I grew up in a family that was very self-sufficient. I lived in a home with my maternal grandparents in addition to my parents. My grandfather was born to a family of farmers. For a good part of my two uncles’ lives they lived on a farm. When my grandparents moved to the city of Allentown in 1962, they tried to bring a little bit of the farm infused with the idea of a World War II Victory Garden. Every year as long as I could remember my grandfather would till and seed the small patch of dirt in our very urban backyard. The one vegetable I remember him growing, were his very large pumpkins. Every year there was always one that was at least two feet in circumference. It would always be my Jack O’Latern for Halloween. My grandfather was a firm believer in never wasting anything that came from the earth. He would of course take some of the seeds for replanting and some for roasting. The shell once Halloween was over would be composted. What he did with the other pumpkins was magical. He did not buy pumpkin filling in the supermarket, he made his own from his pumpkins. One thing that he would make was pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing. They were utterly delicious. While I will never know how he made his pumpkin filling or his recipe for his signature cupcakes and icing, I have found one that is close enough. It is definitely the perfect pick me up to a crisp autumn day to have a pumpkin spice cupcake and hot cup of coffee.
Here is the recipe for the cupcakes:
Pumpkin Spice CupcakesIngredients
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Sift together the flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
- Beat 1/2 cup of butter, the 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. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Stir in the milk and pumpkin puree after the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
- Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting by beating the cream cheese and 1/4 butter with an electric mixer in a bowl until smooth. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; beat until fluffy. Once the cupcakes are cool, frost with the cream cheese icing.
From: www.allrecipes.comCream Cheese Frosting RecipeIngredients
- 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 8 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
- 2 – 3 cups of powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 With an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes on medium speed until very smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
2 Add the vanilla extract and mix. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Keep adding until you get to desired sweetness and thickness.
3 Either spread on with a blunt knife or spatula, or spoon into a piping bag to decorate your cake or cupcake.
- Adding a teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice is always great for exotic chocolate cakes.
- Adding freshly ground ginger helps spice up a carrot cake.
- Freshly ground chai spice or even the contents of a bag of earl grey tea are heady and aromatic.
- The scrapings from a vanilla bean can be very sweet and heavenly for red velvet or dark chocolate cakes.
- Freshly grated or dried, flaked coconut mixed in makes it perfect for a coconut cake.