One of my favorite parts about fall is pumpkin everything. Pumpkins are so versatile. You can eat, drink and decorate (with) them. Although I have been too lazy this year to get out my fall decoration from its box in the basement, I regularly enjoy the other two pumpkin activities. At least in the U.S. you can find pumpkin foods and drinks at every turn. I have stocked up on pumpkin spice oatmeal, pumpkin spice cream cheese, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin mac’n’cheese, pumpkin pasta sauce, etc. You get the idea.
I also saw that some of my neighbors had beautifully carved pumpkins and put them in front of their doors. Unfortunately, this is the one thing I have never even tried. But I simply didn’t have any time around Halloween. Hopefully next year … Last weekend I at least finally found the time to properly use my kitchen. The kitchen in this apartment is quite wonderful. Not only is it so big that I can turn around in it (there is even space for two people and a cat), but it also contains a dishwasher. The latter makes cooking and baking a little more fun. Since it is fall and pumpkin peak time, I just had to make pumpkin cupcakes. To add a little twist, I combined it with salty caramel.
The cupcakes are very rich and sweet. The blend of spices, pumpkin and salty caramel is really delicious. Since I like it easy, I bought salty caramel sauce in the supermarket and also salty caramel candy. They melt so well in the oven that I feel it is not necessary to fill the cupcakes with homemade caramel sauce. I also buy pumpkin puree in cans. It saves a lot of time and isn’t any more expensive than unprocessed pumpkin. Just check that the can only contains pure pumpkin puree and not any additives. Of course you can make your own caramel – just add some seasalt then both to the cupcake dough and the frosting – and your own pumpkin puree – bake bigger pumpkin pieces in the oven until they are very soft and easy to mash. As opposed to this, I never buy pumpkin spice, but just use the single spices it is mixed of (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and clover) because I have them all at home.
All in all it took me less than an hour to make the cupcakes. I noticed the one flaw only then: there wasn’t anyone, besides me, there to eat them. Normally, I enjoy the baking process more than eating 18 cupcakes. Until this summer I regularly fed my boyfriend with cookies and cake. In order to improve this obviously horrific situation, I spontaneously took a bus to New York City on Sunday morning and hand-delivered cake to my boyfriend. Luckily my surprise visit turned out well (I mean you never know if people are at home on a sunny and warm Sunday when you have not announced yourself at all) and I felt a little like Red Riding Hood bringing cake along.
Yields 18 cupcakes
20 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
50 minTotal Time
- 1 1/2 cups flour (190 g)
- 1 cup sugar (200 g)
- 3 tsp. cinnamon
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 tsp. clover
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 can pumpkin puree (425 g)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (120 ml)
- 1/3 cup buttermilk (80 ml)
- caramel candy
- 1 stick butter (115 g)
- 8 oz. cream cheese (225 g)
- 5 cups powdered sugar (500 g)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract (for the frosting)
- 1/3 cup salty caramel sauce (80 ml)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Put all the dry ingredients for the cupcakes, i.e. the flour, sugar, baking powder and spices, into a big bowl and stir.
- Add the eggs, pumpkin puree, oil, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Mix well until you have got a smooth dough. For these two steps, I only used a big wooden spoon (instead of a hand mixer), which worked perfectly.
- Fill about 2/3 of muffin cups with the dough. Stick one caramel candy into the middle of each cup.
- Bake for about 20 minutes.
- Let them cool off.
- For the frosting: In another bowl whisk the butter and the cream cheese for about two minutes until they are well blended.
- Slowly add the powdered sugar while you continue to blend the mixture.
- Blend in the vanilla extract and the salty caramel sauce at the end.
- Spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes.
- If you want to, sprinkle some extra caramel sauce on top.
As an alternative use half the dough and fill it into a loaf pan. Put it into the oven for about an hour. Spread a thinner layer of the frosting on top of the cake. This version is much easier to transport, and, of course, it tastes just as well as the cupcakes.