I’ve been promising the recipe for making pumpkin cupcakes for a couple of weeks, but of course, timing is everything so about now seems to be the optimum moment.
You can make the actual little pumpkin shaped cupcakes using either the following pumpkin flavoured recipe or a standard vanilla cupcake cake recipe which you can find here (make sure you use a large egg). The buttercream again can either be a standard recipe, such as given in the vanilla cupcake link substituting vanilla extract for orange essence for a nice twist, or again the recipe given below.
So you will need: 12 cupcakes or however many you wish, enough buttercream for the number of cupcakes you wish to decorate, orange coloured sugarpaste (allow 80g per cupcake so 3 x 250g packets will comfortably decorate 12, probably more) a little brown sugarpaste or Matchmakers or a Cadbury’s flake for the pumpkin stalk. Orange, black and green coloured sugarpaste is currently available in supermarkets.
Equipment needs: small palette knife or flat knife, 10cm pastry cutter or similar, a paintbrush or something to make a small round indent.
1) peel the cake cases away from your cupcakes
2) coat the sides and top of the cupcake in soft buttercream with the palette or flat knife
3) roll out about 80g of orange sugarpaste so that it measures at least 20cm diameter
4) Flop the sugarpaste disc over the buttercreamed cupcake and using the pastry cutter trim the disc to 10cm diameter
5) Tuck all the edges round the bottom of the cupcake
6) Sit the cake upright and using the back of a knife, score the pumpkin ridges
7) Using the end of a paintbrush, make an indent on the top of the cake in the centre, and then insert either a little piece of Matchmaker or Cadbury’s Flake or if you have the ‘where with all’ a small piece of brown sugarpaste fashioned into a stalk.
8) Tah Dah!!! Made by 8, 12 and 42 year old bakers….
9) Alternatively you can buy stencils which can be used to create Halloween-y images, once you have iced your cupcakes in the conventional manner, with cinnamon or cocoa powder.
Pumpkin Flavoured Cupcakes
Tricky to get a good bake and a good flavour it seems. I’ve had trouble with the straight Hummingbird recipe (wouldn’t rise) and the flavour of others can be a bit too spicy. This recipe worked for us though, giving the right amount of spice and a rise on the cakes,
For 12 cupcakes: 140g Plain Flour, 1½ tsp Cinnamon, ¼ tsp Nutmeg, ¼ tsp Ginger, ¼ tsp Salt, 1 ½ tsp Baking Powder, ¼ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda, 55g Butter softened, 100g Caster Sugar, 2 ½ tbsp Soft Brown Sugar, 1 Egg, 80 ml Milk, 125g Pumpkin Puree (you can make it or buy it in Waitrose!)
Preheat the oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C and fill a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
Into a bowl combine the flour, spices, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate or soda. Stir together and set aside. In another bowl combine the sugars and the butter and beat together ( I would say until light and fluffy but there is so much sugar here I don’t think you will achieve light and fluffy). Add the egg and beat into the butter sugar mixture until smooth, add the milk and the pumpkin puree and beat until combined. At this point it will truly look like a horrible mess, just press on. Stir in the flour mixture lightly until just incorporated and then dollop the batter into the paper cases.
Bake for 25 minutes or so until brown on top and springy to the touch. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out.
Once cold coat with the buttercream.
Buttercream with Maple Syrup
90g Butter, softened, 270g Icing Sugar, 1 tbsp Milk, 3 tbsp Maple Syrup
Pop the butter and icing sugar in a bowl and beat together until combined. Add the milk and maple syrup and beat slowly until incorporated and then turn up the speed on the mixture and beat for 5 minutes or so until light and fluffy. It should be very soft to spread.
Alternatively you can use a classic cream cheese buttercream: 50g Butter, softened, 300g Icing Sugar, 125g Cream Cheese, cold. Beat together the butter and icing sugar until well combined and then add the cold cream cheese and beat on a medium speed until you have a soft fluffy icing, about 2 minutes. Do not beat as ferociously as the standard buttercream or for as long as the cheese cream will render the mixture runny and it won’t pipe or spread well.
Cut up the pumpkin flesh into chunks and pop in a roasting tin with some water in the bottom. Cover with foil and bake until tender on 180 – 200°C. Once cooked, drain any remaining water away and blend until smooth.