Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Icing & Caramel Drizzle

I still haven’t made up my mind what sinful dessert I’m going to make for Valentine’s Day. How could I?   Just punch “Valentine’s Day desserts” in Bing’s search engine and you will understand my dilemma.  How can you make a choice like that when nearly 117,000 images of delectable and beautifully decorated desserts fill the page?

So no, these delicious cupcakes are not  made with chocolate, strawberries, cherries, or meringue.  They are not red, pink, or a combination of those pretty colors.  They are not adorned with x’s and o’s, hearts, cupids, or their arrows.  But one thing they are? Scrumptious!

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Ingredients:

1/2 c. vegetable oil

2 eggs, room temperature

1 c. brown sugar

1/3 c. white sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. vanilla

15 oz. can pumpkin

3/4 c. milk

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

Topping:

2 c. vanilla buttercream icing, prepared

1/4 c. caramel sauce

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Instructions:

Makes 24 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake tins  with  cupcake papers.

In a large mixing bowl, add vegetable oil, sugars, eggs, and salt.  Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until everything is completely blended.  Add cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and vanilla; mix again. Lastly, add pumpkin, milk, and flour; mix thoroughly.

Fill cupcake papers about 2/3 full.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into center of cupcakes.

Completely cool cupcakes before frosting.  Frost with vanilla butter cream icing.  Let frosting firm up slightly before drizzling caramel sauce on top.

*Note –  it is normal for these cupcakes will settle slightly once removed from the oven.  This recipe produces a very moist and dense cupcake.

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Are you going to make your own Valentine’s Day dessert?  Or are you going to let your favorite bakery or restaurant do all the work for you?

Celebration and Giveway!!!

It has finally arrived!  The big day… My blog is officially one year old!  If you didn’t see it already, check out my post on the 20 things I’ve learned about food blogging over the past year.  You  might find something on the list you can relate to.To make this a real celebration,  King Arthur Flour  is sponsoring an awesome giveaway!  In my opinion,  KAF is the absolute best baking company.  I drool when I look through their catalogue, or surf their website.  I’d love about ten of everything they sell.  And, as many of you probably already know, the quality of their products are superior.  The fact that they are an employee owned company makes their company even better. So, what is the giveaway?  Drum roll please…. One lucky winner will receive the following fantastic prize package.
1 package of assorted swirl cupcake papers
1 box of deliciously simple chocolate cake mix
A package of 9 sparkling bright-colored sprinkles
King Arthur also sent me an identical package.   I absolutely love it!!  I haven’t made a boxed cake mix in forever, and I forgot just how easy it is.  I threw all the ingredients into a bowl, and mixed them with my electric mixer.  In less than 5 minutes I was done.  The batter smelled so rich and chocolaty that I could hardly wait for the cupcakes to finish baking.   The cupcakes (all 24 ) baked perfectly, and are so moist and DELICIOUS!  (Confession) I’ve ate way too many of them.    This is the cake mix of my dreams!

The assorted swirl wrappers so colorful.  I used each and every color.  They are made of a heavier grade of paper, and are imported from Sweden.  I noticed the heavier paper helped prevent unwanted movement when I was filling them with the batter.  And, the sprinkles are so bright and cheery – I guarantee you will use them for many celebrations to come.  I tried to decide which one was my favorite color and couldn’t.  They all are so eye-catching. 

I know the winner of this package will absolutely love it.  It’s practical,  super delicious, and FUN!

This giveaway is valid  for US residents only. You must have a valid US street address for shipping purposes.  Sorry PO boxes and  international friends!

To Enter:

1.  Link to the KING ARTHUR FLOUR and find something  you LOVE.  Then leave me a comment describing it.

2. For a second, third and/or fourth chances to win FOLLOW King Arthur on FacebookTwitter, and The Baking Circle community.

3. For additional chances to win, SUBSCRIBE to The Joy of Caking by Email, RSS, or Twitter.

Leave a separate comment for each activity that you complete.  You must do this to create extra entries.

The  contest will close on Sunday, March 27th, at 6PM Eastern Time. The winner will be selected by random drawing and will be notified on March 28th.  At that time, the winner will need to provide their address.

Thank you so much for helping make this a great celebration!  Please keep following, and watch for changes I’ll be making to my site as I roll into year number two.

Friday my blog turns one! But wait, there’s more.

Let’s celebrate!

Friday, my blog turns one, and it’s time to celebrate!! Follow along, because at the end of this post I’m going to let you in a little secret that has to do with my celebration.

I have been thinking about what a one year post should be say for a while now. Should it be serious? Or funny? Just to warn you, I sometimes have a warped sense of humor – yes, unfortunately it’s true. Should the post be festive? Or low-key? Long, or short? Showcase all of the goodies I’ve made? Or, should I create something entirely new and exciting?

The more I thought about it, the more I felt as if I had cornered myself into writing something like a commencement speech at a high school graduation ceremony. You know the kind I’m talking about. Where you share words of inspiration, promote enthusiasm, urge everyone to follow their dreams, and remind your peers they are about to embark on a wonderful journey. That didn’t fit, as most of you have already embarked on the journey of blogging.

My mind was digesting all of my ideas when it suddenly hit me like a lead balloon. I would share 20 things I’ve learned about food blogging over the last year. So, without further adieu, here they are in no particular order.

