Thursday, November 03, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes w/ Graham Cracker Crust & Cream Cheese Variations

This past October I wanted to find a really scrumptious recipe to really capture the "essence of Fall", into one recipe. I came across a few different recipes for a foreign flavor of Pumpkin Spice. I've never tried it so thought with the arrival of Fall, and Halloween nearby - it would be perfect for both. And not to toot my own horn, but I think this one calls for some "Toots" :) After a few corrections & changes, I had the final recipe made & a really beautiful & delicious cupcake as a result. If you like spice cake or spice "muffins" - this is perfect for you. I'm not a big fan of Pumpkin desserts, but this was really wonderful because the mingling of the spices in the pumpkin puree with the spices in the cake, came together quite nicely :)

I put this cupcake as my "Feature Flavor of the Month" on my website for my bakery. It was a pretty successful cupcake & I got a lot of great feedback from it. I also added a Graham Cracker Crust to the bottom & it really kicked up the flavors & textures. The blend of crunch, with the warmth & gooey-ness of the cake & then the cool frosting, was really nice. Then you add the essence of pumpkin, blend of warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger, and the creamy Cream Cheese frosting - and you have a pretty powerful cupcake. Definitely a crowd pleaser, and the best part is that it really is not hard at all to make! 

I'm really proud of this recipe, and really excited to share it with you. I hope you try it out, I promise you will not be disappointed. I also included a picture with some different "topping" options (based on your taste buds). 
Here it is: Hope you enjoy! Let me know how you like it :) 
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting
& Graham Cracker Crust

I was surprised to find that this recipe will make between 3-4 dozen cupcakes, so if you do not want that many, cut the recipe in half and it'll give you exactly 2 dozen.
What you will need:
4 Cups of Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 T. + 1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 T. Ginger
1 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Cloves (ground)
1 Cup Unsalted Butter
2 1/2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
4 Eggs
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 1/2 Cups Canned Pumpkin (NOT the Pumpkin Pie Filling)

 & Here we go!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line your cupcake pans.
Sift the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder & salt together. (Basically all of the dry ingredients, except for the brown sugar - that's for the next step).

In a separate bowl, Cream the butter & brown sugar until light & fluffy.
Add each egg to the butter & sugar mixture (1 egg at a time).
Then - ALTERNATING 3-4 times, add the flour mixture into the mix, and then the buttermilk into the mix, taking turns repeating about 3-4 times.
 NOW STOP.Before pouring batter into the cupcake liners, you want to make the Graham Cracker Crust to put into the liners BEFORE pouring the cupcake batter into them. 

Graham Cracker Crust: 
What you will need:
2 cups crushed graham crackers crumbs (about 12 crackers)
1/2 cup melted butter
 To make the graham cracker crumbs, mix the crushed up crackers with the melted butter and scoop into the paper liners.

 NOW: Time to fill the cupcakes!

Once you fill the liners with the crust & the batter (about halfway to top) - Bake them for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. You'll know when it's close because the house will smell pretty spectacular; My nose always seems to be the best timer for desserts.

Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting. If you'd like to cut the calories, or sugar intake - with these cupcakes (or any spice cupcakes in general), you really can eat them without frosting like a muffin or spice cake.  All the spices add a lot of flavor to the cake, that frosting isn't required and still tastes great
When cupcakes are ready to frost, grab your Cream Cheese Frosting (Store bought or Homemade) & frost away!
I kept my frosting white but you can always color them to decorate for the holiday or event your having. I decorated my cupcakes with assorted toppings (just to show some different ways you can do it)

Variations: The best toppings to "Sprinkle With Love"
---- I decorated some with Cinnamon & Nutmeg Spices (just a little so it doesn't overpower the frosting)
---- Some were decorated with Sprinkles
(I found some cute orange pumpkin sprinkles & they were fabulous seeing as how these were Pumpkin cupcakes!) ... It's the little things that you find the most joy in right? (LOL!)
 ---- I also decorated some of the cupcakes with freshly chopped Walnuts. That seemed to be the biggest hit because it added an extra crunch and additional flavor to the cupcake

 & you're all done! 
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial & hope you try the recipe! Stay tuned to see what November's "Feature Flavor of the Month" will be!
There's currently a Survey on the RoyaL Sweets & Treats facebook page if you'd like to participate in choosing the final flavor for November! & if you'd like to follow my desserts & monthly specials!
Thanks for reading & good luck with your next adventure in the kitchen!

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