Baker’s Delight: Pumpkin Cupcakes

My husband’s favorite cake is pumpkin spice and so it is an annual tradition for his October birthday. This year, I decided to switch it up and develop a new recipe. I think we might have a new favorite! Instead of a cake, I made cupcakes (adapting a recipe from allrecipes.com) and filled them with a maple cream and then frosted them with a cinnamon maple buttercream. I considered just making a cinnamon frosting but when I tasted it, I thought the maple syrup would be a good element to add…and it was. These take a little bit of time and effort but they are worth it!

PUMPKIN CUPCAKES w/Maple Cream Filling & Cinnamon Maple Buttercream Frosting
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2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tb. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. white sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. milk
1 c. pumpkin puree

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Combine together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

Beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Stir in the milk and pumpkin puree after the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Divide the batter into the prepared muffin cups (I use an ice cream scoop).

Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20- 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack. While still a little warm gently hollow out a portion in the center of each cake (I used a cylinder to remove the centers).

While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, make the filling and frosting (recipes below). Once the cupcakes are cool, fill with the maple cream and frost.

FILLING

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 Tb.  pure maple syrup, divided
1/3 c. heavy whipping cream

Using an electric mixer, mix the cream until light and fluffy. Add 2 Tb. maple syrup. In a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add 1 Tb. maple syrup and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the maple whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Chill until ready to fill.

FROSTING

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tb. pure maple syrup
4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. milk (may need a little more)
pinch of salt

Cream butter, vanilla, and maple syrup until light an fluffy. Add sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add milk until desired consistency is reached.

Off The Shelf: September Magazines

**Just a reminder that we are planning to try another edition of Foodie Fridays tomorrow! Hopefully we will get some participants! It’s a great opportunity to share your cooking adventures, best recipes, and more with fellow home cooks and foodies!**

Everyday FOOD — (Heather) This is a very seasonal issue, filled with late summer, early autumn food. The spread on tomatoes is beautiful, and the six fresh recipes all look amazing. The Cuban Dinner feature looks delicious, and not too hard to put together.

The Gnocchi dishes made me wish I wasn’t eating gluten-free just now (I wonder if I could substitute gluten-free flour blend??). A clever article on new ways for muffin tins features deep-dish pizzas, toast cups, mushroom tartlets, eggplant pies, and tortilla cups with fruit.

There is a helpful article on freezing summer produce, and then recipes to use your frozen produce in. And, there is a bake sale article filled with sumptuous baked goodies. Scattered throughout the magazine are one-pot dishes, side dishes and weeknight dinners. Definitely a great issue!

I chose to try the tomatoes with eggs baked inside. It was perfect for a light supper on Sunday evening, or if you’ve had a large lunch earlier in the day.

BAKED EGGS IN TOMATOES
(Everyday FOOD, Sept. 2010)

4 large beefsteak tomatoes
coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
4 large eggs
2 tsp. snipped fresh chives
1/4 cup grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese (1/4 ounce)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch baking dish or pie plate with parchment. With a serrated knife, cut off the top 1/2 inch from each tomato. With a spoon or a melon baller, gently remove seeds and inner membrane, being careful not to break through flesh of tomato. Place tomatoes in dish and season with salt and pepper.

Divide corn among tomatoes. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and chives and season with salt and pepper. Divide egg mixture among tomatoes and top with cheese. Bake until egg mixture is set, 45 to 50 minutes. Serve warm.

Serves 4.

Better Homes & Gardens(Alaina) This issue has some really great looking recipes. I like that BHG includes all kinds of things around your home – organizing, cooking, gardening, decorating and more. It highlights some wonderful recipes including Donuts, Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Stew,  Mushroom and Poblano Vegetarian Enchiladas, and Buttered Apples in Maple Syrup Custard.

I made the Rustic Swiss Chard & Mozarella Tart. It was delicious and most of my family really liked it. The crust was amazing and I’m imagining all the wonderful combinations I could put inside of it. Sometimes getting my family to eat greens (which are incredibly nutritious) is challenging and I think this recipe is a great way to incorporate them into our diet!

