Friday, October 18, 2013

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Today is "Sugar Shock Friday" at work. The university I work for has a United Way campaign every fall and departments can compete against each other for highest participation percentage and for highest dollar amount raised. Our first fundraiser this year involves food. Food is the way to people's participation (and wallets) in our department without a doubt.

This year I brought my almost-famous pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. I even put them in cute little jack-o-lantern cupcake wrappers. Within about 15 minutes of my arrival at work and putting out my little treats I had a couple requests for the recipe.

The recipe is written at the bottom of this post if you prefer a concise version. I will walk you though the steps first, though, for anyone who wants more details.

The recipe I use is one I found on another blog and then adapted. If you follow me on Pinterest then you know that I have a lot of food pinned and most of those pins lead to great food blogs. My pins are especially heavy on baked goods and desserts. I cook a lot. I am self taught and am always trying new things.

The cupcake recipe is actually a pumpkin bar recipe (the recipe I use is here) that I make in muffin tins instead of a jelly roll pan. When I first made the recipe I intended to make pumpkin bars but I didn't have the right size pan. I had to choose between a smaller pan (and thicker bars) or a larger pan (and thinner bars). I chose to use a smaller pan because I didn't want my bars too thin. This was both a bad idea and a good one. It was bad because I ended up with a pumpkin cake - a thick one, it rose way more than expected- and I had to cook it about 10 minutes longer than the recipe suggested. It was good because I discovered that this recipe is yummy as a cake and the next time I made it I decided to try it in a muffin tin. Once I did that everyone who had tried them started requesting this recipe in the cupcake form.

I don't have pictures of the cupcake making process (I wasn't thinking of blogging about it when I made them last night), but it is easy-peasy. First you mix the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg) in a medium sized bowl. Stir or whisk until combined and then sift the mixture into another bowl. Then you mix the sugar, eggs, oil and pumpkin with an electric mixer in a large bowl. Once the wet ingredients and sugar are combined and creamy, add the dry ingredients gradually and mix until well combined. Then just fill your lined muffin tin cups 3/4 full and bake. The way I fill my muffin tin always makes me end up with 23 cupcakes. Every time. I like them puffy, though.

One tip for baking - I turn my oven down from 350 degrees to 325 degrees a few minutes after I put the cupcakes in the oven. This causes the cupcakes to rise beautifully and keeps them moist.

Once the cupcakes are out of the oven, I usually make the frosting while I wait for them to cool. Cupcakes cool pretty quickly, but make sure they are completely cool before frosting them. You don't want your frosting to melt and slide off.

The frosting is easy to make, but I can't point you to one original recipe that I use. I have adapted two recipes to make the one I use. The two originals are found here (cream cheese frosting) and here (cinnamon cream cheese frosting). First I double the recipe (doubled recipe is below) so that I have enough to pipe frosting on with a jumbo pastry tip. I mix cream cheese with butter (NOT margarine!!!) until it is light and fluffy. Then I add vanilla, cinnamon and milk and add the powdered sugar two cups at a time. Mix, mix, mix. Eventually you will have this:

Once the frosting is good and creamy (and I have taste-tested it more times that strictly necessary) I put my 16" pastry bag with a jumbo tip into a tall glass and fold the top down. This is the easiest way I have found to fill my pastry bag with frosting.

Once about a quarter of the frosting is in the bag, I grab the top edge of my pastry bag and unfold it while I lift it out of the glass I used to fill it. I gently shake it over the bowl that contains the rest of the frosting to move it down toward the tip and to try to remove any large air bubbles. Then I twist the top and hold the bag at the twist with one hand while steadying it with the other.

Next I pipe my frosting onto my cupcakes (liberally). I start at the outside and pipe frosting around the outside of the cupcake then make a smaller circle on top/inside the first one and finish with a little curly-Q on the top. They should look something like this when finished:

Do it again and again until you run out of cupcakes or frosting. By doubling the frosting recipe I usually have just the right amount. I don't stress about making the frosting perfect. Usually people think they're awesome if I have piped the frosting on, even if I think they look goofy.

Store your cupcakes in an airtight container (I use a cake carrier with a lid to avoid smooshing my frosting) and try not to eat them all at once. Your stomach will not be happy if you eat too many in one sitting, trust me.

And now for the recipe:


2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
1 and 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 can (15oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & soda) in a medium bowl then sift the mixture and set aside. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients, gradually. Mix well.

Spoon the batter into two 12-cup muffin tins lined with baking cups. Bake at 350 degrees for about 7-10 minutes then turn oven down  to 325 degrees and bake for another 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely.

Frosting (this is already doubled for piping, half the recipe if you will spread the frosting on with a knife or spatula):

2 8oz. packages of cream cheese
1/2 cup (one stick) softened butter
6 cups powdered sugar
4 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk
3 tsp cinnamon

Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.  Add cinnamon, vanilla and milk. Gradually add the powdered sugar about two cups at a time.  Mix on high speed until smooth and creamy.

No comments:

Post a Comment