Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream

We had our annual ladies craft-it-up night for our church last night, also known as Fantastic Friday. We were asked to bring a snack to share, and I kinda forgot about it. lol! Usually I plan way ahead with what I'm making, in search of the perfect recipe, and so on and so on. Obsessive? I prefer prepared, thank you. ANyways.

Luckily I remembered with two hours to spare, so into the kitchen I ran! Well, first a quick detour to Pinterest to find a recipe. I wanted pumpkin cupcakes, since fall is in full swing! I found a fantastic recipe right away, and barely had enough butter, but I made it work. It felt like Cupcake Wars for awhile in there.

These got rave reviews at the crafty night, and I only returned home with two cupcakes. (of which one has already met it's demise)

Pumpkin Cupcakes
adapted from Made in Mel's Kitchen
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the  brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Beat on medium speed until well combined.  Add dry ingredients, and mix on low until smooth. Fold in pumpkin puree.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Makes ~ 24 cupcakes.

For the frosting, I made a batch of this easy cheater caramel (haha), and used about 3/4 cup of it in the frosting recipe below.

Salted Caramel Buttercream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
In a saucepan, stir together granulated sugar and water.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until very smooth.  Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable. Alternatively, you could use just under 1/2 cup of your favorite caramel sauce. (which is what I did. I cannot seem to conquer caramel yet!)

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar.  Mix until thoroughly combined.
Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel.  Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes).  Mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration.  If your caramel was too hot when added, it will cause your icing to be runny.  If this happens refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

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