Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

I know, I just posted a pumpkin recipe last week. But can you really have too many pumpkin recipes? I think not. Especially in the world of food blogging, there is always room for more pumpkin recipes.

Actually, I’m kind of surprised I’ve never posted a recipe for pumpkin cupcakes before. It’s well known on my dad’s side of the family that every year I will bring pumpkin cupcakes and/or cookies to the family meal. This year I am not able to make it in person, but I’m there in spirit and sending virtual pumpkin love.

This particular pumpkin cupcake recipe is actually different than the one I’ve used in the past. Once I tried it, I knew my old recipe was old news. This recipe creates a perfectly domed cupcake, with a moist interior, and the perfect cupcake crumb. I made this particular batch for a work party at Jesse’s office and I heard that they were a huge hit. He certainly didn’t bring home any leftover cupcakes for me…. Good thing I got my taste tests in before he took them! :)

 

 

Butterscotch and Pecan Pumpkin Cookies

As I promised on Monday, today I have a pumpkin recipe to share! These cookies have been a work in progress in my mind since the summer (when baking with pumpkin felt like wearing white after labor day). I envisioned a soft, cakey cookie with a punch of butterscotch and the warmth of spiced rum soaked pecans. Now that fall is in full swing, the cookie of my dreams has finally come to life!

Every year my mom and her sister make a sweet treat called Bourbon Balls to give away for Christmas. Bourbon Balls are basically nuts that have been soaked in liquor and dipped in chocolate. Inevitably, there is always at least one jar of soaked nuts left after all of the Bourbon Balls have been made. One year I decided to throw the leftover soaked nuts into my favorite pumpkin blondie recipe and I could not believe how amazing they tasted. You couldn’t really distinguish the bourbon, but there was this added warmth that was incredible. That’s what I had in mind when I thought of these cookies.

In order for the flavor to really shine through, I would recommend soaking the pecans at least 24 hours ahead of time. Of course you don’t have to soak your pecans in spiced rum, it’s not like you can go wrong with the pumpkin, butterscotch, pecan combo on it’s own. You could probably even get away with a shorter soak. But if you do take the time to do it, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Pumpkin Praline Cake

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Originally I was thinking that if Jesse wasn’t going to be home for Thanksgiving I would just fly back to Ohio. Unfortunately we found out too late and the cost of airlines tickets was outrageous. How annoying is it that the airlines can get away with charging so much more for tickets during the holidays? So I had to stay in San Diego for Thanksgiving.

Since a few friends were also staying in town, I decided to host a not-Thanksgiving dinner. Going in a completely different direction I planned a Mexican feast, complete with chicken enchiladas, shrimp enchiladas, black beans, and rice.The friends I had over were also at our turkey dinner 2 weeks earlier, so I don’t think they missed the traditional meal too much. And I have to say, I forgot how much I love enchiladas at home.

But when it came to dessert I couldn’t get the traditional pumpkin out of my head. I found this recipe and even though it didn’t really “go” with my theme, it was still awesome. Pumpkin cakes are always super moist, and the crunch from the pecans and the flavor of the caramel was perfect. And don’t even get me started on the cream cheese, whipped cream frosting fusion. Last minute I felt like the frosting needed a little kick so I sprinkled in some cinnamon and it was like heaven on a spoon when I tasted it.

Quick blog announcement: If you follow me on Facebook, then you already know this, but if you don’t (maybe you should :)) then I just want to share that starting Monday I am doing a week long feature on Christmas cookies! Stop by all next week for some Santa- friendly treats!


Pumpkin Praline Cake

Ingredients

Caramel Praline

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
3 Tbsp whipping cream
1 cup pecans chopped, and toasted

Cake
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Frosting 4 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 – 1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter the parchment paper.

In a small sauce pan over low heat, stir together the brown sugar, butter and heavy whipping. Keep stirring occasionally until it has all melted together, about 5 minutes. Then divide the mixture between the two cake pans. Sprinkle the pecans into the cake pans, over the brown sugar mixture. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

In another bowl, with a hand held mixer (or standing mixer), beat together the eggs, vegetable oil and sugar until well blended. Slowly add the dry ingredients, and with the mixer on low speed, combine. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top of the cake is spongy and the edges start to pull away from the sides. Let the cakes cool in the pan or 5 minutes, then invert onto cooling racks*. Allow to cool until no longer warm to the touch, at least 1 1/2 hours, before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar until light and creamy. Add the whipping cream 1/4 cup at a time, beating on high speed until smooth, and scraping down sides of the bowl after each addition. After the last addition beat until it has the consistency of whipped cream. Finally stir in the cinnamon.

Frost the top of each cake then stack one on top of the other. Garnish with whole pecans.

Adapted from Beantown Baker

Pumpkin Pie

With Thanksgiving less than a week away now, I thought it might be a good day for a double dose of sweetness. Don’t forget to check out today’s other post, cranberry sauce!

See that lonely little guy? That’s all that was left for me to photograph. I’m actually pretty lucky I even got this photo, Jesse was sitting down at his desk to eat it right out of the pie pan when I ripped it out of his hands to get the shot. With only crumbs left on plates and in the pie pan, I’d say it was a hit.

Here’s what to like about this recipe: It’s homemade. It’s made with cream (instead of evaporated milk). The spice is well balanced with the cream. Optionally, you can use fresh pumpkin puree (read about making pumpkin puree). It’s just an all around great pumpkin pie. Make this a new part of your Thanksgiving traditions!

Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients
1 9-inch pie crust
3 large eggs
2 cups fresh pumpkin puree or 1 – 15 ounce can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

*this time I used Trader Joe’s pre-made crust, I’m still looking for the perfect pie crust recipe. Any suggestions?

Directions
In a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and place on a large baking pan to catch any spills. To keep the crust from burning, you can cover just the edges of the pie with foil for up to half of the baking time. Bake the pie for about 45 to 55 minutes or until the filling is set and the crust has browned (the center will still look wet with just a slight jiggle and a knife inserted about 1 inch from side of pan will come out almost clean.)

Allow to cool on a wire rack, serve at room temperature with whipped cream.

Adapted from Joy of Baking