Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while but I just had to take a break to enjoy the very end of summer. And enjoy it I did– I celebrated my 44th birthday and also my father’s and baby-brothers (our … Continue reading
I suck at cake assembly and decoration. I will NEVER be a pastry chef. If I ever became a professional baker, they would stick me in production and not let me NEAR a finished cake for decorating. I keep thinking … Continue reading
I had a vision of a “pumpkin brownie” for Pumpkinpalooza this year but, since it doesn’t include chocolate, it’s really more of a pumpkin blondie with a fudge-brownie texture. Moist, dense, buttery, sweet and pumpkin-y– and a PITA it turns … Continue reading
This year for Pumpkinpalooza I’ve been experimenting with pasta and sauces incorporating pumpkin. My first experiment (pumpkin vodka sauce) was very successful. So successful! So successful I think I might prefer it to traditional vodka sauce– but I’m biased! The … Continue reading
A Pumpkinpalooza classic. The secret to pumpkin cupcakes is freshly ground cinnamon in the cream cheese frosting. Really, grind all the spices freshly. Do it. Cinnamon sticks are very hard and I have found that the best technique for grinding them is to break the sticks into chips in a mortar and pestle and then grind the chips in a cheap, blade coffee grinder. Make sure you shake the grinder as you pulse it.
Yields about 16 cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
2 1/4 C All-purpose flour
1 t Ground cinnamon
1/2 t Ground nutmeg
1/2 t Ground ginger
1/2 t Ground cloves
1/2 t Ground allspice
1/2 t Salt
1 T Baking powder
1/2 t Baking soda
1/2 C butter
1 C White sugar
1/3 C Dark brown sugar
2 Eggs, room temperature
3/4 C Whole milk
1 C Pumpkin puree
For the Icing
1 pkg (8 oz) Cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/4 C (1/2 stick) Butter, softened at room temperature
3 C Confectioners’ sugar
1 t Vanilla extract
1 t Ground cinnamon (freshly ground if you can, DO IT)
Preheat oven to 375F. Grease or line cupcake tins. Sift flour together with spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda then set aside.
Beat butter and sugars together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs to the sugar mixture one at a time, beating until egg is completely incorporated before adding the other. Add milk and puree and beat until combined. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated (do not over-mix this last step or you’ll have tough cupcakes).
Pour batter into prepared cupcake tins and bake in preheated oven 25 minutes or until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in tins 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on wire racks.
While the cupcakes cool prepare the icing by creaming the cheese and butter together until blended smooth. Beat in confectioners’ sugar a little at a time until incorporated. Add vanilla and cinnamon and beat until fluffy and well combined.
Every year, usually in October, I celebrate “Pumpkinpalooza”. It’s a tradition that started several years ago when I decided to bake a pumpkin pie, beginning with the pumpkin, for my Miami-native wife, Jeanine. It was only after I had roasted … Continue reading