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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spiced pumpkin cupcakes with spiced buttercream

The weekend between my family's "pre-Thanksgiving" dinner and actual Thanksgiving was a busy one.  I had plans Friday night, Saturday night was a party with friends out on Long Island, and Sunday night we went out for dinner to celebrate my sister passing the New York State Bar Exam (she has also since found out that she passed the New Jersey one as well!!).

The party on Long Island was the second annual version of a party that we deemed "Sloshapalooza" or "Sloshfest" for short.  It's a combination of good food, good friends, a drink mixing competition, a funny T-shirt contest, and usually ends with some Wii dancing game.  This year, since it fell less than a week before Thanksgiving, when I offered to make dessert, the suggestion was for something Thanksgiving-y.

Besides looking for something holiday-themed, I also needed something that transports well.  Cupcakes seemed like a good option, but this time I did something uncharacteristically Julie.  I made full sized cucpakes, not minis!

I started out with the spiced pumpkin cake recipe that I used last year for the fall-themed
cakelets, upping the spices from the original recipe because I didn't think it originally tasted that spiced.  Then, I went with an improperly-named cinnamon buttercream to top them off.  Why do I call it an "improperly-named" cinnamon buttercream?  Because it isn't simply a cinnamon buttercream, it's a cinnamon-nutmeg-ginger-cardamom buttercream.  And it's delicious (a strong word coming from me, since you have all probably heard my rant animated discussion opinion on "pumpkin pie" spices and my dislike of almost all spices pumpkin pie-related (cinnamon, ginger, and occasionally nutmeg are, however, OK in my book)).

The cupcakes were a great success....and I even heard that they made for a delicious breakfast the following day!

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes
Recipe originally from this Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Caramel and Cream Cheese Frosting, which I have made before and strongly recommend trying that frosting, too!
I got 29 full-sized cupcakes from this recipe.


3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I used 2 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I used 1 tsp)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
I also add a shake of pumpkin pie spice to up the spice factor a little more
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel (I used less.  I can't say how much less, but I don't love orange zest in things, so I limited it a little.  A small amount of orange zest brings out the flavor of the pumpkin, I think)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides, tapping out any excess flour. Or line cupcake tins with pretty liners (I used brown liners with gold lines on them)
Whisk first 9 ingredients in large bowl.
Using electric mixer, beat pumpkin, sugar, and oil in another large bowl.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to incorporate between additions.
Mix in orange peel.
Add flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend.
Divide batter between cupcake tins.
Spiced Buttercream Icing
Adapted from this "Cinnamon" Buttercream recipe I found on Pinterest
I doubled the recipe and had enough icing for 28 of the 29 cupcakes
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp cold milk, if needed to thin icing
In a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is creamy.
On low, mix in the vanilla and the spices.
Carefully beat in the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time.
If the buttercream is too thick add 1-2 tbsps of cold milk until the desired consistency is reached (I didn't use the milk)
Pipe onto cooled cupcakes with your favorite frosting tip.
Decorate with fun, festive sprinkles if you'd like.  I used autumn leaves.

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