Maple Pumpkin Cupcakes

While scrolling through Pinterest a few weeks ago, I found adorable cupcakes frosted to look like pies. What better time to bake such a treat than the start of Thanksgiving week? I’ll bake actual pies on Wednesday (apple and pumpkin, an annual tradition), but Mike will take these treats to work with him tomorrow.

I’ve gone for a maple pumpkin flavor profile in these treats, and truth be told, the flavors could be stronger. A little more spice in the cupcakes, perhaps a dash of maple extract along with the syrup in the buttercream, and we’ll be in business. They still taste great and have a lovely texture, but right now they’re more of a spice cupcake with a hint of maple than the bolder flavors I’d planned. That’s the beauty of baking, though; there’s always a next time.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice*
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the frosting

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 plus 2-3 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 3-4 teaspoons milk
  • Brown, orange, red, and golden yellow gel food coloring

*If you don’t have pumpkin spice, you can make your own. Combine 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoons each of ginger and allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg; this will yield 2 1/4 teaspoons of spice. I make my own blend and keep it in a small jar year-round. 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners; my recipe yielded 14 cupcakes.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin spice.

In a large glass measuring cup, combine pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix well, then add all at once to the flour mixture. Stir until well-combined and smooth.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, fill cupcake wells about 3/4 full.

Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven; immediately remove from tins and place on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting, in a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the powdered sugar, all at once, then beat on low speed until the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter; this will take several minutes.

Add salt, vanilla, and maple syrup, then beat on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes, until very light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl very well at least a few times.

Divide frosting into portions for orange, brown, and white; you’ll need just a small amount of white (about 1/4 cup) and about equal portions of orange and brown. To make orange, combine orange food coloring with brown and golden yellow, then add a few drops of red and stir, adding more color to reach your desired shade if necessary. To make brown, combine brown food coloring with golden yellow and stir, adding more color to reach your desired shade if necessary.

Fit a piping bag with a large plain tip and fill with orange frosting; pipe into cupcakes and smooth the surface so it’s flat (or just frost with an offset spatula).

I used several different frosting tips for my pie crust details, including a petal tip, a leaf tip, and a star tip. I think I liked the leaf tip best. Fit a piping bag with the tip of your choice fill with brown frosting; pipe around the edge of each cupcake to make the crust detail.

Fit a small piping bag with a star tip and fill with white frosting; pipe a blob in the center of each cupcake to look like whipped cream.

Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. Note: my orange frosting started to look mottled the day after these were baked, but it still tasted delicious. Makes 14.

French Toast Cupcakes

french toast cupcakesMany times, I’ve scrolled past recipes for French toast cupcakes, thinking eh, can they really be that good? Yes. They can be, and absolutely are, really that good.

If you’re skeptical about this adaptation of a breakfast classic, think about it this way: these treats combine a cinnamon nutmeg cupcake – so right there, you’re off to a great start – with a maple buttercream frosting for a wonderful blend of sweet and spicy cupcake goodness. You could certainly sprinkle on some crispy bacon pieces if you like, but I left mine plain for a more mellow creation.

This recipe makes a huge batch, enough for 2 dozen cupcakes and one 8-inch round cake or at least 3 dozen cupcakes.

Cinnamon Nutmeg Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sour milk*

*To make sour milk, place 1 tablespoon and 3/4 teaspoon white vinegar in a glass measuring cup and add enough milk to make 1 1/4 cups total. Stir; let stand for 5 minutes before using.

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and shortening on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add sugar and vanilla and cream together until well-combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add flour mixture and sour milk alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour and beating until just combined after each addition.

Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, scoop batter into prepared pans, filling cupcake wells about half full.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in pans for a few minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

Maple Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar**
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup

In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the powdered sugar, all at once, then beat on low speed until the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter; this will take several minutes.

Add salt, vanilla, and maple syrup, then beat on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes, until very light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl very well at least a few times.

Fit a large piping bag with a Wilton 1M tip and pipe blobs of frosting onto each cupcake.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

**In most cases, I sift my powdered sugar before I use it in buttercream, but it’s not necessary in this case unless you really, really want to do so. This recipe is adapted from one I found at bakingdom.com, and she didn’t advise sifting, so I didn’t bother and the frosting turned out perfectly.