PUMPKIN CUPCAKES

It’s fall, ya’ll! This is my absolute favorite time of year. I really want to decorate my front porch with pumpkins and fall garlands, but as soon as we got mostly moved in, my house became a construction zone. I can’t decorate until it’s done, so I thought I would do some fall baking instead. These cupcakes are a great way to celebrate the impending cooler weather, but I love to make pumpkin muffins and bread any time of year. I saw this recipe for pumpkin cupcakes on Annie’s Eats, and thought it would be a great recipe to try. I loved these cupcakes and will definitely make them again. I topped them with my favorite cream cheese frosting and they were superb. The cake was very moist and light, with just the right amount of spice. Jason and the kids couldn’t stay out of them. These are perfect for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or anytime! The recipe makes about 3 dozen cupcakes, so if you want less, you can halve the recipe.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

2 2/3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 c. sugar
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1 c. canola or vegetable oil
4 lg. eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.

Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans and let cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting and top with a light dusting of cinnamon, if desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 lb. powdered sugar
2 to 3 Tbsp. cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and powdered  sugar. Beat again until light and fluffy. Mix in cream to attain the desired consistency.

Cupcake Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats, frosting is Katy’s Kitchen original

KEY LIME PIE CUPCAKES

It was food day again at work last week and I wanted to take something other than the usual cinnamon rolls. I can always rely on Peabody for an interesting dessert item and these cupcakes did not disappoint. They taste just like key lime pie! They have a graham cracker crust topped wtih a moist cupcake with just a hint of lime flavor. Inside is a creamy marscapone cheese lime filling and they are topped with a buttercream frosting that’s also spiked with lime. I used a large star tip to pipe the tops of the cupcakes. Peabody dusts hers with graham cracker crumbs, but I didn’t since they had to travel to work. As I suspected, they ended up getting smashed on the way, but they were still quite a hit.

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

Graham Cracker Crust:

¾  cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/8 cup granulated sugar
3-4 TBSP melted unsalted butter

Prepare two muffin pans with liners. In a food processor, blend together graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add 3 TBSP melted butter. Pulse a few times. If it seems like it needs more butter add the remaining TBSP.
Distribute evenly among cupcake liners and press to form a shell using a spoon.

Lime Cake

2 ¼   cups cake flour
1 T. baking powder
½  tsp salt
½  cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 egg whites
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
½  cup milk
½ cup buttermilk
1 T. lime zest

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl; set aside. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg whites, beating well after each addition. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Add lime zest. Beat until blended. Combine milk, vanilla, and buttermilk in a small bowl together. Whisk until incorporated. With electric mixer at low speed, add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour batter evenly into each muffin cup on top of the graham cracker crust. Only fill cups about halfway full as they will rise quite a bit and will run together. Bake 20-22 minutes(for full size cupcakes) and 15 minutes(for mini) or until wooden toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on rack.

Key Lime Pie Filling

8 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup key lime juice
1 cup sweetened condensed milk

Place all ingredients in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and blend for 2 minutes. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Key Lime Buttercream Frosting

1 cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 lbs. powdered sugar
3 to 5 T. key lime juice
Milk, as needed to thin frosting

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and mix together until incorporated. Add key lime juice while continuing to beat. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Add milk as needed to until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You can also use more lime juice if you want a more tart flavor. But remember you already have lime in the cupcake and the filling.

To assemble:

Take key lime pie filling and place into a pastry bag fitted with a small tip or in a ziploc bag with the corner cut off. Take tip and place into cupcake squeeze filling into cupcake  using the cone method. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with crushed graham crackers, if desired.

Source: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody