Monday, October 3, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Orange-Scented Cream Cheese Frosting

I first published this recipe on Blogcritics as Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Orange-Scented Cream Cheese Frosting.

The cooler weather has me craving fall-inspired desserts.  You know those delicious, spicy, apple, pumpkin, and pear creations that make you just want to cozy up in front of a fire or warm up some cider and cinnamon sticks and cuddle up with a good book?  My daughter requested cupcakes so I thought I’d try to make some pumpkin cupcakes, all tender and moist and spicy and iced with a tangy, sweet citrus and cream cheese frosting.  What could be a better treat on a cool day?  These were easy enough for my seven-year old to do most of the work, while I sat back and just took in the wonderful baking aromas.  Enjoy!        

      For the cupcakes:
      2 1/4 cups cake flour
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 cup canola oil
    ¾ cup white sugar
    ¾ cup brown sugar
    2 eggs, room temperature
    3/4 cup milk
    1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree
      1/3 cup plain yogurt
    For the Orange-Scented Cream Cheese icing
    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    1/4 cup butter, softened
    3 cups confectioners' sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 tbsp milk
    Juice and zest of ½ orange

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin pans with paper muffin liners. Sift together the flour, salt, and spices; set aside. Beat the oil, and both sugars with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the batter before adding the next. Stir in the milk, yogurt and pumpkin puree after the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake in the preheated oven about 25 minutes, until golden. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove to cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the icing by beating the cream cheese and the butter with an electric mixer in a bowl until smooth. Add the vanilla, orange juice and zest and the cinnamon and continue to blend.  Beat in the powdered sugar a little at a time until incorporated. Add the milk a very small doses, until you achieve the desired consistency.  Carefully ice the cupcakes and garnish each one with a piece of candy corn, a single pecan, or a sliver of candied orange peel, for a nice presentation.

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