Monday, October 25, 2010

Pretty little Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream

I wanted to do a few pumpkin treats for Halloween this year. It has been a while since I've done anything remotely related to Halloween...except, of course, going to get some 1/2 price candy the day after. Halloween was a really big deal when I was living in Southern California. But, it's not much of a holiday for me. I usually had to work, and it never was one of my favorite holidays.

These sweet pumpkin cupcakes may change my mind about that. While I can trace my love of cupcakes to a general love of frosting and the fact they are so much cuter than a cake, these mini pumpkin cupcakes are genuine love all around.

While looking for a recipe, I finally decided on the one from Martha Stewart's website. Even though the last recipe I used was almost a kitchen disaster...this one looked to have promise. I added more spices, since I wanted a nice contrast to the real butter cream frosting.

The result was a moist and tasty cupcake with quite a bit of spice. Now on to the butter cream. I wanted to do a brown sugar buttercream, because I thought the brown sugar would taste really nice with the pumpkin. I added a little bit of cinnamon to the butter cream as well, and I am very happy with the results.

My tip of the post today involves brown sugar. As we all know, it likes to clump. To get rid of the clumps, you can microwave them for a few seconds until they break apart. Also, if you want to substitute brown sugar and your recipe calls for super fine sugar, you can process your brown sugar to super fine in a food processor. It takes a while, but it will get there!

Pumpkin Mini Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Butter cream

For the cupcakes:

Adapted from Martha Stewart, makes about 50 mini cupcakes or 18 regular size

2 cups all purpose flour (I use unbleached)
1 teas. baking soda
1 teas. baking powder
1/2 teas. salt
2 teas. cinnamon
1/2 teas. nutmeg
2 teas. ground ginger
1/2 teas. cloves
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs, room temperature
2 cups pumpkin (or one 14 oz can)

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare mini cupcake tins by lightly spraying them, greasing and flouring, or lining with liners.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in pumpkin and eggs until all well blended. Add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.

With your mixer on low, add flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Fill mini cupcake 2/3 full - for mine this means about 1 tablespoon of batter. Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until tops are lightly golden, and cupcakes lightly spring back when touched.

Cool completely and prepare brown sugar butter cream

Brown Sugar Butter Cream
Heavily adapted from Martha Stewart (a note about this frosting - the original recipe on Martha Stewart's site is hopelessly wrong. It's missing about 1/2 the butter. But once I meddled with the recipe, I like the results)

7 egg white, room temperature
2 1/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 cup water
2 teas. cream of tarter
2 cups butter, slightly softened and cut into tablespoon sizes
1 teas vanilla extract
3/4 teas. cinnamon

In a heavy pot, dissolve brown sugar and water. Place over medium high to high heat and heat to 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.

While sugar is cooking, place egg whites and cream of tarter in a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. Once sugar has reached the correct temperature, slowly stream the sugar mixture into the egg whites, while the mixer is on medium to medium high. Once finished, scrape down bowl and continue beating for 10-12 minutes, until room temperature.

Turn mixer down to low or medium and add butter, one piece at a time, waiting until the previous piece is well incorporated. Add vanilla and cinnamon, and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.


  1. They are so pretty!! I love the creamy dollops of frosting on the cakes. Can I have a dozen please?

  2. That frosting sounds amazing! I wouldn't be able to not lick it all off a spoon