Every Halloween, I make these pumpkin cupcakes and bring them to wherever I’m headed for the evening. I’ve never seen anything I’ve made disappear so quickly! It’s funny because I really don’t like cupcakes at all in general. It’s probably because I get really upset when people choose to buy those in-the-plastic container store bought cupcakes with WAY to much disgusting frosting and those waxy little sprinkles. They’re dry and not worth the sugar high. Even the Betty Crocker box mix is “kind of like making the real thing” but they still DON’T COUNT!! I don’t want to see some canned frosting all over them either. It’s like meeting half way for some lame attempt to approach what you THINK is a decent home-made cupcake. Stop and think.. have you ever had a REAL cupcake? Completely from scratch. I’m talking sifting flour with the leavening. Creaming the butter and sugar. No vegetable oil here + 1 egg + water or whatever the box tells you to do. Work with some real flavors here! Take your time to develop the process! I don’t think I’ve opened a box cake mix in years since I realized the blasphemy that is the boxed cake mix. The flavor is not something to compromise.
Every bite of this cupcake screams fall. These things are a trap, I swear. I choose to decorate them with a chocolate spider-web for halloween, cause that’s usually what lures people in to grab one. You can’t see what type of cupcake it is from looking, but once you take a bite into the super moist spice cake with luxurious, not too-sweet frosting, you’ll never reach for those yellow#5 dyed packaged crap on the other side of the table ever again. Life just isn’t the same.
You can easily make it a full cake in a 13x9x2 pan, but trust me, everyone will want their own little possession of encapsulated fall flavor.
: Pumpkin-Spice Cupcakes :
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 large egg, plus 2 egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup low-fat milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree and milk. Set aside.
Cream the butter in an electric mixer. Gradually beat in the sugar and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, once at a time, and add the vanilla. Turn mixer to low and alternate the addition of the flour and pumpkin (start and end with flour. Example: add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then half the pumpkin mixture, half of the flour, remaining pumpkin, and rest of the flour mixture). Mix until just blended.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake pans lined with muffin cups. The batter should fill 2/3 the way up. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely on a cooling rack before icing.
: Cream Cheese-Mascarpone Frosting :
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
Cream the mascarpone, cream cheese, and vanilla in electric mixer on medium speed until light and well combined. Turn speed down to low and add the powdered sugar. Spread a generous amount over cupcakes.
: TIP : To make a chocolate spider web, melt 6 oz of chocolate in the microwave for 1 min or until melted well. With a piping bag, draw a pea-sized dot in the center of the cupcake, then 2 rings around it. With a toothpick, drag the tip through the chocolate from the center dot to the edge. It is best to do this immediately when frosting the cupcakes. If you let the frosting sit too long the chocolate will not smoothly spread and the frosting with have crystalized and become chunky.