Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

Automne 2011
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food and drink

BY: Heather Trim

Chinese five-spice powder adds another dimension to pumpkin, as it is a blend of traditional spices such as cinnamon and ginger along with fennel, pepper and star anise, to name a few. The brown sugar frosting will not be super-smooth as brown sugar has some texture (but it is delicious!). You could also substitute icing sugar (though you may need a bit more) if you want a traditional cream cheese icing.

1¾ cups (425 mL) all-purpose flour
1½ tsp (7 mL) Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) canned unsweetened pure pumpkin
½ cup (125 mL) milk

FROSTING
¼ cup (60 mL) each cream cheese and unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (125 mL) brown sugar
1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) dark rum or vanilla
Pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)

1 Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

2 Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners. In a small bowl, whisk flour with Chinese five spice, baking soda and salt.

3 In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar until very creamy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, scraping down sides if needed. Beat in pumpkin (don’t worry if it curdles a bit). Then stir in flour mixture alternately with milk just until blended. Divide among liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Set aside on a rack to cool.

4 Meanwhile prepare frosting. Beat cream cheese with butter until very creamy. Add brown sugar and beat until creamy. Then add icing sugar and rum, beating until light and fluffy.

5 If piping frosting, start piping about ½-inch (1-cm) in from rim of cupcake. If spreading, use 1 heaping tbsp (15-plus mL) per cupcake. Sprinkle with a few pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Makes 12