1. Foodies are passionate. But, so are people who raise chickens (right Molly?)

2. It’s the post that you don’t expect to get much traffic that sends your numbers to the moon.

3. The post you write that you think is super awesome, probably isn’t.

4. Your spouse is your biggest fan. Thank you! X0X0

5. Friends come and go at your blog, just like they do in the real world.

6. There are cliques in the foodie world. That’s life.

7. It takes a long time to learn Twitter lingo. By the way what is  #FF?

8. Not all advertisers will deliver what they promise. They know who they are.

9. If you bake something and it doesn’t turn out, it’s not the end of the world, it’s just the end of your next post.

10. When an editor of a well-known food magazine follows you on Twitter, it’s a HUGE compliment. When they tell you they were drawn in by your photo‘s, it’s even BIGGER.

11. You will grow as a baker/cook, writer and photographer.

12. You probably will never be as successful as Julia and/or Juliet but if you happen to hit it big – enjoy the ride! I’m still waiting for the ride…

13. If you bake/cook , blog, and sample frequently, you will gain weight. This I know…

14. Family and friends will love you for all the desserts you share – right down to the last bite.

15. Your oven/stove, camera, and computer are tools of the trade. Pray none of them break, because if they do, it will throw you off your game.

16. Blogging takes a lot of your time. Maybe, too much of your time.

17. You will get writers block, go into a funk, or become bored. It’s only temporary.

18. You will make friends from all over the world that you wouldn’t have made otherwise.

19. Without question, the BEST baking supply company in the world is KING ARTHUR FLOUR.

20. Food bloggers have the best giveaways.

Maybe these 20 things aren’t a one size fits all, but I’m sure you will relate to something on the list. Blogging has been a great adventure for me. When I started I was anxious, and felt as if I had walked out onto the edge of a diving board for the first time. I wondered should I turn around and retreat, or take the plunge. I took the plunge, and I’m sure glad I did.

With all that said, now comes the very best part. On Friday, I am having one heck of an awesome giveaway to celebrate. I promise you that you won’t want to miss it. And yes, there are clues in this post.

This could be a clue

Made from scratch

What inspired me to make this recipe?

 

Lemons … Not really.   

And, what did I make?   Holy cow!

A Vanilla cake with lemon curd filling, and lemon buttercream icing. 

A four layer cake!

There is little, that is  more beautiful (in the world of baking) than a huge layer cake with a delectable filling nestled between each and every layer.  When I see one of these cakes, I ogle…  The cake, and lemon curd recipe was adapted from Elinor Klivans cookbook Cupcakes!   The icing recipe was adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

If you’re looking for the recipe email, or tweet me.

The brown frozen banana

For years I would throw out over ripe bananas that I didn’t have time to use for baking.  Somewhere along the way,  I learned that you can actually freeze your over ripe bananas to use later on.  What a great piece of info, I loved it!  Ever since, I’ve been freezing my brown bananas for rainy days when I have the time to bake with them.

There is one thing I learned (the hard way) about freezing bananas. Thaw them completely before using them with any solid shortening.    

When I was making these banana cupcakes  my bananas were still slightly frozen (more than I realized) when I mashed and mixed them in with the softened butter the recipe called for.  Suddenly, my soft butter re-hardened  into bite sized chunks in the mixing bowl and wouldn’t mix completely into the batter.   When I poured the batter into the cupcake tins it was obvious this was going to create a problem during baking.  As soon as the cupcakes finished baking I removed them from their tins.  In the bottom, was the excess butter that hadn’t mixed into the batter. 

Fortunately, in this particular case the loss of excess butter didn’t dry the cupcakes out like I expected it to.  It may even have  done me a favor by reducing the fat content a little, but I will definitely pay closer attention when thawing bananas to use for baking from now on.

Here is the recipe (altered slightly) from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans

1 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 stick of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 c. sugar

2 medium bananas, broken into 1″ pieces ( I mashed)

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 c. buttermilk ( I used sour milk)

1 cup butterscotch chips (Eliminated)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 regular size muffin tin cups with liners. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl and set aside.  In large bowl, using mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until blended and creamy (about 2 minutes).  Add bananas.  Add eggs one at a time, and then vanilla.  Beat for 1 minute.  On low speed, add half the flour mixture, mix to incorporate and then add milk.  Mix in remaining flour and mix until batter is smooth.  Stir in butterscotch chips. 

Fill paper liner leaving 1/4 inch space at the top of each.  Bake until top feels firm and toothpick comes out clean.  Approx 25 minutes for regular size cupcakes (I never have to bake my cupcakes for that long so set your timer at 12 minutes and check them from there to be safe).   Cool for 10 minutes in pan on wire rack before removing ( unless you do what I did. In that case, remove immediately)

I didn’t frost these cupcakes because they were sweet enough for me.  Actually, without the frosting they tasted  very similar to banana bread.  So, good….

Double Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Double Peanut Butter Cupcakes

In appreciation for a favor a friend did for us I made his family a batch of these beauties.  I don’t ever remember having peanut butter cake before.  Anxious to try out a recipe I found for it I decided no time like the present.  The recipe came from a vintage cookbook copyrighted 1947 (Shown below).

The cake is moist with a light peanut buttery taste,.  The frosting recipe came from a former co-worker and I’ve used that many a time on chocolate cupcakes, and brownies.

If you would like either recipe please leave a comment with your email address and I’ll forward it your way.

Have a great weekend!