Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes

Although they are not my greatest strength, I really enjoy making cupcakes. Or more accurately, I enjoy frosting cupcakes. Also sprinkles – they’re just so fun!

You may recognize this recipe from my blog header. These cupcakes are really easy, delicious, and one of the few recipes I didn’t have to modify for baking at 4500 feet. The addition of ginger is a nice distinction to a normal pumpkin cupcake, and the cinnamon frosting blends perfectly.

Just look how perfectly they rise.

I got this recipe from my friend Amanda, and it’s already become one of my favorites. I’m sure I’ll be making these every year. I decided to use the spider-web design from the recipe for half, and the fall leaf sprinkles I had for the other half. Unless you are an incredibly generous with frosting, you can probably cut the frosting recipe in half.

Spider-web Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes

From the kitchen of Amanda
Makes 12-18 cupcakes

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup (about 1 1/4 ounces) crystallized ginger cut into 1/8- to 1/4-inch pieces (unless you really like chunks of candied ginger, make sure these pieces are small)

Directions

  1. Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line muffin tin cups with paper liner.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger into a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low-medium speed, beat the melted butter, sugar and pumpkin until smoothly blended.
  3. Mix in the eggs and crystallized ginger. On low speed, mix in the flour mixture until it is incorporated. The batter will be thick.
  4. Fill each paper liner with a generous 1/4 cup of batter, to about 1/2 inch below the top of the liner. Bake just until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes for at least 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then remove and cool completely.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 to 2 teaspoons whole milk

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla on low speed until smooth and thoroughly blended. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and continue to mix until smooth, then beat on medium speed for 1 minute to lighten the frosting.
  3. Transfer about 1/4 cup of the frosting to a small bowl, and stir in enough cinnamon to make the frosting a light brown color and enough milk to make a thick but pourable frosting. Set aside to use for the spider-web decoration.
  4. Use a knife or a small spatula to spread the remaining frosting on top of each cupcake in a smooth even layer. Cleaning the utensil often against the side of the bowl (or with a paper towel) will help you spread the frosting smoothly.
  5. Spoon the reserved cinnamon frosting into a small self-sealing freezer bag. Press out the excess air and seal the bag. Cut a tiny hole in one corner of the bag, about 1/8 inch in diameter.
  6. To form the web pattern, hold tip about 1/2 inch above a cupcake and slowly pipe two circles, one inside the other, on the frosting. Pipe a dot of the frosting in the center. Drag a toothpick gently from the center of the cupcake to its edge, and repeat at each 90° interval.
  7. In between the previous lines, draw the toothpick from the edge of the cupcake towards the center. You should have 8 lines alternating in directions to form a spider-web. It may be necessary to add a new dot in the center.

    Try not to eat them all at once. =)

Classic Pumpkin Pie

Every year I impatiently wait for October 1st, the first day of the year I have semi-arbitrarily deemed acceptable to bake with pumpkin.

Of course most years I end up baking a pumpkin pie sometime during the summer just because it sounds good, but I digress.

Pumpkin is a key fall flavor, and since I don’t personally like apple pie (gasp), it’s my favorite pie of the season. If I exercise a considerable amount of self-restraint, one pie lasts me about a week. Although I’ve tried variations of pumpkin pie involving cream cheese, two layers, or no-bake methods, the classic remains my favorite.

I know some people find pies intimidating, or more accurately pie crust, so I have included the recipe I always use. It makes enough for a double crust so cut it in half for one single-crust pie. This crust is incredibly easy and consistently results in a lovely golden color, no tin foil necessary.

What’s your favorite fall pie?

Perfect Pie Crust for Double-Crust Pie

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup + 1 Tbsp shortening
6-7 Tbsp ice water

Measure shortening into a small bowl and place in freezer for 15-20 minutes. Pour water and a few ice cubes into a liquid measuring cup and set aside.

Directions

  1. Mix flour and salt in a larger bowl. Using a pastry blender (or a fork), cut in the chilled shortening until the pieces are pea-sized.
  2. One tablespoon at a time, pour water into mixture and gently mix with your pastry blender (or fork). Repeat until all is moistened and the dough will stick together as one ball. Divide dough in half and gently roll each half into a ball.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, gently flatten one ball of dough into a disc. Gently roll into a circle large enough for your pie plate. Transfer dough to pie plate, and trim to a half inch larger than the rim. Fold pastry under itself and crimp, if desired.

Classic Pumpkin Pie

Adapted from LIBBY’S®

Ingredients

1 pie crust for single-crust pie
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin pure (I prefer LIBBY’s®)
1 can (12 fl. oz) evaporated milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Mix sugar, salt and spices in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.
  3. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.
  4. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and mix until filling is one consistent color.
  5. Pour into prepared pie crust.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes at 425°F, then reduce oven to 350°F and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours, then serve or refrigerate.