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Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Buttered Rum Frosting

Even though my thermometer read 88 degrees today, and Macy's seems to think it's Christmas already, fall is in the air. The leaves on my Chinese Pistache tree are just beginning to turn red, and the mornings are crisp and cool. This is my favorite time of year, and I'm so excited that the weather is finally cooling off -- I don't feel as though I'm taking my life in my hands every time I turn on the oven to bake!

So, to get into the spirit of the season (yes, Macy's. Fall is a season. Remember fall??) I whipped up these cupcakes to celebrate fall's arrival.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Buttered Rum Frosting



While I'm at it, I'd like to give a hat tip to my friend Amy, who is also very much in the festive fall spirit and celebrating all things pumpkin. She had even more ideas for all things pumpkin over at her blog - tell her I said hi while you're there :-) 


So, about these cupcakes. They were very much an experiment, inspired by Emeril's recipe for a buttered rum cocktail just as much as about six other recipes, plus several of my own additions. I tested them out on 15 of my favorite co-workers today, and they seemed to like them, so they're officially blog-worthy. 

Here's the recipe: 

***I recommend starting on the frosting first - you'll see why. 

For the cupcakes (makes about 18-20):

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 stick unsalted butter: browned and cooled
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
Instructions:
(1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans; set aside.
(2) Whisk dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt, spices) in a medium bowl and set aside.
(3) In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, and using a hand mixer, if that's your style): cream together the sugar, molasses, butter, and yogurt. Add the eggs, pumpkin puree, and rum; mix until smooth. The batter will be quite thick. Do not over mix!
(4) Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners. I like to use an ice cream scoop for this purpose. I also like to fill the cups very full (almost to the top). I ended up with 18 very large, beautifully domed (thanks to the yogurt and cream of tartar) cupcakes.
(5) Bake for 20-25 minutes. I recommend setting the timer on the oven for 20 minutes and checking on them every two minutes or so as they bake. You want the tops to spring back when touched, and a toothpick inserted into the center to come out clean. The edges will be a little brown. For me, this took 24 minutes, but everyone's oven is a little different.
(6) Let them sit in the cupcake pan (out of the oven) for a few minutes to set, then transfer to a cooling rack.

This is why I add the cream of tartar. I swear by it - it stabilizes the "dome" of your cupcakes.


For the frosting: 

Ingredients:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp coarse/kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
Instructions:
(1) Brown the butter in a heavy saucepan, then refrigerate until it returns somewhat to its solid state. Your goal is to have solidified, cool/room-temperature (about 65 degrees), brown butter.
(2) Place the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer, and give it a good beating, using the paddle attachment, on med-high speed. A hand mixer works just fine, too!
(3) Scrape the sides of the bowl, and add the salt, rum, and vanilla bean paste. Give it another good beating.
(4) With the mixer on slow speed, gradually add the confectioner's sugar. Once it's mostly incorporated, gradually increase the speed, being careful not to kick up clouds that will cover your kitchen and make it look like a White Christmas - that's just what Macy's would want. I love you Macy's, but I'm enjoying fall, thank you very much! Work your way up to high speed, but don't keep it there for too long - you don't want to heat up your mixture. The consistency will depend a lot on the temperature. If it seems too thin, add some more confectioner's sugar. If it's too thick, add a teaspoon or two of milk. You can either pipe or spread the frosting on. I used little candy pumpkins to top my cupcakes.






And there you have it! Happy fall!

--Jacqueline

 
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7 comments:

  1. Finally, a grown-up pumpkin cupcake! Such a great combination of flavors and the little candy pumpkin on top is the perfect touch. Do you need some help eating them!! XOXO

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  2. Thanks Susan! Yes, come on over and help us eat them! :)

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  3. These sound - and look - absolutely delicious!

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  4. Jacqueline, these sound amazing!!! Oh my. Where's my taste test??

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  5. YUMMMMMMY! Great job, Jacqueline...I ate mine this AM for breakfast (of course). The ginger was a surprise and really added a great flavor pop. Frosting was sublime. Truly sublime...

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  6. Thank you :) I have to say I was quite pleased with how these turned out. I may have to make another batch soon...I had a large can of pumpkin puree, so I still have another 15 oz in the freezer...

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  7. I've just found your blog and I'm pretty excited I found it! Your recipes all look delcious. I run a monthly blog challenge called Baking With Spirit on my blog (www.cakeoftheweek.net) which you may be interested in, where I set a different type of alcohol to bake with each month. I hope you take part - you're already ahead of the pack with all these great recipes!

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