You Can Take Cupcakes to A Dinner Party
As one of the rare Americans who does not love pumpkin pie, I am always looking for other ways to get on the pumpkin train because I desperately want to use the biggest, most beautiful orange winter squash on the market. It is quintessentially autumn, and being a major symbol of Halloween, it is only fitting that it be front and center on your Halloween party dessert table.
I was recently asked to bring dessert to a dinner party. I pulled out my dessert binder that is filled recipes I have gathered over the years and started to leaf through. My binder is divided into two sections: cookies and everything else. I felt cookies would be underwhelming unless I made them into ice cream sandwiches or something, but it was a rainy Saturday night and ice cream did not feel right at all. So, I flipped through the next section in the mood for something new. Luckily, my friends have all come to understand that they are my favorite guinea pigs, and they humor me by graciously trying all the experiments, good and bad.
A recipe for pumpkin cupcakes, on golden-yellow paper that I pulled back in 2013, jumped out at me. How had I overlooked this recipe for 11 years, I have no idea.
For a split second I contemplated whether cupcakes were worthy enough to bring to a dinner party. They were! I only brought one extra cupcake with me as it was a healthy group and I didn’t expect anyone to ask for seconds. But, sure enough, that one extra cupcake was cut into quarters and shared.
My husband, who is pretty much a brownie-and-vanilla ice cream kind of guy, loved them, and my son said it was the most delicious, dense, and moist cupcake he has ever had.
Who knew a cupcake could be so exciting and versatile? Perfect for your little trick or treater’s school Halloween party, or for a dinner party with the grown-ups.
These sweet treats are so delicious, why limit them to Halloween? I may whip up a few dozen for Thanksgiving for all the non-pumpkin pie eaters, and nothing’s stopping me from bringing them to the next July 4th picnic!
Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream Frosting
Makes 18 cupcakes
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
½ t. ground ginger
¼ t. ground allspice
15-ounce can pure pumpkin purée
2 large eggs
1½ cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
For the frosting
8-ounce bar cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ t. salt
Heat oven to 350°F. Line two muffin tins with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice.
In a large bowl, with a kitchen aid or electric mixer, mix together the pumpkin purée, eggs, granulated sugar, and oil until uniform in color, approximately 20-30 seconds. In threes, add the flour mixture until combined. Scrape down the sides after each addition.
Ladle the batter into the prepared muffin tins filling each three-quarters of the way to the top. In the extra tins that have no batter, remove the liners and put ¼ inch of water in each empty spot. Bake 20-24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Start testing at 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, and salt on high until there are no lumps, approximately 3-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Frost the cupcakes.