1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (75 grams) solid packed, canned pumpkin puree
Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces (113 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (175 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1 cup (110 grams) pecans or walnuts or English Toffee Bits
Pumpkin Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Place rack in the middle of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground spices, and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and pumpkin puree, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Fill the muffin cups evenly with the batter using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and beat until incorporated and smooth. Add the vanilla extract and confectioners sugar and beat until fluffy (2-3 minutes). Pipe or spread the frosting on the cupcakes. Sprinkle with toasted and chopped nuts or English Toffee Bits.
To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 - 10 minutes or until brown and fragrant. Cool completely and then chop coarsely.
Makes about 12 regular-sized cupcakes.
These Pumpkin Cupcakes are a great way to enjoy pumpkin. They are moist and taste of pumpkin and its complementary spices (ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves). Once the cupcakes have cooled, they are covered with a tangy cream cheese frosting and a sprinkling of chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts) or English Toffee Bits. I like to serve these cupcakes after a casual Fall or Winter meal but I think they would also make a nice addition to your Thanksgiving baking.
This Pumpkin Cupcake recipe comes from Baking from the Heart, a collaborative cookbook with Michael J Rosen, Share Our Strength (an anti hunger organization) and culinary chefs from all over the country. The recipe I adapted comes from Joanne Chang, owner of 'Flour', a bakery and cafe in Boston. Now, I have changed her recipe a bit. Her recipe calls for a 9 inch (23 cm) loaf pan instead of what I decided to use, a 12-cup muffin pan. After the cupcakes are baked and left to cool, I like to cover them with a cream cheese frosting, which is a light and fluffy mixture of cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar. Other options would be to use a regular buttercream frosting or even a chocolate frosting. The frosting can either be piped or simply spread on top of each cupcake.
To make our lives easier instead of making our own pumpkin puree we can buy canned pure pumpkin. Just make sure you do not buy the pumpkin which already has the spices added to it. However, if you want to make your own puree start by using the smaller pumpkin varieties like Sugar Pie, Baby Bear or Cheese Pumpkin (approximately 5-7 lbs., 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 kg.). Then first cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise, remove all the seeds and stringy fibers, and then place cut-side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) for approximately 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours (depending on size) or until easily pierced with a knife. Scoop out the pulp and puree in a food processor until smooth. You do need to extract all the liquid, so strain the pumpkin through a cheesecloth lined strainer and then cool the puree before using.