The Leaving Are Changing…

And it’s officially that time of year again…  Fall.  Well, Autumn where I come from.  Either way, it means the same thing.  A chill in the air, nights drawing in, leaves on the ground.  Or, an Indian Summer if you live in SF.  As a kid in England, October was usually the first sign of winter, but now that I live in California, its often the nicest month of the year.

Regardless of the weather, everywhere I turn the shops are full of fall fashion, Halloween decorations and root vegetables.  So I decided it was time to bust out a suitably Autumnal cupcake recipe and what says ‘harvest’ more than pumpkin?  In England, pumpkin isn’t really something you eat; it’s something you carve into scary faces.  But on the other side of the pond, people go NUTS for pumpkin.  Soup, lattes, pies, ice cream – you name it, they make it in SF.

I recently started an exciting new job (hence the lack of posts in the last few months!) and one of my co-workers is a self-proclaimed ‘Queen of Fall’.  All I need to say is the word ‘pumpkin’ and she starts to salivate.  So needless to say, these went down well in the office.  Yay to having an office full of people to bake for!  Although the roomies aren’t a big fan of treats leaving the house!

For my first pumpkin endeavor,  I decided to take a slightly less adventurous route than some of the interesting concoctions I have stumbled across (pumpkin mac & cheese anyone?!), and simply turn a tin of pumpkin puree into cupcakes.  Paired with my dulce de leche cream cheese frosting, I would compare them to a traditional carrot cake… they were sweet, spicy, tangy, and just what the doctor ordered.

Although I have never been a big fan of pumpkin, I think that this might be the year that changes.  I have just stumbled across a pumpkin and gingersnap tiramisu recipe that I may have to try out for a special occasion…  Thanksgiving at my house anyone?!

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Makes: 48 mini cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 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 freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 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

METHOD

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs.
  • Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth.  Whisk 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, 15-20 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

I chose to top these with my favourite frosting – dulce de leche cream cheese.  It may possibly be the easiest frosting to make, and its so good I want to eat it right off the spoon!

Watch this space for more pumpkin posts in the near future…

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