I think I’ve perhaps mentioned this before, but I am not a fan of pumpkin products. Pumpkin seeds? Heck yeah sign me up. Pumpkin anything else? Nothankyousir. For someone who adores fall so much,many people are surprised to learn that pumpkin is at the top of my hit list for “Vegetables the World Could do Without.” True story. (Also on that list: lima beans).
However, I understand that my bizarre eating habits do not extend to the majority of the known world, and in fact there are people that go into ecstasies when Starbucks announces it’s Pumpkin Spice Latte season (PS when did those become known as PSL?). I, on the other hand, squee my pants at the first sign of eggnog. But we’ll get to that in November.
So it was with much ambition that I created pumpkin cupcakes for my friend Adrienne’s birthday last month. Admittedly I was probably jumping the gun on pumpkin goods but so did Starbucks with with their PSL anniversary. Also I was attempting to create pumpkin spice syrup for my mom because she was still boycotting Starbucks at the time and I wanted to head off her complaints about not enjoying PSLs with the rest of tarnation. Go figure not a week after I gave her the syrup, Starbucks changed their policies and two hours later my mother proudly posted a photo of her first PSL of the season. Reunited and it feels so good, apparently.
So with most of a can of pumpkin puree stinking up my fridge I texted Adrienne to double check that she did like pumpkin and then whipped out my cookbooks to begin scheming.
These cupcakes come from the domestic queen herself, Martha Stewart. They are definitely a cupcake and not a pumpkin muffin. They have a nice fine, moist crumb and spring back nicely once baked. They also reek of pumpkin, which I’m told is a good thing.
The original recipe called for an uninspired glaze, boo. So I made a brown butter, brown sugar frosting. This stuff is mega thick and crusts over like, immediately. I suggest not trying to pipe it, unless you want to have hand cramps and explode a few icing bags. Trust me, I’m talking from experience. It’s easiest to take your smallest ice cream scoop plop on a dollop and spread it around fancy, like they do at Magnolia Bakery. It takes a lot of finesse, I won’t lie. Obviously I didn’t nail it either. Get your sprinkles on there stat too, or they’ll just roll right off.
*Just a Note: The original recipe makes an obnoxious 15 cupcakes. I added a little extra flour and pumpkin puree and was able to squeeze out 22. Still an obnoxious number for us OCD types out there. Also, this has lots of browned butter – it’s everywhere. Don’t fight it, embrace it.
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks, 6 oz) butter
- 2 cups flour
- 2½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg (fresh is the best)
- ⅛ tsp ground ginger
- pinch of cloves
- heaping cup of pumpkin puree (if you need a more serious number 1¼ or 1⅓ cups)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (I used a mix of light and dark because I was running out)
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ cup (1 stick, 4 oz) butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup half 'n' half
- ½ lb confectioner's sugar (approx. 3 cups), sifted
- ½ tsp flaky sea salt
- ½ tsp vanilla
- Heat over to 325ºF and line two muffin tins with liners (you should get about 18-20 cupcakes).
- In a medium sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat swirling occasionally.
- When the butter starts to bubble and foam whisk it constantly and watch for it to start browning. As soon as it turns caramel whisk furiously and remove from heat. This gets it to brown evenly all over without burning.
- Pour into a heat proof bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and spices.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer combine the pumpkin puree and sugars. Mix until combined.
- Add the eggs one at a time and the vanilla. Mix to combine.
- With the mixer on low, drizzle in the browned butter.
- Add the flour to the pumpkin mixture in two batches, on low speed, and mix just until no streaks remain.
- Divide evenly among muffin tins until about ⅔rds full. Bake for 20-25min, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool on a wire rack.
- In a saucepan over medium heat brown the butter as before.
- Pour into a heat proof bowl to cool slightly.
- In the same pan heat the half 'n' half and brown sugar until the sugar dissolves.
- Add to the butter. Whisk in the salt and vanilla.
- With a hand mixer or in a stand mixer on low beat in the confectioner's sugar until you have a spreadable frosting. If your frosting gets too stiff you can thin it with more half 'n' half.
- I suggest frosting your cupcakes immediately once they're cooled, or else this frosting will stiffen up on you pretty quick.
- Top with De Ruijter sprinkles (affiliate link!) (because they're best chocolate sprinkles money can buy).
- Surprise friends and co-workers. Make more friends.