Anyone else so let down by the decline in the flavor of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte that you find yourself inserting pumpkin into all other possible places in your diet, just hoping to achieve something as glorious as the vintage 2009 Starbucks creation? I don't know what happened to the lattes, or if maybe I just got too old and thinking about things like what the flavor syrup is made out of in such a way as to ruin my own fun, but my last few Fall seasons have been deeply lacking an pumpkin confections.
I started making these cupcakes last year. They are a combination of delicious pumpkin cake and a spiced up version of the custard buttercream you find on Nanaimo bars. I learned about Nanaimo bars last year around this time after two amazing friends of mine sent me a package full of them. I rapidly set to work reading pretty much every Nanaimo related recipe on the internet and fiddling around with my own buttercream until I came up with something resembling the perfection that is Nanaimo bar cream. I then decided that, were I to add some fall spices, it would be the perfect compliment to my favorite pumpkin cake recipe. So, without further ado, I present to you my favorite fall treat!
(This cake recipe is adapted from the pumpkin bread recipe in the 1969 Betty Crocker cookbook featured in my sidebar)
(For a printable version of this recipe, click here)
Pumpkin Cupcakes (Yield ~2.5 dozen)
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 15oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cup four
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Spiced Custard Buttercream
1/2 c. butter, softened
3 tablespoons heavy cream (or half and half)
2 tablespoons custard powder*
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Step #1 - Preheat oven to 350* F.
Step #2 - Using an electric mixer, mix together the shortening, sugar, eggs, pumpkin, and water. You will have some lumps of shortening even after the rest the ingredients are well incorporated.
Step #3 - In a separate bowl, mist together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
Step #4 - Add, one cup at a time, the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Mix until smooth.
Step #5 - Fill cupcake papers 3/4 full with batter.
Step #6 - Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before icing.
For the icing....
Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add additional cream or powdered sugar to create desired consistency. If you are piping the icing into tall peaks like I did, you may want to double the recipe.
*This can be hard to find in the United States. I often find it in the imported foods section at my grocery store, or, around Halloween/Thanksgiving, Jell-o makes a custard flavored pudding. I stock up on this when it's on the shelves.