Creating and testing new recipes are great passions, but even more rewarding are the times when I can bake to share with others. Last weekend I baked trays of pumpkin spice cupcakes for my local Salvation Army, grateful for the opportunity to give back in a small way.
With Halloween only a few days away, there’s no better time for festive cupcakes. The maple brown butter frosting might be my favorite thing ever, but if you know me at all, then you know I have a thing for brown butter. Dress your cupcakes with black and gold sprinkles or go the traditional route with pumpkin orange; either way, these are a crowd-pleaser!
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Brown Butter Frosting
2 1/3 cups cake flour*
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup pure pumpkin
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
Maple Brown Butter Frosting
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
pinch of salt
3 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350°F and line two 12-cup standard muffin pans with baking cups. Whisk together cake flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugars in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy; beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Combine pumpkin, yogurt, and buttermilk in a small bowl. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with pumpkin mixture (begin and end with flour mixture).
Divide batter evenly among cups (just over 1/2 full) and bake for 15 minutes, until cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 2 minutes in pans on a wire rack, then carefully remove from pans and place them on the wire rack to cool completely.
To make frosting, cook 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it foams, turns clear, and then turns a deep brown, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat to cool to room temperature.
Beat butter, cooled brown butter, cream cheese, and salt in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat well, scraping down bowl as needed. Add maple syrup; beat on medium-high speed until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
Fit a pastry bag with a large round tip and pipe a spiral onto each cupcake. Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
*Make your own cake flour: place 2 tablespoons cornstarch in an empty 1-cup measure, then top up with flour. Sift the mixture several times to evenly distribute the cornstarch.
Yield – 24 cupcakes
Calories – 248 (per cupcake)
Carbs – 38