Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Cupcakes - Hello Fall!

Like many of you, I love the fall because it brings all things pumpkin. After searching through tons of pumpkin recipes, I picked this recipe from Tracey's Culinary Adventures because it plays off my all time favorite cupcake, brown sugar. I had a feeling that combining them with pumpkin would be something special. And it was delicious.
These are topped with a caramel cream cheese frosting. Usually, I'm not a huge fan of cream cheese frosting, but this was the perfect pairing.


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs at room temperature

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line cupcake pan with liners.

1. Add butter to a medium saucepan and place over medium-low heat. The butter will melt and begin to bubble and foam.

Eventually it will start to turn brown and smell nutty. This took a little while, but keep an eye on it because it can go from brown to burnt quickly. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the butter into a small heat proof bowl, something ceramic or glass. Set the bowl aside to cool.

2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

In another bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs and the cooled brown butter from step one until they are thoroughly combined. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk until just combined.

3. Divide batter among the liners filling each 2/3 full. Mine made 18 cupcakes. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Place the cupcake pans on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes then remove the cupcakes to the rack to cool completely.


1 lb confectioners sugar, sifted and divided
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1. Sprinkle 1/2 cup powered sugar evenly in a small non-stick skillet. Place the pan over medium heat. Let the sugar sit untouched until it melts. It takes a little while to start melting but once it does it melts quickly. Continue cooking until it turns an amber color, stirring occasionally. Be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.

Add 1/2 cup cream, the vanilla, and the salt - be careful it can bubble up. Stir until any bits of hardened caramel melt. Add the remaining cream and stir to mix it in. Strain the caramel into a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool.

2. Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes. Gradually add the remaining confectioners sugar, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Once all the sugar as been added, mix in cooled caramel. Beat the frosting on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Cover and chill until the frosting is firm enough to pipe. This took a little over an hour for me.

3. Frost and enjoy! These have to be stored in the refrigerator because of the cream cheese. Be sure to take them out about 45 minutes before you want to eat them to give time for the frosting to soften.