Tag Archives: pumpkin

Pumpkin Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting for Halloween!

29 Oct

Halloween… what a fun holiday! I love seeing all the cute trick-or-treating kids and derive endless entertainment from dressing my dogs in costumes. They tend to get a little depressed when they’re dressed up, but hey, I only do it once a year 😉

But my dogs weren’t the only ones dressed up. Last night I hosted a Halloween costume party for students in my grad program. I went as Joan Holloway from Mad Men. I mostly just wanted to buy a 50s dress, hehe 🙂 And you know I couldn’t be a 50s wife without baking a dessert for a party!

I made my favorite cupcakes in the world, which I adapted from a pumpkin bar recipe by Paula Deen. And here’s a fact: mini cupcakes are at least 50 times better than regular sized cupcakes. Mini cupcakes have the best frosting to cake ratio, and are good when you need smaller snacks for parties.

The cupcakes are moist and have all the lovely cinnamon and nutmeg flavors of a pumpkin pie, and are paired perfectly with sweet creamy frosting on top. To make them halloweeny, I simply used decorative cupcake liners, added some green food coloring to the frosting, and topped them with black and orange sprinkles. Pretty cute, eh?

Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

(adapted from pumpkin bars recipe by Paula Deen)


For the cupcakes-

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting-

  • 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
  • Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy.
  • Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt ,and baking soda.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth.
  • Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled cupcakes.

Makes 72 mini cupcakes!


Top of the Muffin to You: Pumpkin Spice Muffin Tops

10 Apr

Everyone knows that the top of the muffin is the best part. There was even a Seinfeld  episode about it:

Elaine so eloquently stated that the muffin top is the best part because “it’s crunchy, it’s explosive, it’s where the muffin breaks free from the pan and sort of does its own thing.” So true, so true.

Her love for muffin tops inspired a colleague to start a bakery selling these treats, called “Top of the Muffin to You.” But there was only one problem: there was nothing to do with the stumps! The dump wouldn’t take them, and the shelter they tried donating them to received complaints from the homeless, enraged as they asked, “Where are the tops of these muffins??”

Now there’s a solution: baking just the muffin tops! I was so excited to try Bakerlady’s Pumpkin Spice Muffin Tops, and still more excited that they are guilt-free because they are made from applesauce and pumpkin. This prevents against the muffin tops actually giving you a muffin top 🙂

The muffin tops turned out great. They are moist and flavorful, with a delicious sweet glaze drizzled on top.

Technically Elaine wouldn’t approve, as she believes the whole muffin should be baked and the top should be popped off. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Muffin Tops (adapted from recipe by Bakerlady)


Muffin Tops-

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or use combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar (or use 3/4 cup each brown/white sugar)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of applesauce and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls. The size of each should be somewhere between what you would get from a medium sized cookie scoop (halfway between a melon baller and an ice cream scoop).
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool muffin tops.
  • For the glaze: Combine confectioners’ sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency. Drizzle muffin tops with a fork.

Makes approximately 30 muffin tops.