And so begins the season of pumpkin everything. Some people celebrate their birthday month, but in this house, we rejoice in pumpkin month. A celebration, all month-long, of how many recipes I can fit pumpkin into.
Isn’t it funny how the pumpkin craze becomes slightly over the top in October? People are hoarding cans and cans of puree, and then for the rest of the year the poor pumpkin pie spice sits, untouched, literally ignored? If you figure out what the deal is with that, let me know.
I haven’t posted cupcakes in a long time, so I thought these Spicy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel, would be the perfect start to pumpkin everything month. Just as the name implies, it’s a spicy but super moist delicate pumpkin cupcake, with a gorgeous brown sugar swiss meringue swirl, and a sweet and salty pool of homemade salted caramel. It’s the pumpkin and salted caramel combination that gets me every time. Not to mention cloves and cinnamon. I do love the smell of cloves.
These pumpkin cupcakes are an excellent recipe that do double duty as easy muffins too. I simply double the recipe and freeze half for lunches, because they freeze so well. They are also an easy make ahead dessert, because every component can be prepared in advance. Make and freeze the cupcakes until you need them, whip and refrigerate the icing a few days ahead, and keep that salted caramel in the fridge for up to a week! Your prep time is literally only minutes when you need to ice and serve them. For this reason alone, these are a superb choice for any Thanksgiving celebrations you might be preparing for.
And don’t be afraid to make your own pumpkin puree too! Although I do love the convenience of canned puree, it is incredibly easy to buy pie pumpkins from market and make your own.
Now excuse me while I spend the next few hours scouring Pinterest for the next great pumpkin recipe. Have you got one? Share it with me in the comments!
Happy pumpkin baking friends,
Spicy Pumpkin Cupcakes
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp. oil
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
Preheat oven to 350° and line two muffin trays with cupcake liners
- In a small bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves, set aside. In a large bowl combine the sugar and oil. Mix well. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Mix in the pumpkin puree. Slowly add the flour mixture and stir just until combined.
- Fill tins with a 1/4 cup of batter or use a cookie scoop, to ensure all of the cupcakes are the same size. The recipe will yield approx. 20 cupcakes. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Frosting
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
1. Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with a few inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.
2. In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and sugar just until combined. Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees). The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well. Place the bowl of eff whites on the stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium until whites have increased in volume and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch.
3. Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment. Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled. Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time. Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick. It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify. Add vanilla flavouring and pinch of salt and beat until combined. Use immediately or refrigerate for a week. Icing will need to be at room temperature and whipped for about 5 minutes if kept in the fridge.
Salted Caramel Sauce
*Cooking Channel TV
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp sea salt
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium- high and bring to a boil, without stirring. Use a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan if you need to. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 7 minutes.
2 Remove mixture from the heat and very carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble a lot but keep mixing. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Bring back to the stove on low heat and stir until you have a smooth sauce. Allow the caramel to cool. The salted caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Reheat for a few seconds before drizzling if needed.
Pipe an icing dam around the perimeter of the top of the cake, with a large round tip, leaving a hole in the middle. Using a small spoon carefully drizzle salted caramel into the hole. Top with raw pepitas for garnish. Serve at room temperature.