Ask anyone who knew me growing up and they’ll tell you – Halloween is my favorite holiday. I used to go overboard making my own costume every year, determined to have the best one out of everybody. It’s a shame that Halloween isn’t really a “thing” here in the UK – it actually made me a bit sad not dressing up, carving a jack-o-lantern, or going to Halloween parties, pumpkin patches, or haunted hay rides. *note to self – must throw a Halloween party some year.
And fall is pretty much my favorite season from a culinary perspective. It marks the beginning of the best cooking and baking season that leads up to Christmas. One of the best seasonal ingredients is pumpkin. Cooking with pumpkin just instantly signals fall – so I special-ordered a few cans of pumpkin to load up for a few rounds of pumpkin baking.
As a Halloween treat to my co-workers, I decided this week to throw together a batch of pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. As I was baking these on a weeknight and ended up staying up pretty late, I completely forgot to take photos. Luckily I had a photo from another time I baked these a few years ago. So while I apologize for the poor-quality photo, I will not apologize for the presence of Jack Skellington.
If anything, he just adds a bit of the Halloween spirit.
For the cupcakes (makes 24):
- 2 1/4 cups flour, sifted
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup (115 grams) butter
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (or cooked and mashed up)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup (57.5 grams) butter, softened
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
- 1 pound (1 box, about 4 cups) icing sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 375° F (approx 190°C). Place cupcake liners into the pan.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
3. In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs. Once everything is incorporated, add in the pumpkin.
4. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients, alternating each addition with the milk. Make sure everything is blended in and smooth before adding the next addition. If you’d like, you can also add in some chopped walnuts or pecans at this stage. Once the batter is completely mixed, fill your prepared cupcake pans – filling each cup about 2/3 full.
5. Bake the cakes for about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Rotate the pans halfway through the baking time. Once they are ready, let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese in your mixer until it starts to become creamy. Then turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add in the sifted icing sugar. Finally, add in the vanilla and mix until it is completely blended. The consistency of this frosting is best spread on with a spatula, rather than piped. If you’d like a stiffer frosting, then add more sugar.