworkers enjoyed them. One coworker said the seeds were good, but she thought that the cupcake alone with the cream cheese frosting was so good that she didn't really need the seeds. I had actually made the pumpkin seeds to top a butternut squash soup, and I used the leftovers for the cupcakes just for fun. I'll be sharing that soup recipe soon. But for now, here is the recipe for moist pumpkin cupcakes with yummy cream cheese frosting that is spiked with just a little bit of cinnamon. Enjoy (I think my baby really enjoyed the cream cheese frosting - so I think I am going to have to incorporate more cream cheese frosting into my diet)!

Recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (and sweet & salty pumpkin seeds)

2 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tsp. of baking soda
2 tsp. of baking powder
2 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. of ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. of ground cloves
3/4 tsp. of salt
15 ounce can of pumpkin puree
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of light brown sugar
1 cup of canola oil
4 eggs

8 ounce package of cream cheese
6 Tbsp. of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/4 tsp. of vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon
2 cups of powdered sugar, sifted

Sweet and Salty Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup of pumpkin seeds
2 tsp. of canola oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

Put the pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and canola oil into a large bowl. Use an electric hand mixer set on medium-low speed to blend. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix after adding each one. Add in half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed, and then add the rest of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just incorporated.

Line cupcake pans with paper liners. Use a cookie dough scoop to fill the liners three quarters full with the batter. Put in oven and bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Check to make sure cupcakes are done (insert a toothpick in the center & if it comes out clean, it's done). Then remove from oven and put pans on a wire rack. Let cool for about 10 minutes, remove cupcakes from the pans and allow to cool completely.

When cupcakes are cooled, make the frosting. Put the cream cheese and softened butter into a medium sized bowl. Use an electric hand mixer set on medium-high speed to beat together for a couple minutes, or until mixture is smooth. Then add in the vanilla extract and mix. Mix in the ground cinnamon. Add in about 3/4 cup of the powdered sugar and blend until fully incorporated, then add in another 3/4 cup and blend. Check flavor and consistency, then add in another 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup depending on your preference and beat until completely smooth.

Frost the cupcakes.

For the pumpkin seeds: Put the sugar and salt into a largish sized bowl. Heat the canola oil over medium high heat. Add in the pumpkin seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until the seeds begin to pop quickly (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and add seeds to the sugar and salt mixture. Stir to coat. Pour the seeds onto a foil-lined baking sheet and allow to cool. Then top cupcakes with desired amount of seeds (I added about 5 - 8 per cupcake).

Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge. They stay fresh and delicious for about 5 days.

Recipe makes about 20 cupcakes. 

Pumpkin Cupcake Recipe Source: Annie's Eats
Sweet & Salty Pumpkin Seed Recipe Source: Alexandra Cooks