Pumpkin Cupcakes Topped with Cinnamon Frosting
Living in New England, fall is definitely my favorite time of the year. I can’t imagine being in a place where I can’t see the leaves change or feel the cool crisp air whip around me. Basically, to me everything about this season is magical. I love fall sports, Halloween and especially fall foods! Flavors come alive in the fall, from fresh picked apples to pumpkin to the spices.
One of my favorite things to do in the fall is go apple and pumpkin picking at Lyman Orchards. Honestly I can’t imagine a more perfect day than getting up, going apple picking, trying to find the perfect pumpkin, all while drinking the sweet yet tangy cool apple cider. I say I can’t imagine anything better because that is how I spent my Friday last weekend. Ever since going pumpkin picking with one of my best friends I couldn’t shake the yearning of wanting to bake something with a pumpkin flavor. For Thanksgiving I usually bake pumpkin squares, but I am too impatient to wait an entire month. So, instead of experimenting with chai cupcakes like I planned on I changed my mind last minute and decided to attempt pumpkin cupcakes!
What drew me to the recipe provided by Jen, a blogger for My Kitchen Addiction, was the cinnamon brown sugar buttercream frosting. I am a huge lover of anything cinnamon, so pairing it with such a strong flavor like pumpkin was a match made in cupcake heaven! Usually I use a standard cream cheese frosting, but that’s something I won’t go back to.
I followed the recipe for the cake verbatim from the original My Kitchen Addiction blog post, and if you yourselves are going to try it be prepared with a stand alone mixer! The directions say to put all the ingredients in one bowl before mixing, which sounds easier than mixing things individually, but the catch is you have to mix the batter for 20 minutes! Trust me, with my hand held electric mixer there was definitely no need for an arm workout today!!
The aroma from the pumpkin baking in the oven made my mouth water for 25 minutes as it filled my kitchen, mixing with the boiling cinnamon sticks on my stove. The cupcakes didn’t rise like others I have tried in the past, but I am attributing that to the denseness of the pumpkin. These cupcakes were more like muffins, which is definitely not taking anything away from their flavor! A bite of the cake made me think of fall and it was like Thanksgiving had come early, which is exactly what I had hoped for. The cake was infused with the strong pumpkin flavor, with a good mix of spice from the nutmeg and cinnamon, but it was also sweet like you’d expect from pumpkin.
I could have eaten the cupcakes without frosting, but the cinnamon buttercream was a great addition, and only added to that fall sensation. I didn’t follow the original recipe, instead my sidekick and I made a few adaptations, which I highly recommend…especially if you love cinnamon like I do.
Cinnamon Brown Sugar Buttercream
1 stick butter softened
1/4 C shortening
1/3 C dark brown sugar (packed)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I began with a tsp, but I added a few extra shakes at the end to up the flavor.)
2 C powdered sugar
2 tablespoons half and half
1) Mix together the butter and shortening until fluffy then add the brown sugar and cinnamon until well combined.
2) Alternately add the confectionery sugar and half and half until everything is well combined.