Pumpkin Swirl Cupcakes w/Salted Caramel Pumpkin Buttercream…The Pumpkin Addiction Continues

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In my last post I mentioned how I have been turned onto pumpkin.  Yes, I am on the “Pumpkin Everything” bandwagon.  I have been having pumpkin in all sorts of things: pancakes, waffles, chocolate chip cookies, bread, beer and of coarse coffee.  Pumpkin season should never end!  It goes well with my obsession with the fall season.  My family probably thinks I am a little crazy with it, but that’s ok.

IMG_20141011_234725The cake I decorated with Fall colors on a whim one day.

20141019_144133The Little Boy Scarecrow I made with one of my children at a local Fall Festival this weekend.

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A couple of treats I made recently for a brunch.

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My current favorite beverage.

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This weekend I opened a can of pumpkin to use a little of it in my waffle experimentation.  Since I opened the can I had to use the rest of it, right?  Of course.  So I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies as well as the item that is the topic of this post: Pumpkin Swirl Cupcakes with a Salted Caramel Pumpkin Buttercream, garnished with chocolate shavings and  caramel bits.

Pumpkin Swirl Cupcakes with a Salted Caramel Pumpkin Buttercream

These came  out really tasty!  The flavors mesh wonderfully!

Pumpkin Swirl Cupcake:

For this cupcake you can use any vanilla, white or yellow cake mix or recipe.  Before spooning batter into cupcake tins you will take a portion of the batter and had the pumpkin flavors.  Feel free to use your own recipe or box mix or give my recipe a try:

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 3 TBS baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup 100% pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of ginger

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt. Whisk thoroughly.  In the bowl for your stand mixer cream the butter then add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy.  Add 1 egg at a time then add vanilla.  Add a third of the flour mixture, then a third of the milk.  Continue until all combined.  Once last amount of flour and milk are add only mix until just combined.  Try not to overmix or you run the risk of having a dry cake.

Next, scoop out about a cup or so of the batter into a separate bowl.  To this add the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger stir to combine.

Now, fill your cupcake tins with cupcake liners and fill about 1/3 with the vanilla batter.  Next spoon a dollop of the pumpkin batter into each one.  With a toothpick or butter knife, swirl the pumpkin batter in to give the desired effect.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-18 minutes depending on your oven.  They are done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Let them cool completely before frosting.

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Buttercream

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp spoons of brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp  water
  • 5 Tbsp of softened butter, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp 100% pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of ginger
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar) (more or less, depending on desired consistency)
  • course salt, chocolate shavings and caramel bits for garnish (optional)

Combine brown sugar and water in a sauce pan over medium heat.  While stirring constantly, bring to a rolling boil.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 Tbsp of butter and 1/4 tsp of salt.  Set aside to cool.

In a stand mixer cream the remaining butter and the pumpkin.  Add cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  Add the cooled caramel.  Next, slowly add the powdered sugar.

Using a pastry bag or just a butter knife, frost the cupcakes and add desired garnish.

I hope you like them!!!Pumpkin Swirl Cupcakes with a Salted Caramel Pumpkin Buttercream 20140927_103940-1

Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream and Fondant Raspberry Toppers

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With a request for cupcakes I had the opportunity  try out my branding vision for my future business. Red is my absolute favorite color and I have always adored red and white polka dots.  I have red and white polka dot sandals that I can’t wait to wear again when the weather gets warm.  I even have red and white polka dot unmentionables….anyway, I digress.  Since I love this pattern I figured why not incorporate it into my vision.

I am also embracing my childhood nickname.  As a teenager I started to reject the name and tried to insist that everyone call me by my real name.  My family just laughed at me and continued to call me Punkin. I believe there are still some family members who don’t know my real name.   As an adult I actually embrace the nickname.  Family nicknames come from a place of love and it is an honor to be given one.  How can I reject that?  I am my mommy’s Punkin and will always be 🙂  So with the embrace of my nickname comes Punkin’s Pies, Cookies & Cakes!  Short and sweet 🙂

The cupcake request that gave me the opportunity to try out my label and packaging is for Chocolate Cupcakes.  I chose a Raspberry Buttercream and I made Fondant Raspberry toppers.  If you have been following my blog then you may remember a previous post I did that included a raspberry buttercream filling.  That particular buttercream did not come out as expected in texture, although it tasted very good.  Today’s buttercream (different recipe) is much better!  The only thing I will change next time will be to use less food coloring.  I often forget that when I use the gel food colorings the color tends to deepen as it sits.  The pink came out a bit to deep/bright for my liking.  (even more bright than the pictures in this post) It looked very artificial.  The raspberry in the buttercream only gave it a slight but dull pink hue.  With the intention of brightening it up I added pink food color.  Next time I will use less.

So let’s start with the Fondant Toppers!  This is when the kid in me comes out.  It is like playing with playdoh!

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You can create these, or other toppers with fondant, gum paste, or any other edible modeling dough.   If you make your own fondant or purchase white then you can use gel food colors to achieve different colors or you can take the easy route and use pre-colored products like I did this time.

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These are easy to make.  First, working in small batches, roll out your red dough.  Cut into strips and then cut each strip into small, uniform pieces. (I am not good and making them uniform lol).

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Take another piece a bit larger than the others and roll it into a ball.  Then take the smaller balls and start building your berry.  The first row of balls you attach will represent the top of the berry.  So you are building your berry upside down.  Depending on what kind of dough you are using you may want to have a little water handy.  The dough I used attached better if the pieces were slightly wet.

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After building the berry you can decide if you want to leave as is, or attach leaves.  I liked the added color of the leaves.  For this I rolled out the green dough and, using a small star-shaped cookie cutter I cut out stars.  (the star shape that came with my Linzer cookie cutter set was the perfect size).  After you cut the start shape next cut the star in half and separate each point of the star. ( I forgot to take a picture of this step and how I attached the leaves).

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Next, attach each star point to the top of the raspberry using a little water, if necessary.  Using fondant modeling tools or just a toothpick, press the leaf pieces in the middle of the top of the raspberry and , make imprint in it to make it look like a leaf.  Then bend them down a bit to make them look like they are simply laying on top.

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Chocolate Cupcake Recipe:

1 3/4 cup Flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

 1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup of strong coffee

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a lager mixer bowl.  In a separate bowl mix the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.  Next add them to the flour mixture and beat for about 3 minutes.  Finally add the coffee and stir well.  This batter will be thin and liquidy compared to other cake batters, this normal!

Fill your cupcake liners with about 1/2 cup of batter and bake at 375 degrees for about 15-18 minutes. Remove from cupcake pan and let cool on wire rack.  Cool completely before frosting.

Raspberry Buttercream:

1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter (softened)

4 ounces of cream cheese (room temperature)

3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

3 tablespoons of raspberry jam (I used an all natural fruit spread with no corn syrup or unnecessary ingredients,  I used heaping spoonfuls :-))

1 tsp of vanilla ( probably used more, I tend to just liberally pour vanilla, I like it a lot)

1 tablespoon of milk

Pink food coloring if desired

Cream together butter and cream cheese.  Next add 1 cup of powdered sugar and one tablespoon of jam, the vanilla and also.  Blend well and add another cup of powdered sugar and another tablespoon of jam.  Repeat.  And voila! Raspberry Buttercream.  If you are not a fan of cream cheese then you can use 2 sticks of butter and eliminate the cream cheese.  Personally I like the cream cheese version better.  The tartness of the cream cheese lessens the intensity of the sweetness.

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