2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree or use 1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
Tip: Use standard measuring cups and spoons or scales for accurate measuring.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons grade B pure maple syrup
2 cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
Orange and green Rolled Fondant for Pumpkin (or use white fondant tinted with orange Food Coloring for pumpkin and green food coloring for stem)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two standard 12-cup muffin pans; line about 20 of the cups with paper cupcake liners.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, Baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir the buttermilk and vanilla together. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color.
With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 8 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture has a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed.
Tip: For each egg, crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the creamed mixture. Start with the mixer on low speed so the liquid from the egg doesn’t splatter, once the egg is partially mixed increase the speed to medium. Each egg should be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next egg, taking about one minute to blend in each egg.
- With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the buttermilk mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the pumpkin and pecans into the batter.
- Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Fill about 2/3 full, using about ¼ cup of batter per cup.
Tip: Avoid over-filling the liners which may cause the batter to run-over the sides when baking. It is better to bake any remaining batter separately after the first pan of cupcakes has finished baking.
- Bake, rotating pan halfway through, 20 minutes, or until the cakes are just firm and spring back when gently pressed, and a toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly in cupcake pan on a wire cooling rack, and turn out of pan when cool enough to handle. Repeat process with any remaining batter. Cool cupcakes completely on the wire cooling rack before frosting.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, and maple; use an electric hand mixer or wooden spoon and beat together until mixture is smooth. Add powdered sugar; beat until frosting is smooth and creamy.
- Use a small offset spatula to frost the top of each cupcake, or use a pastry bag and decorating tip to pipe the frosting. Tip: If frosting seems too soft for piping, refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for the desired consistency.
- Plan on making the pumpkins at least a day in advance so they will be ready when time to use. Use Rolled Fondant and tint the fondant with orange food coloring for the pumpkins and just a very small amount tinted green for the stems. Shape pieces of orange fondant into small ½ to 1 inch balls. Use a toothpick or back of a butter knife to press creases around the outer edges from top to bottom. Roll a tiny bit of green onto the top for the stem. Set aside to dry.
- Place a pumpkin on top of each frosted cupcake.