September 23, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

I had a few friends over for dessert recently. The plan for the evening was BYOB and BOYD - bring your own booze and dessert - to share. I had initially decided to make an amazing lemon and raspberry cupcake recipe that I found online a while back, and that I had been wanting to try for a while. However, when I recalled the recipe so I could go shopping, the pictures and the ingredients struck me as being too spring-like for a cozy fall evening. So instead I chose to make pumpkin pie cupcakes, which are a little more seasonally appropriate. Here is the recipe I chose, from the site Baking Bites:

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

2/3 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
15 oz pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 half & half cream
1 can whipped cream

1. Prep: Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice, making sure there are no lumps and all ingredients are evenly mixed in. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and cream until well combined.

4. Add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix together until no streaks of flour remain and the batter is smooth {I used a stand mixer for this part and it was very easy}.

5. Fill each muffin cup with batter until it is approximately 1/3 full {I filled them a little more, and as they don't rise well - see below - I would recommend 2/3 full}.

6. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool in the pan; they will sink as they cool.

7. Chill cupcakes before serving. Serve topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Optional: Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.

I took a huge shortcut by using whipped cream for the icing, but it worked with the 'cupcakes' because one would normally eat whipped cream on pumpkin pie. However, I think this recipe would also be delicious with a cream cheese based icing, but it would have to be light in texture in order to balance out the dense pumpkin cupcake. If you ever try this recipe with cream cheese icing, please let me know how it turns out!

The cupcakes sadly didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. They didn't rise, and as mentioned in the original recipe, they sunk in as they cooled. Frankly, I feel the term cupcake to be a bit of a stretch in this instance, and it think it would be more appropriate to call these mini pumpkin pies. In fact, I had been looking for a dessert to make for an upcoming Thanksgiving family dinner, and I think that I might make this same recipe, but rather than placing the batter into cupcake papers, I will bake it in butter tart shells. This way they will really be like little individual-sized pumpkin pies!

Also, a quick word of caution: I 'iced' my cupcakes about 15 mins before my guests were to arrive, and then went upstairs to put the finishing touches on my hair. When I came back into the kitchen about 20 mins later, the whipped cream had melted, as I forgot that it needed to be refrigerated in order to stay stiff. So lesson learned: Either put the whipped cream on the cupcakes right before serving, or keep them in the fridge until they are ready to be enjoyed!

Photo Credit: Picky Cook

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