Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

I am starting to suspect that I have developed a raging case of Adult Onset Attention Deficit Disorder (AOADD).  I used to be the queen of following directions, reading comprehension, and recall of random information.  I was the girl you wanted on your Trivia Night team.

Much like my youthful complexion, shopping in the Junior’s Department, and cassette tapes, those days are long gone.  I now have lists to remind me about lists.  I would be hard pressed to summarize the plot of anything I’ve read in the last few months.  And I continually find myself wandering off task.  For instance, as I am writing this post, I pop over to Yahoo when it tells me that I have a new email.  From there, I open a few browser windows, read an online chat or two, and try unsuccessfully to get into Twitter for twenty minutes.  All that happens before I remember that I was in the middle of something.

In short, I get in my own damn way.

Sadly, this condition often surfaces while I’m in the kitchen.  And it leads to some interesting internal dialogue.  Let’s consider Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes.  In the bake! cookbook, they were on the pages immediately following a recipe for Carrot Cake.  So there I am, book open with absolutely zero recognition that the page says Carrot Cake and I’m thinking Pumpkin Spice.  I start prepping ingredients.  And then at nearly the point of no return, I figured out my mistake.  Luckily the two recipes shared several key ingredients in almost identical amounts.  So with some deep breathing and quick math, I was able to catch my mistake and keep going.

But had I been paying attention in the first place, I would have realized I was on the wrong damn page.

Should you ever meet me in real life and I do something so completely boneheaded that the only explanation is that I’m losing my mind, I’ll try and remember to mention that I have diagnosed myself as suffering from AOADD.

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from bake!

BAH Note:  I scaled down the original recipe which makes two 9″ round cake layers in order to make one dozen cupcakes.  The math initially involved trying to halve an egg.  Which made my brain hurt.  So instead of bringing on a migraine, I used a little more oil.  I probably could have also just used the yolk of an egg and been done with it.  Maybe next time.  Despite testing for doneness, the larger muffins were still a little wet inside. But then again, this is a very moist cake recipe.  When I ate one the next morning with my coffee, it was perfectly fine.  And nobody who sampled them voiced any complaints.

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon 5 spice powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and place a regular muffin tin on a half sheet pan.  Spray the top of the pan with nonstick spray, line the cups with muffin or cupcake papers, and set aside.

Combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

Place the brown sugar in a large mixing bowl and use a spatula to mix in about a third of the pumpkin until there are no sugar lumps remaining.  Use a whisk to mix in the remaining pumpkin, eggs, oil, and vanilla, adding each one at a time and stirring well between each addition.

Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet in thirds.  Use a standard ice cream disher to scoop the drop the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cupcakes are risen and firm and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a rack and cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning the cupcakes out to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crystallized ginger, optional

Place the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl and use a whisk or electric mixer to combine.  Sift the confectioner’s sugar into the bowl one half cup at a time, whisking until it is completely absorbed after each addition.  Add the vanilla and whisk until the frosting is smooth.  After frosting the cupcakes, roughly chop the crystallized ginger and use to garnish the cupcakes.

{printable recipe}

22 thoughts on “Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

    1. Amber, I thought it was just me that….oh wait, what was I saying?? Yeah, I’ve got AOADD brain.

      This recipe is a great way to use up that can of pumpkin that is lurking in the back of the pantry.

  1. Classic case of RDD. I am glad we are not alone.

    This cupcake/muffin looks fabulous – reminds me of that pumpkin cake from the cover of Fine Cooking last fall – that had crystallized ginger too.

    1. Jennifer, we are definitely NOT alone. I know you probably have a can of pumpkin lurking in a cabinet. Help it fulfill its destiny.

  2. Hey, at least you realized it before you added the wet ingredients. I’ve made that mistake. Along with realizing I’m missing something key, like eggs, after I’ve mixed everything else.

  3. Confession: I’d just scrape off the icing and leave the cupcake. Pumpkin’s not my favorite and spice on top of it… no thank you. Cream cheese icing is a long time best friend though.

  4. Between the Internet, social media, blogs, email, Smartphones and probably many other techie distractions I’m forgetting, I don’t think more people have trouble focusing on one thing for long periods of time. I know I do sometimes.

    Pumpkin spice is the flavor of the very first cupcake I had at a cupcake shop. It’s also my favorite flavor. Thanks so much for the recipe.

    1. That’s a great point Jen, there are so many different “things” vying for our attention any more. It’s a wonder we can focus on anything.

  5. I sort of wish you’d crammed the two recipes together, just to see what would have happened. Maybe you could start a trend. Recipe mash-ups. But seems terrific to me, no matter if you’ve got AOA. . . . Wait, what were we talking about?

    1. Recipe mash ups…why didn’t I think of that Mark? Now if I see that you and Bruce start working on a new cookbook of mashed up recipes, I will be sure to lobby for the carrot cake and pumpkin spice cake to be included.

    1. Thanks Rachel. Fresh pumpkin would be great to use but I admit to cracking into a can of pumpkin that was sitting neglected in my cupboard.

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