Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Perfection

If you aren't already a pumpkin advocate, I can almost promise that this will convert you into one. When I was younger, I rarely associated pumpkin with food---back then, its sole purpose was for picking and carving around Halloween time. I think sticking my hand into the gooey insides of a carved pumpkin as a child is probably what turned me away from wanting to try pumpkin flavored goodies. Well, I am proud to say that has significantly changed over the years and the fear of the inside of the pumpkin is far behind me. Pumpkin is another one of fall's most delicious flavors, and one of my favorites in fact, whether it's in a coffee, a bread, a pie, or in this instance, a mini cupcake.

My fear of pumpkin has truly turned into an unhealthy obsession... I have been compiling pumpkin recipe upon pumpkin recipe. The amount of recipes that I have saved is quite ridiculous. Like I mentioned in my last post, I tried a pumpkin butterscotch cookie recipe (that was ridiculously good, by the way), which really made me want to experiment with that recipe in ice cream form. Unfortunately, I have yet to make this pumpkin butterscotch ice cream, nor have I really had the time, but I had been dying to use my new mini cupcake pans that I had found for an amazing deal during my lunch break one day.
One of my friends from high school had posted online that she had made pumpkin spice cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese icing. OH. MY. GOSH. Right then and there, I knew what pumpkin recipe I was making next that wouldn't be as time consuming as experimenting with pumpkin butterscotch ice cream. Not only that, but I could totally put my new mini cupcake pans to good use!

I was on a mission and I tracked down a pumpkin spice cupcake recipe that I already had all the ingredients for, just to make life a little easier. I also came across a simple cream cheese icing I wanted to try, which I would obviously add cinnamon to for even more flavor. And let me tell you---these were some AWESOME recipe finds. So good that I made them twice within two weeks.
Now, this recipe definitely made more than enough for two 24-count mini cupcake pans. I had already anticipated that I'd have leftover batter, so I had my regular-sized cupcake pans out, lined and ready to go. The extra batter gave me enough to make 12 regular-sized cupcakes in addition to the 48 minis. Those regular-sized ones are quite dangerous---at least the mini ones made me feel less guilty if I had more than one! This recipe is pretty simple and you can obviously use it to bake whatever sized cupcakes you desire... or you could even make a cake, if you're feeling extra ambitious!

These cupcakes have been graciously taste-tested by my family, all the girls at my dance studio, and people in my office at work----they have definitely been given the seal of approval! They are not only addictive, but they hold the staple flavors of the season. The combination of the cream cheese, the pumpkin, and the spices round out this little treat to perfection. They are unbelievable right out of the oven without any icing on them. And they are die for when they are cold and stored in the fridge...that cream cheese icing is just heavenly!
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing
adapted from prettygoodfood.com

makes approx. 48 mini cupcakes and 12 regular-sized cupcakes
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (not the pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (See previous post to make your own! Also, the recipe called for 1/2 cup buttermilk, but I just made it a full cup for an extra moist cupcake.)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground nutmeg (If you can grate it yourself, then it will taste so much better!)
makes 5 cups (I had enough icing to make the cupcake recipe TWICE!)
  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • add cinnamon to taste or to your liking :)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your cupcake pans with liners. (If you decide to make a cake rather than cupcakes, grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans -- use unsalted, softened butter then a handful of flour. Tap out the excess flour and you should have no problem getting your cakes out!)

Cream softened (not melted) butter until smooth in a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric mixer set on medium speed. Add the sugars and mix until smooth. Add room temperature eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and light. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin purée, buttermilk, and vanilla and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sifted flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and nutmeg and set aside. In thirds, alternately add the dry mixture and wet mixture to the butter mixture, blending well after each addition until smooth.

Fill cupcake molds ¾ of the way and bake for approximately 10 minutes for mini cupcakes and 21 minutes for regular-sized cupcakes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. (If making cakes, pour batter into the prepared pans and bake until done, approximately 35 to 40 minutes.)

Allow your cupcakes to cool completely before icing. Don't jump the gun on this one, or you'll have a giant melty mess!

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the butter and continue to beat for 2 to 3 minutes more. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar 1 cup at a time and beat until smooth and no lumps of sugar are visible. Add the vanilla and the cinnamon and beat until combined.

Frost cupcakes any way you choose... pipe them, spread the icing on, whatever you prefer :) I piped my icing on---I piped a tiny swirl on some of them and for others, I piped the whole thing. I personally don't like a whole lot of icing, but I know others do, so I did a combination of both. However you end up frosting them, make sure you don't forget to sprinkle a little cinnamon on top!

all photos © Bunhead in the Kitchen, 2010


  1. I love pumpkin spice cupcakes! (or pumpkin spice anything) Great photos too!!

  2. great job cait! these look amazing! and precious because they are mini sized.