November 10, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes

One thing that I like to do in my spare time is experiment in the kitchen. 
Now, I can't say that all of those experiments end well...
But most of them do.

As it is "fall", and I put that in quotes as it has been unseasonably warm all week here in New York, I have been obsessed with everything pumpkin. So, when I came across this recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes with a Chai Cream Cheese Icing I just had to give it a try. I never know how much to fill the cupcake pans. The first batch came out looking more like large muffins than cupcakes. I think I got the hang of it the second time around.

What you'll need:
For cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup canola or safflower oil
3 eggs
1 15 ounce can pureed pumpkin
For icing
  • 1/4 cup sugar
    2 chai tea bags
    3 cardamom pods
    1 cinnamon stick
    8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
    1/2 cup butter or 1 stick (room temperature)
    3/4 cups powdered sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon honey

What to do:
Start by preheating the oven to 350°F. 
Grease the cupcake pans and place cupcake liners in each.

Combine the dry ingredients 
(flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger)
 in a medium sized bowl. In another bowl, beat together the sugar and oil 
until the sugar is saturated by the oil. (It helps to use an electric mixer)
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the pumpkin. 
Add the flour mixture, and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined. 

Pour the batter into the cupcake pans and bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes. 

To make the Frosting: 
(I usually make this first as it takes a while for it to cool down.)

Combine the sugar, 5 tablespoons water, the chai tea bags, 
cardamom pods, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. 
Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to make sure the sugar dissolves, 
then simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. 
Turn off the heat and let the syrup steep another 20 minutes. 
Remove the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick, 
and squeeze out all the flavor from the tea bags.
 Let the syrup come to room temperature before proceeding.

In a bowl combine the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, 
vanilla extract, honey, and chai syrup and mix until it is very smooth. 
(Once again, you may want to use an electric mixer.)

Before frosting the cupcakes make sure that the icing 
is room temperature, other wise it is difficult to spread.

Mmm delicious!

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