October 1st seems to always offer the beginning of a magical period. The temperature in Southern California finally begins to become reasonable, smells (cinnamon and pine) and ingredients (pumpkins and apples) come into season, and the holidays are around the corner. October brings Halloween, November has Thanksgiving and December has Christmas.
I have drastically reduced my baking activities lately due to me starting school again. The combination of school and work plus the horrible temperatures of an extended summer make Sunday really the only day possible to bake. This past weekend I baked a double batch of Banana Bread, a double batch of Triple Chocolate Berry Bread and a batch of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars. However, I still was looking forward to something more in line with fall.
That brings us to the star of this post, Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Frosting. These give us two flavors which remind me of fall and all of the happiness that this season offers.
The recipe is very easy (no serious mixing at all). The only unique ingredient is the canned pumpkin puree which is available year-round in any grocery store.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces), not pie filling
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup coarsely chopped Heath bars, for serving (2 1.4-ounce bars)
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon Boyajian Natural Maple Flavor
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush or spray the top of 10 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners.
2. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.
3. Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use a level 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.
Spread the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting and sprinkle with the chopped toffee bits.