This is not exactly a unique attribute, but I love cupcakes--both eating them and making them. I've made cupcakes for weddings, holiday parties, and more birthdays than I can count. I have several tried and true recipes that never fail me, but I'm always on the lookout for new recipes.
I recently had the honor of baking cupcakes for a friend's daughter's first birthday party. The birthday girl loves pumpkin bread, so I decided to attempt pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. After looking around some, I decided to adapt this recipe from Annie's Eats. I fiddled with the spices, reduced the leavening, and added some whole grain flour, and I couldn't believe how good the results were.
The cake was moist, light, and nicely spiced. Cream cheese frosting is always a crowd-pleaser, and I used a star tip to make the dollops of frosting a little cuter.
I've always shied away from any complicated decorating techniques--my artistic skills leave a great deal to be desired. But this technique is so easy it really does not require any special skill. The star tip is perfect for mini-cupcakes, as one little star perfectly fills the top of each mini. For the full-sized cupcakes I did three stars on top of each cake. Believe it or not, once you get into a rhythm it actually is faster to frost cupcakes with the star tip than to use a knife to spread.
These are perfect cupcakes for any occasion in fall or winter, and they are quite easy to make--the batter comes together really quickly.
Pumpkin Cupcakes (makes 2 dozen full-sized cupcakes or at least 4 dozen minis)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
heaping 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 /2 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake pan with liners. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, oil and pumpkin. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then gently fold in the dry ingredients. Fill the cupcake wells about 2/3 of the way full. Bake until cooked through, 16-20 minutes.
Cream cheese frosting
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners sugar
Use an electric mixer to combine the butter and cream cheese. Add the vanilla extract and gradually add the confectioners sugar. I usually start tasting after I've added 2 cups and stop when it tastes sweet enough--usually between two and three cups. To make star shapes, put a star tip into a piping bag or a gallon ziplock bag. Fill the bag with the frosting and dollop away!