Halloween is my favorite holiday. Growing up in a desert, it was always fun to imagine what it would be like to experience fall, and Halloween was usually the first cool evening of the year. Plus, you get to dress up and eat candy. I once dressed up with Jess when we were in high school and went trick-or-treating in January. People actually gave us candy and were too nice to tell us that it wasn't Halloween! Well, either too nice or they felt sorry for us.
After a two week hiatus of not baking anything (boo), it felt nice to have a completely free weekend to bake to my heart's desire. I had picked out several recipes to try out. The most difficult part was picking one to make first!
I started off with what should be a fall/Halloween classic: Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes. I used a recipe that was emailed to me from Williams-Sonoma. I made a couple changes to the recipe, especially for the frosting since it's so annoying to work with 12 oz of cream cheese when a package comes with 8 oz! You can check out the original recipe at the link above, or check out my adapted version below. Either way, it's a great recipe to try!
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes - Makes approximately 5 dozen mini-cupcakes
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 15 oz pumpkin (one small can, or 1 3/4 cups)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini cupcake pan with paper liners.
- Put the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt into a bowl. Mix it together with a metal whisk.
- In a larger bowl, beat the pumpkin, sugars and oil on medium-low speed. Add the eggs one at a time.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly, mixing gently with an electric mixer on low speed as you do.
- Fill the cupcake liners 1/2 to 3/4 full. I find that it's always hard to do that with a small cupcake pan, so it's sometimes helpful to use a small ice cream scoop.
- Bake for about 14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
These cuppies have a nice balance of pumpkin and spices. I think that I would like if they had tasted more like pumpkin, but no one else seemed to feel that way.
And now for the frosting! I personally don't like cream cheese frosting all that much, but this recipe called for a fantastic cream cheese and white chocolate combo! Yummy! Like I mentioned above, the portions of ingredients didn't use as even numbers as I like, so I changed it around a little. Here's my adaptation:
White Chocolate & Cream Cheese Frosting - makes enough to generously cover the cupcakes from the Pumpkin Spice recipe
- 2 12oz bags of white chocolate chips
- 16 oz cream cheese
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
- food coloring (optional)
- Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Stir it constantly so that it doesn't burn and melts evenly. Let it stand until just warm to the touch.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy on medium speed with an electric mixer.
- Add the cream cheese to the butter and cream together until well mixed.
- Add the melted white chocolate to the butter and cream cheese. Continue to mix until well combined and smooth.
- Optional - add food coloring slowly until the desired shade is achieved.
The frosting might be my new favorite. It didn't taste too much like cream cheese and it had such a delicate touch of white chocolate. Oh, and on top of the pumpkin spice cupcake? DELISH!
Lastly, I tried to make the cupcakes look like little pumpkins, an idea that comes from the Hello, Cupcake! book. This was pretty easy....
To make your cupcakes look like pumpkins:
- orange decorating sugar (OR you can just use orange frosting)
- orange frosting
- green candies to make a stalk and vine, such as green airheads or green chewy jolly ranchers
- orange gel icing in a tube
1. I happened to fill my cupcake liners too much, so the tops of the cupcakes were already round like a pumpkin. If yours don't look like that, you can just put a large mound of icing on top of your cupcake with an off-set spatula or knife. Smooth it out so it looks "pumpkin-like."
2. Pour the orange sugar into a bowl. Gently press the cupcakes into the bowl so that the icing is evenly covered with sprinkles. Careful! I dropped some cupcakes in the bowl. They they just look sort of flat and sad instead of a pumpkin.
3. Warm the green candy in your hand while it is still in the wrapper. Just hold onto it for a few minutes. Unwrap the candy and tear off a small piece. Mold it to look like the top of a pumpkin ant stick it into the top of the cupcake.
4. Use the orange gel icing to draw longitudinal lines around the pumpkin to look like ridges.
You could even make them into Jack-O-Lanterns if you want :) I didn't.... but that's because I wasn't in a particularly spooky mood.
Less than a week until Halloween!