I have created monsters. Friendly monsters, but monsters nonetheless.
You see, I take full advantage of all my friends’ and family members’ birthdays to whip up special treats and cakes. Because if I whip up a batch of cupcakes, just on a whim, then I will eat the entire said batch of cupcakes, just because they are there. So I have to share my creations and get them out of the house.
Well our dearest ‘couple’ friends, have birthdays just a month apart. When our friend C’s (the husband) birthday rolled around back in August, it was just days before we were embarking on a 14 hour (each way) road trip. I was stressed for time to get ready to go and didn’t have time to whip anything up. I felt really bad.
Then a month later, when A’s (the wife) birthday rolled around, while life was still busy, I wasn’t headed out of town just a few days later and took time to whip up these Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting.
I felt bad again, knowing I was going to show up with a birthday treat for her when I hadn’t made C anything. I was just hoping that no one noticed.
Since we are such good friends (read: not afraid to tell each other like it is), they totally called me out for not making C anything on his birthday! After so many years that had come to expect my birthday treats and were really disappointed when I didn’t show up cake in hand to his birthday celebration!
But I really do love making baked goods for my friends (and will never miss a birthday again)!
These Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting totally turned out just how I wanted. The pumpkin cupcakes were soft, fluffy and moist with a perfect blend of those warm, spiced pumpkin flavors. The frosting is rich and caramelly and looks totally like melted caramel on top!
Because the caramel frosting is ‘soft’ and will soften more after sitting at room temperature, it is best to frost the cake/cupcakes right before serving. Depending on the humidity and the temperature, the frosting may melt, so refrigerate any left over frosted cake. These Pumpkin Cupcakes would also taste delish with this Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting. And this Caramel Frosting would also be out of this world on these Apple Spice Cupcakes.
- Pumpkin Cupcakes:
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- ½ cup sour cream
- Caramel Frosting:
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream, half and half cream or whole milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 to 4½ cups confectioners sugar
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- For Pumpkin Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with muffin liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, beat together sugars and oil. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla, pumpkin puree and sour cream. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients; mixing at low speed until well blended.
- Spoon cupcake batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool completely and frost with Caramel Frosting right before serving. Top with chopped pecans, if desired. Serve immediately. Store frosted leftover cake/cupcakes in refrigerator.
- For Caramel Frosting: In a medium-sized saucepan, heat brown sugar and cream over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and melted. Remove from heat and strain into a large bowl.
- Stir butter into warm brown sugar and cream mixture, stirring until melted and fully incorporated. Stir in vanilla and salt.
- Using an electric mixer, beat brown sugar mixture for 1-2 minutes. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar, half a cup at a time. Continue adding and mixing confectioners sugar until desired consistency is reached (you will want the frosting to be stiff as it will soften as it sits at room temperature) If too stiff add additional cream if needed.
Because the caramel frosting is 'soft' and will soften more after sitting at room temperature, it is best to frost the cake/cupcakes right before serving. Depending on the humidity and the temperature, the frosting may melt, so refrigerate any left over frosted cupcakes. For best results, make frosting slightly 'stiffer' (by adding more confectioners sugar) than you think it should be, as it will soften as it sits at room temperature.
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