Monday, December 14, 2009

Hint of pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

I kinda hit pumpkin burnout by Thanksgiving, but still was hankering for a little bit of it. For my sister's birthday, I tinkered around with a recipe found in the Better Homes and Gardens 75th Anniversary cookbook, and came up with these beauties. Just a little bit of pumpkin, the perfect amount to round out the spice flavor nicely. And for once, the cream cheese frosting came out PERFECT. As in, not sloppy and slurpy. It piped well, held it's shape, and tasted great. I used a little less cream cheese than usual and I also used a generic store brand rather than Philadelphia, because it happened to be on sale. The texture of the cheese was quite a bit stiffer, so I believe that was the real key to success.

Hint of Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. each ginger, nutmeg, cloves
1 cup milk or buttermilk

Line two dozen cupcake tins with paper or foil liners and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined. Beat in the pumpkin puree. Beat in the spices, then beat in half the flour, half the milk, then the other half the flour and the remainder of the milk. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons), slightly softened
4 ounces of cream cheese (generic brand is better - see above)
1 T. vanilla
4-5 cups powdered sugar

Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then beat in the powdered sugar a cup at a time until desired consistency is reached. Pipe on top of the cupcakes in a swirl pattern with a large star tip.

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