Oct 05

Pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream frosting

These cupcakes turned out much better than my chocolate cupcakes with pumpkin spice frosting. Know why?

Those weren’t cupcakes!

Technically, they were muffins. Now I know there are probably some “official” differences between the two (one has frosting, one is more bread than cake), but as soon as these came out of the oven, I noticed one glaring difference: these didn’t have “tops.”

Well, they had nice, rounded tops. My muffins had those telltale muffin tops – like mushrooms.

Of course, this could have been because I overfilled the muffin cups last time. But for now, I’m just going to pretend cupcakes have beanies, and muffins have brimmed hats. That was a weird analogy. Sorry.

I’ll show you one person who didn’t care what they were:

Mr. Toddler was pretty excited when I pulled the tray of cupcakes out of the refrigerator in the morning. I had made them the night before, but waited to take pictures of them the next morning. He just kept giving them a “wow!” Happily, there was no meltdown when I told him he had to wait 12 hours before he could have one.

I, however, got to enjoy one at lunch. I had to. Otherwise I couldn’t finish this blog entry.

Verdict: they taste even better than they look.

The pumpkin cupcake is moist and springy. Just the right amount of pumpkin and spice. And the frosting highlights both the maple and cream cheese, without being too heavy on either one. It’s also not rich as some other frostings, and has a really nice texture.

If you’re going to make a fall cupcake, I’d recommend these. They’re nice enough to serve at Thanksgiving, too.

Recipe: Pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream frosting

Adapted from Ina Garten

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces), not pie filling
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Maple Frosting (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Heath bars, for serving (2 1.4-ounce bars)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush or spray the top of 12 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners.
  2. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.
  3. Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use a level 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
  4. Spread the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting and sprinkle with the chopped toffee bits.

Maple Frosting

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon imitation maple flavor
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

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