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Cupcakes!!! Who doesn’t love a delicious cupcake? This is a fabulous recipe. Here’s a little background: last year I tried my hand at catering – thinking it was something I could do on the side and develop from there – well…turns out catering is hard work! Like…really hard. And I kept losing money. And my job doesn’t really allow time for anything on the “side” — So – long story short – I determined that catering wasn’t for me – but what I did discover: that this recipe is a hit with literally every single person that ate them! I made these cupcakes over and over last fall – now it’s time to share! I made these most recently for a fundraiser at work and they were a hit as well. Highly recommend for your thanksgiving dessert menu! If you’re like my family, we have a dessert table — this would make a great addition to that spread!

I’ve adapted this recipe from allrecipes.com – check it out here for the original.

Side note: my mom has made this same recipe into a Bundt cake – minus the buttercream icing obviously. Just FYI.

Side note #2: I don’t like pumpkin! I know, I know – sacrilege! But I love these cupcakes – even though I don’t like pumpkin. They have a great kick of ginger, fabulous spices and are incredibly moist.

Here’s what you’ll need: For the cupcakes: all-purpose flour, instant butterscotch pudding mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cardamom, ground cloves, crystallized ginger, butter, white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree. For the icing: butter, cinnamon, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract.

And here’s what you’ll need to do:

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners.

First: whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, cloves, and crystallized ginger in a bowl and set aside.

Note: crystallized ginger is tricky to chop. They are pretty tough. I recommend using a large chef’s knife – cutting each piece one by one to make sure your knife doesn’t slip. Crystallized ginger can be found in the same section as the fresh ginger. I bought mine from Giant Eagle for around $2.50 — much cheaper than if you buy from the spice aisle in a jar.

Next step: Beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color – I did this for about 3 minutes.

Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next.

Beat in the vanilla and can of pumpkin puree with the last egg.

Note: the mixture will look kind of weird – like the pumpkin didn’t mix in correctly. But trust me – that’s normal. The first time I made these I got really discouraged that I had messed the recipe up. But once you add the flour mixture and bake – they will be prefect.

Finally – Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.

Time to fill the muffin papers – I used a ¼ measuring cup and spoon to drop the batter into the cups – this leads to less mess and even cupcakes.

Throw in the preheated oven until golden and a toothpick comes out cleanly from the center of each cupcake tin – about 20 minutes.

Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Time to ice these little, delicious babies:

First things first – you have to make sure your butter is room temperature. If it isn’t – your icing will never come together and be smooth and creamy. Trick to speed up the process if you only have refrigerator butter: place butter sticks, with the paper wrapper still on, in a bowl and microwave in 10 second increments. This cheat is great for a quick thaw – as soon as the butter starts to give a little – it’s enough. You definitely want to make sure you don’t melt the butter – which can happen very quickly. So stop as soon as it feels softer, but not melting.

Using a kitchen aid mixer with paddle attachment, or hand-held mixer – make sure you are using a large bowl. Mix the butter until smooth and creamy – about 3 minutes on medium speed. Now slowly incorporate the confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar) – half cup by half cup – add more sugar once the sugar has completely incorporated into the butter. Make sure your mixer is on the low speed – otherwise the sugar will fly all over!

Note: make sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure all of the butter is being incorporated.

I used 3 sticks of butter and 6 ½ cups of powdered sugar – you may need more or less sugar depending on the moisture of your butter. To finish – I added a T. of milk, 1 t. of vanilla extract, ¾ t. cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Continue to mix just until incorporated.

Now to frost the cupcakes: I use a cheaper, disposable method to ice my cupcakes – take a large Ziploc bag and fill with all of the icing. Put the icing on 1 side of the bag, twist the top to take the air out of the bag – then cut a small piece off the corner – like this:

Then swirl the icing onto the cupcakes…so pretty! But believe me – they taste even better than they look.

Time to eat and share – perfect for Thanksgiving! I hope you make these – they are incredibly delicious.

Pumpkin and Ginger Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Icing
Makes 24
Click here for recipe.

Ingredients:

For cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding mix
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs – room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

For Icing:
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
6 ½ cups powdered sugar (more or less depending on moisture levels)
¾ t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Splash of milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line 24 line muffin tins.
  2. Chop the crystallized ginger into small pieces – use a large chef’s knife.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, cloves, and crystallized ginger in a bowl; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Mix for about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next.
  6. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin puree with the last egg. (note that the mixture will look like the pumpkin hasn’t mixed in – but it will turn out fine.)
  7. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Prepare icing: Using a kitchen aid mixer with paddle attachment, or hand-held mixer – make sure you are using a large bowl. Mix the butter until smooth and creamy – about 3 minutes on medium speed. Now slowly incorporate the confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar) – half cup by half cup – add more sugar once the sugar has completely incorporated into the butter.
  10. Add the vanilla, splash of milk, pinch of salt, and cinnamon – mix until incorporated.
  11. Ice the cupcakes and serve – Enjoy!
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