These pumpkin cupcakes are courtesy of Suzy Bakes and just the thing to make with the kids in time for Halloween. Use your imagination to decorate the tops - I'm sure the kids will have plenty of ideas. I was in Greenwich Village, NYC, a few days before Hurricane Sandy hit 5 years ago and saw these fun toppings at Magnolia Bakery in Bleecker Street. Read my story about how they celebrate Halloween in the Big Apple here.
- plain flour - 2 cups
- bi-carbonate soda - 1 teaspoon
- baking powder - 1 teaspoon
- salt - 1 teaspoon
- ground cinnamon - 2 teaspoons
- ground nutmeg - 1/4 teaspoon (or use freshly grated nutmeg)
- ground allspice - 1/4 teaspoon
- light brown sugar - 1 cup, firmly packed
- granulated sugar - 1 cup
- unsalted butter - 250g, softened
- eggs - 4, organic or free-range, at room temperature
- thickened cream - 1 - 2 teaspoons, optional
- pumpkin puree - 1 3/4 cups
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- softened unsalted butter - 125g
- softened cream cheese - 360g
- vanilla essence - 2 teaspoons (or 2 teaspoons lemon or orange zest)
- icing sugar - 3 cups, sifted (or more if required)
- cinnamon - for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180degC.
Line 2 x 12-hole muffin tins with paper cases.
Sift together the flour, bi-carbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugars, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Slowly add flour mixture and mix on low speed until smooth. Add thickened cream if desired. Add the pumpkin puree and beat together until combined.
Fill each paper case a little more than halfway full of batter. 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 to cool completely before frosting.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting: beat the butter and cream cheese together until well combined. Add vanilla essence or citrus zest of choice. Sift in the icing sugar - use enough to achieve the consistency you like. Spread the cooled cupcakes with frosting - or use a piping bag, and decorate for Halloween.
To make pumpkin puree: preheat the oven to 200degC. Lightly oil a baking tray. Halve a butternut pumpkin (or you can use use a Jap pumpkin or kumara) and scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on the baking tray and roast the pumpkin until it is tender inside, about 45 to 50 minutes. Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the skin with a metal spoon and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Let cool and use as needed (kumara will roast faster, but the method is the same: halve, roast face down, scrape flesh from the skin and puree until smooth).