RUSTIC SWISS CHARD & MOZARELLA TART
(Better Homes & Gardens, September issue)
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1  recipe  Pastry, recipe below
1  bunch  Swiss chard, washed and chopped (about 5 cups)
1  cup  chopped leeks (I actually substituted sweet onions since I didn’t have any leeks on hand)
4  cloves  garlic, minced
1/4  tsp.  dried thyme, crushed
1  Tbsp.  olive oil
3/4  cup  shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley (optional)

Prepare Pastry, below. Wrap and refrigerate (up to 1 hour) while preparing filling.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. For filling, in a large skillet cook chard, leeks, garlic, thyme, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper in hot oil over medium heat for 4 minutes or until chard wilts and leeks are tender. Cool slightly. Stir in cheese; set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry to a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a parchment-lined greased baking sheet. Spoon filling into center of the pastry circle, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold dough over filling, leaving center open and pleating edges of dough. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until golden. Serve hot. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 4 main-dish or 8 appetizer servings

Pastry: In a large bowl combine 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cut up 1/2 cup cold butter; cut into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine 1/4 cup ice-cold water, 1/4 cup sour cream, and 2 tsp. lemon juice. Add half the sour cream mixture to flour mixture; toss with a fork. Add remaining sour cream mixture; toss with fork until mixture is moistened. Form into a ball.

Cooking Light(Alaina)  This issue is packed with healthy, easy recipes. It’s perfect for the home cook. It includes a list of the Top 20 ingredients to have on hand for quick cooking. And it has a section on cooking with your pressure cooker (I have yet to get one but they look awesome!). I think the October issue of Cooking Light will be a bit more fall-ish but this is a great magazine overall!

I made the cover dish – Maple-Glazed Salmon. It was wonderful – the dry rub really masked the fish-y-ness and gave great flavor! The kids liked this better than the last time I made salmon. I will definitely make this again. It’s also a quick recipe – 20-30 minutes from start to finish.

MAPLE-GLAZED SALMON
(Cooking Light, September 2010)
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1  teaspoon  paprika
1/2  teaspoon  chili powder
1/2  teaspoon  ground ancho chile powder
1/4  teaspoon  ground cumin
1/4  teaspoon  brown sugar
1  teaspoon  kosher salt
4  (6-ounce) Alaskan salmon fillets
Cooking spray
2  tablespoons  maple syrup

Preheat broiler.

Combine first 6 ingredients; rub spice mixture evenly over flesh side of fillets. Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 6 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Brush fillets evenly with syrup; broil 1 minute.

Weekend Fare: Raspberry Crumb Coffee Cake w/Maple Frosting

This coffee cake is so delicious and goes along with the raspberries for this week. The combination of raspberry, cinnamon, vanilla, and maple is scrumptious. What a perfect recipe for weekend brunch, overnight company, or just because. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

RASPBERRY CRUMB COFFEE CAKE w/ MAPLE FROSTING
(adapted slightly from Emeril Lagasse)
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1 teaspoon butter
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 stick plus 4 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease an 11 by 7 by 2-inch rectangular pan with the teaspoon of butter. In a saucepan, combine the raspberries, 1/2 cup of the sugar and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the mixture for 3 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the water and cornstarch together. Stir the slurry into the fruit mixture. Cook and stir the mixture for 4 minutes. Remove the pan and cool completely.

 In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream 8 tablespoons of butter and remaining 1 cup of the sugar. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. In a small mixing bowl, sift 3 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternately to the butter mixture. Mix thoroughly. Mix in the vanilla.

 In a small bowl, combine the remaining butter, remaining flour and brown sugar together. Using your hands, combine the mixture until it resembles a fine crumb-like consistency. Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spread the fruit mixture over the batter. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the remaining batter over the fruit mixture, about 1-inch apart. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the entire pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

 In a mixing bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, maple syrup and milk together. Set aside. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before drizzling glaze over top. Cut into slices and serve warm.