living the sweet life

Pumpkin Cupcakes with a Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

My friends and I are part of a book club and it’s the best. We get together once a month, talk about the book we read, chit chat for the rest of the night, all while stuffing our faces with delicious food. One month we had a bunch of different cheese and crackers and we ate all of it, and then last month we had pumpkin ravioli, pasta with mushrooms, spicy acorn squash soup, bruschetta, a few other things, and then these pumpkin cupcakes. They were one of my contributions. (Last month I made these baked pumpkin donuts)

I wish I had one (or two) of them right about now.

But unfortunately I don’t have any cupcakes nor do I have the appetite for them (shocker, I know). All I’ve eaten for the past 36 hours is saltines and white rice because I’ve been sick which is no fun at all. I’ve been watching an absurd amount of TV and movies on my computer. Thank god for Hulu and Netflix.

Last night was an animal themed as I watched a documentary called “Killer Whales” and then “The Whale” (both about orcas – my favorite whale in the world and one of my favorite animals) and then Flicka 3 (a horse movie). The first was just a typcical documentary but the second? “The Whale” was about this single whale that got separated from his pod when he was only 2 years old and he ended up befriending this little town in Canada. It basically follows this whale’s story with the town and it made me cry. He was super friendly and let people pet and play with him and I wish I was there for that. When I was younger, Free Willy was my favorite movie. I had the necklace that came with one of the VHS’s, I knew the chants to get the whale to come, and I used to pretend there was a whale in the lake in my backyard. Cool, I know.

And I love the kind of cheesy horse movies on Netflix because, let’s face it, I’m a horse person and will love nearly any horse movie regardless of the bad acting. But oh my god did that movie make me miss my horse back home. I haven’t seen Ashley in 9 months which is insane for me to think about. Thank god I’ll be home in a month for a week and intend on seeing her almost every day if I can.

Anyway, now that I’ve shared my dorky animal side, let’s talk about these cupcakes. There are so delicious and pumpkiny and moist. No threat of drying out and while the cupcakes are delicious, they’re really a vessel for a delicious frosting. The cream cheese frosting, slightly sweetened with some maple syrup, is delicious. I love the pumpkin and cream cheese combination SO much. It’s the best there is. So with a maple frosting AND a salted caramel drizzle? Well, after book club there were only these 2 cupcakes left for me to photograph the next day. I think it’s safe to say that these are a winner.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

makes 1 dozen cucpakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, and oil until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing until combined.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely and then frost.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8-oz block cream cheese
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth and well combined. Add the syrup and beat until incorporated. Add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until you have your desired frosting consistency.

[source: cupcake adapted from Sweetopia, frosting made by Confectionary Tales]

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