Let’s face it, the post-Halloween trauma of hooligans’ smashing and tossing Jack O’ Lanterns does nothing for the home cook’s pumpkin appetite. This week, leading up to Halloween, is the best time of the year to feature pumpkin in all it’s subtle glory. A rich Curried Pumpkin Apple Soup is soul satisfying and Pumpkin Pie Biscotti is KILLER (in a good, non-threatening way), but when considering what to bring to the office party or neighborhood Halloween Howl I recommend the best Spiced Pumpkin Cupcake recipe I know, courtesy of Chow.com. In a sea of chocolate and slutty nurses, why not bring something different to the table this year?
Spiced Pumpkin Cupcake
Adapted from Chow.com
Makes 24 cupcakes
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: about 22 minutes, plus cooling time
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup all-purpose whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed
- 4 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
- Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line 2 (24) muffin pans with paper liners. Alternatively, coat the wells with vegetable oil; set aside.
- Place your dry goods (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt) in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
- Place the sugar and measured oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until the sugar is incorporated, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula.
- Return the mixer to medium speed and add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, about 1 1/2 minutes total mixing time. Reduce the speed to medium low, add the pumpkin, and beat until just combined, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula.
- Turn the mixer to low speed, slowly add the flour mixture, and beat until almost completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in any unincorporated flour at the edges with a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape to the bottom of the bowl.
- Fill the muffin wells three-quarters of the way (about a heaping 1/4 cup per well). Place the muffin pans side by side in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pans front to back and side to side and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 10 minutes more.
- Let pans sit on the stove top for a few minutes. Once safe to handle, remove muffins from pans and let cool on wire racks. Let them cool completely before frosting.
Love it as we may, pumpkin is a mild flavour. It relies so heavily on cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice to boost those nostalgic feelings of autumns past. Even with the help of these spices this cake doesn’t throw any heavy flavour punches to your palette, that’s why I chose a kick-starter like ginger to pair it with. Adding honey to this vanilla butter cream recipe balances the bite of fresh ginger with a subtle sweetness and helps create a silky, smooth consistency. This frosting will be perfect on other spiced cakes or carrot cake variations as well. Of course if ginger just isn’t your thing, make it a Maple Buttercream or Classic Cream Cheese Frosting on your Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes instead. Enjoy! xo
Honey Ginger Buttercream Frosting
Makes about 2 cups
Note: I recommend doubling this recipe if you’re decorating a layer cake.
- 3/4 cups butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 cup local honey
- 2-3 tsp fresh grated ginger, or 1 tsp ground dry ginger
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup finely minced candied (crystallized) ginger
- Beat butter and honey in medium bowl until creamy.
- Add sugar; beat on high until smooth.
- Toss in grated or dry ginger, beat another minute before adding vanilla.
- Continue to beat 3 more minutes. You want your frosting to look smooth and light.
- Frost each of your cakes (see note below), and sprinkle candied ginger on top of each.
- Chill, letting the frosting set before serving.