October 21, 2009
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm not a baker. I don't really have the right tools nor have I done it enough to totally feel comfortable doing it. However, I've always enjoyed eating the sweets that other people make. My problem now is that with all of this food blogging business I see sweets I would like to eat, but the only way to make that happen is if I break down and make said sweets. The result: some sort of fierce baking binge in the last 2 weeks. I have one success and it boosts my confidence to try another and then another.. well, after all I have all of these ingredients on hand now! Then I start looking at stand mixers on amazon, and whoa, better slow down here!
It was a fun ride while it lasted, but when my hand mixer screeched and growled to a halt, I knew it was time to put the butter and sugar away. Lucky for you this was after I baked Smitten Kitchen's Pumpkin Cupcakes. It was my greatest baking success (I mean check it out, I even borrowed cake decorating tools (you should've seen the frosting rose I tried to make!))! Seriously though, I couldn't ask for more out of a baked good.. absolutely perfect! Despite calling for the use of a stand mixer, these still turned out great, and no, this recipe wasn't the one in which my hand mixer met it's demise. :-)
Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple–Cream Cheese Frosting
(from Smitten Kitchen)
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pans
1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Make the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350° (175°C). Line a cupcake pan with 18 liners.
2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.
3. Add the eggs 1 at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners — you’re looking to get them 3/4 full. Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely.
Make the frosting:
In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. To assemble the cake, frost the top of one cake, place the other cake on top. Frost the sides and top, swirling decoratively. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to set up frosting.
Yield: 17 to 18 cupcakes