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Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

The Challenge:


The second recipe this week was Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting, which you can find here, or on page 223 of Foolproof.


Lea’s Take:

Now this. This is my jam! Give me pumpkin spice anything and I will love it – except for pumpkin spice lattes, I just don’t get those. (Don’t cut me in my sleep.)

As I said in the last post, this was the first recipe I made Monday. In addition to the sweet potatoes, I was also remaking the Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken for dinner. [Mary: This makes me very happy.] It was well-received the first time around, but, this time, I made it with just chicken breasts. Anyway, that was three (3!) new(ish) things I was making in one evening. My kitchen was a wreck! But I was on a mission!

I love dessert. I am my father’s daughter and truly believe a meal isn’t over until I’ve had something sweet. Sometimes, I can get away with a handful of mini chocolate chips that we always seem to have in the fridge (Doesn’t everyone? No? [Mary: No.] Just us? OK.); most of the time, it’s a cookie or ice cream or whatever else we have in the house.

I would probably give up all other foods for dessert.

Although there are a lot of spices in these cupcakes, I, amazingly, had them all in my house! [Mary: I'm going to get you some good vanilla instead of that generic crap you're using.] I make Ginger Stars every Christmas and always have these ingredients in case I decide to make them another time of year (which, of course, I never do). As usual, I followed the recipe: mix wet ingredients (read: dirty one bowl); mix dry ingredients (read: dirty another bowl). Add dry to wet.

An interesting tip was to brush the cupcake pan with vegetable oil and then add the paper liners. What was that for? [Mary: I think it's so those little drips of batter that don't make it into the cupcake liner come off easily.] Just one more thing to clean.

Another thing that was weird is that Ina calls for just 10 paper liners. When the cupcake pan has 12 spots. So, guess what I did? Yeah, I made 12 cupcakes.

The best (best!) part of these cupcakes is the maple frosting. It’s basically a cream cheese frosting with the addition of (pure) maple syrup and confectioner’s sugar (I know what that is now), sifted.

Remember how I sifted last time at Mary’s? Well, look at me sifting this week! [Mary: Do you like the sifter better than a sieve? The sifter makes my hand cramp.] [Lea: I don't know. It took less time, that's all I care about. Cooking is painful.]

But, honestly, why the sifting? My guess is to avoid lumps, [Mary: Yes, lumps.] but guess what? I had lumps anyway.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I think she said 10 cupcakes because the frosting doesn’t make a lot. I mean, it was plenty for my 12 cupcakes, but maybe I didn’t put enough on?

Oh, and lied. The best (best! best!) part is the Heath Bar crunchies on at the end. Delish!


Mary's Take:

Question: What's the difference between a cupcake and a muffin? [Lea: This is a great question and one I asked myself because I kept calling it a muffin. I'm going with the frosting.] We debated about this the morning I made them. I mean, if it doesn't have the frosting, does that make it acceptable to eat for breakfast? [Lea: Is she seriously asking this? Of course, it is!] And if the frosting has cream cheese, isn't it like eating a bagel? Maple syrup? Sounds like a fine breakfast item to me. (I'd thank Bill Cosby for this rationalization, but, well, you know...)


My pics look a lot like Lea's. Dry goods in one bowl, wet in another. I won't bore you with them. I do grate my own nutmeg, though. [Lea: Of course you do.] Fresh nutmeg is said to be stronger than pre-ground, and it's fun to get out your rasp [Lea: And a rasp is...?] ...although since I grate it directly over the bowl, it's harder to measure. I just eyeballed the half teaspoon.

Canned pumpkin is in short supply this year, so hoard some if you see it. And if you can find the big can, use the leftover from this recipe in one of our favorite pumpkin soups. Make that this fall, too!


The Results:

Lea: Well, if you haven’t figured it out by now, these, to me, were great. And, according to the website recipe, this was an intermediate recipe. And I was able to do it – woo!

Josh: These are really good.

Mr. Good Eater: Wait, is this cream cheese frosting? Just give me plain vanilla!

Mr. Picky Pants (separately): Ugh. Cream cheese frosting.

Bob, our friend and neighbor: These are excellent.

What is wrong with these children?!

Mary: I was actually happy this recipe just makes 10 cupcakes...we'd never go through more. And I gave some to our Texas friends for their onboard snack and to our neighbor for dessert. All gave rave reviews. Despite it being breakfast-approved, I haven't tried them yet, but they sure are pretty to look at! [Lea: Man, your frosting looks waaay better than mine. I'm almost embarrassed.]


Lea's Bonus!

So, I wanted to share my second attempt at the Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken to see if I have learned anything.

What I did better:

  • Obviously, I didn’t hack away at a baby chicken. [Mary: Heeeee. And ew.]

  • I have learned how to easily remove thyme from the stem. Last time, I couldn’t figure out how to get all the leaves away from the stem, so I just sometimes chopped up the stem, too.

  • I also know how to remove a clove of garlic from its… shell? What is that papery stuff called anyway? [Mary: Hull?]

  • I did way better at zesting this time around, too.

  • I added parchment paper to the baking sheet. However, the juices seeped through, so I had to wash the sheet anyway. But I guess it was easier to clean.

What I still suck at:

  • Reading the recipe. I was supposed to add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper to the food processor and mince. Once minced, then I was to add the zest, panko, oil, and whatever. Well, I added the lemon zest to the first part. I’m not sure it made such a difference to the breading, but.. read. the. recipe.

The Results: I wasn’t smart enough to take a picture, but I thought it looked even more golden than last time. I also thought it needed more salt (again!), but Josh said it was great. Mr. Picky Pants wasn’t happy to have to eat it again, but he finished his meal. That’s a win in my book.

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4 Comments


Mary
Oct 13, 2020

Aw, Jan, lookatcha! Learning right along with Lea!


And Sandi, yours looked particularly together after 5 hours and one plane ride. Not to mention security! Yay!


And Heather, the homemade vanilla will be done in about a year. It'll be all set for baking night 2021! Salted maple frosting sounds great, btw. I'll take that recipe.

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hgaffney
Oct 13, 2020

Hmmm a new item for baking night? I made a salted maple frosting for my batch of pumpkin cookies...very yummy, but will have to try the Heath Bars next time...YUM!!! Mary bring over your homemade vanilla baking night...we may be making our own pumpkin as well!!

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jannymac1
Oct 13, 2020

These look delicious! I’m going to have to try them. I do love following you two! And Lea because of you, i zested my first lemon last week! 😂

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sandifrost
Oct 13, 2020

The cupcake was delicious!! It even tasted great five hours and one plane ride later! Good job girls! I want to make these on repeat during the Fall!

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