Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream frosting ( I know, right?!)

Where have all the cupcakes gone?  All I'm sayin' is that cupcakes around these parts have been scarce.
All it took to spur me into action was one simple request for a cupcake and I was searching high and low for the next cupcake inspiration.  I found this recipe at this blog: Made in Melissa's Kitchen.  I put a copy of the recipe below with a few adaptations of my own.  But please go to the link for her exact recipe and other delicious recipes as you won't be disappointed!  But there is one thing.  Despite what Melissa from the blog said, making caramel sauce isn't all that easy. Having never done it, I went into it thinking it would be easy because of her.
Nope.  It wasn't.
I burned it so bad but didn't really realize it until I mixed it with two sticks of butter and two cups of sugar, tasted it and found it to be bitter. BOO!  I had to toss it.  What a waste! But after the initial hiccup, I took another hint from the blog and used a caramel sauce from Starbucks.
Needless to say, I found both my inspiration and my new favorite cupcake!
(Psst..I took them to work and four out of six of us ate two in one day! Not bad, eh?)

Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole-wheat pastry 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
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.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 the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the  brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Beat on medium speed until well combined.  Add dry ingredients, and mix on low until smooth. Fold 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, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
Makes ~ 18 cupcakes. (More like 24 for me)

Source: Adapted from MarthaStewart.com.

Salted Caramel Buttercream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
In a saucepan, stir together granulated sugar and water.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until very smooth.  Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable. Alternatively, you could use just under 1/2 cup of your favorite caramel sauce.
In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar.  Mix until thoroughly combined.
Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel.  Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes).  Mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration.  If your caramel was too hot when added, it will cause your icing to be runny.  If this happens refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. 
Source: Slightly adapted from SprinkleBakes.com.
I'm so glad these cupcakes turned out good, or else I would be stuck having to eat every one of them.  Due to the sticks upon sticks of butter, I'm pretty sure eating only one cupcake made me gain 5 pounds.  But they are completely worth it.  At least that's what I tell myself....
Try them out and see.  You won't be disappointed!

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