The “Bearcat”

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{Pumpkin Ginger with Cinnamon Cream Cheese icing}

I first made a version of this cupcake for my 10-year high school reunion, which is why it’s named after our mascot:

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It’s my favorite go-to in the fall, because the cake is moist, the spices give it a kick, and it’s not too heavy.

The pumpkin ginger cake itself is good enough to eat alone. It’s not quite a breakfast muffin; it’s softer and sweeter. No wonder it has such rave reviews on Allrecipes.com.

For those who question the ginger, go with it. It’s the thing that makes the cupcake more than just another pumpkin recipe. Target has a brand called Archer Farms that does crystallized ginger, already in chunks. You just need to chop that more finely.

The icing can be modified to your taste, of how much cinnamon you want to add. Some people do allspice instead. Experiment!

Yields 24 cupcakes.

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (3.4 oz) instant butterscotch pudding mix
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree

For the icing: 

  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

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Cupcake directions:

1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners.

3. Whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, cloves, and crystallized ginger in a bowl; set aside.

4. Beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color.

5. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next.

6. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin puree with the last egg.

7. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.

8. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

9. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

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Icing directions:

1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy.

2. Add the confectioners’  sugar, vanilla and cinnamon; beat until smooth.

3. Add more confectioners’ sugar if the consistency is not solid enough. Frost the cupcakes!

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