What's Baking: Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple-Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

 Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple-Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

What do you do when you have about a half-cup of pumpkin puree left over after making a batch of pumpkin pancakes? You make a dozen pumpkin spice cupcakes, of course! Or at least, that's what I do.

 Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple-Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

A friend of mine hosted a clothing swap on Sunday, and of course, trying on clothes requires a variety of snacks and plenty of wine. I decided freshly-baked cupcakes were in order, especially since I didn't have too many clothes to add to the pile because I had done a major closet cleanse a couple of months ago and donated all of my castoffs to Goodwill.

Somehow I managed to come home with more clothes than I came with. . .and we still managed to fill up several huge bags of clothing to donate to a local charity. And the cupcakes were a hit, although they had plenty of competition from treats others had brought including a freshly-baked pie, a pumpkin-chocolate chip bundt cake (yum), and savory snacks as well.

 Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple-Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

While this recipe calls for a relatively small amount of pumpkin puree, the cupcakes still pack quite a pumpkin-y punch, which is complemented by the requisite pumpkin pie spices including cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg.

And the frosting! I mustn't forget to mention the frosting. A classic cream cheese frosting gets an added oomph of flavor with the addition of pure maple syrup (always use the real stuff – you'll never go back) and bourbon. I literally had to restrain myself from licking the mixing bowl clean. Too much information? I apologize. But, really, it is that good.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple-Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting
(printer-friendly version)
makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs

For the frosting:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons bourbon

chopped pecans, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake tin with paper liners and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt.
3. Use an electric mixer with the beater attached to cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the pumpkin puree and vanilla and stir to combine. Then beat in each egg, one at a time.  Turn the mixer to low and stir in the flour mixture in several batches. Continue stirring until fully incorporated.
4. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 cupcake cups. Bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
5. While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting. Add the softened butter and cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until well-combined and light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the sifted powdered sugar. Then add the vanilla, maple syrup, and bourbon and beat until thoroughly combined. If the frosting seems too soft, refrigerate for 15 minutes before using. Frost the cupcakes and garnish with chopped pecans. 

 Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple-Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting