Tuesday, November 10, 2009
pumpkin brown butter cupcakes
I'm sorry if you're tired of pumpkin already. Actually I'm not. Because you'd be wrong. Pumpkin is awesome. You might think you're awesome, but pumpkin wins. So you have no right to be tired of it.
The story of this cupcake is a bit roundabout. It actually started off as a madeleine, which failed in shape but not in taste. So I decided to adapt it into a mini-cupcake, which was quite successful, and it made an appearance at brunch. For the brunch, I did it with two different frostings: regular cream cheese and caramel swiss meringue buttercream. The latter was a hit and inspired likenings to "crack". These are the minis:
So then, I had the can of pumpkin from the pumpkin pancakes. And it was a friend's birthday. It's a little like the book "If you give a mouse a cookie..." I decided to make the pumpkin cupcakes again. For some reason, I thought I'd be cool and tweak the recipe by adding more flour. I though the original one didn't have enough structure or something. Then, unintentionally, I measured my tablespoons of pumpkin with 1/2 tablespoons instead. So, the full-size pumpkin version turned out a little dry. They were only slightly saved by the innovation of a cinnamon brown sugar cream cheese frosting.
So here are my tips for this recipe:
1. Don't get too creative. It's already really awesome.
2. Don't mess up when you're doing it.
If you must break 1, at least do so while following 2. Here's the slightly dry crumb:
Pumpkin Brown Butter Cupcakes
makes about 15 mini cupcakes or 6 regular sized cupcakes
Note: I'm of the Martha Stewart cake baking camp. This means that cake to me is 1. cream butter and suger 2. add eggs 3. add flour and milk, alternating 4. bake. This recipe is completely different, and every time I worry it won't come together, which partly spurred my genius idea to add more flour. Don't. Don't be a hero. Just follow directions. It works, and it's beautifully simple. I'm at the front lines, taking the bullets for you. You're welcome.
1/4 cup butter, plus more for toasting pecans and greasing madeleine tin
2 large eggs
pinch of salt
1/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/3 cup + 1Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp cinammon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1 tsp. baking powder
4 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
1. Brown your butter by melting in a light colored saucepan. Butter will first melt, then froth, then go clear and slowly brown. Pour into a bowl to cool.
2. Sift flour, spices and baking powder. Set aside.
3. Beat eggs with a pinch of salt on high until pale and syrupy. If you have doubts, keep going. Slowly add the brown sugar. The mixture will have gained a lot of volume.
4. Slowly stir in flour. Then mix in pumpkin and brown butter.
5. Spoon into cupcake liners. Bake 10 minutes for minis, 15 minutes for regular sized cupcakes.
Cinnamon Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
So, if you don't feel like baking today, no big deal. Just make this frosting and eat it with a spoon. You might want to have the prenup signed first though.
1 package cream cheese (8 oz), at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar (or to taste)
1. Beat cream cheese alone until fluffly. Add butter, beat to combine.
2. With the mixer on low, add brown sugar and vanilla, beat to incorporate.
3. Continue beating while adding powdered sugar. Taste frosting to gauge desired sweetness. ("to gauge...")