Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve got to say it: I don’t like Pumpkin Spice, the flavor. Doesn’t matter if it’s in a latte, a candy bar, ice cream… I tend to stay away.

But pumpkin, spiced? Now that’s a flavor. It all comes down to ingredients, and where the “spice” is coming from. When you take actual pumpkin and punch it up with spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, you get magic. When you dilute it all down to some Pumpkin Spice syrup, you really just get the sugar.

The Pumpkin Spice Cupcake recipe I’m sharing today adds buttermilk into the mix for even more flavor. It’s a smart move, giving the cake more depth than pumpkin could contribute on its own.

IMG_0387You’ll top these cupcakes with a simple-but-awesome Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. You could omit the cinnamon if you want something simpler, but I highly recommend keeping it in there. It’s the perfect complement to the spiced cupcakes and makes for an all around awesome treat.

This recipe means serious spice business, so make sure you have everything on hand before you start. It’s a good amount of measuring small bits of spices, but I promise it’s worth it! I turned a bundt cake recipe into cupcakes since I don’t own a bundt pan. If you’re interested in other sizes, check out the reader comments on Cozycakes Cottage.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Original recipe: Cozycakes Cottage. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.

Yield: ~26 cupcakes

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~2 hours

Cook Time: ~18 minutes

Ingredients

For your cake

  • 2 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tps baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/3 cups canned pumpkin (you’ll need one 15 oz can)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I used dried buttermilk. If you do the same, follow the instructions on your can!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs

For your frosting 

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk

Instructions

Make your cake batter 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Mix your flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt in a large mixing bowl, then set it aside. If you’re using dried buttermilk, mix that in too.
  3. Mix your pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl. If you’re using dried buttermilk, make sure to add water at this step!
  4. Use your mixer to beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until they’re fluffy. It’ll take a few minutes.
  5. Add your eggs, and beat until they’re totally incorporated.
  6. Turn the mixer speed down to low. Add your flour and pumpkin mixtures in there, alternating between the two until you’re out of both. Make sure everything is mixed together before moving on—sometime dry ingredients hide in clumps at the bottom of batter!
  7. Line your cupcake tin, and fill each tin about 2/3 of the way full.
  8. Bake 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Mine took exactly 18 minutes.
  9. Let the cupcakes cool in their tins for about 10 minutes, then remove and cool all the way on a wire rack. Make sure they’re completely cooled before you frost them!

Frost your cupcakes

  1. Use your mixer to beat the butter and cream cheese until they’re fluffy. It’ll take a couple minutes on medium speed.
  2. Add your vanilla and cinnamon, and beat again.
  3. Lower the speed, and gradually add your powdered sugar. Mix until it’s smooth and fully combined.
  4. Add the milk, and mix again.
  5. Frost your cupcakes, and enjoy!

 

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Pumpkin Banana Bread

I try to avoid buying produce at Trader Joe’s because I’ve noticed it goes bad really quickly. And when you’re cooking for one person, you really need produce to last more than a couple days.

One notable exception: bananas. Yes, they also go bad pretty quickly. But an overripe banana isn’t waste: it’s a baking opportunity. So now I buy TJ’s bananas planning to bake with whatever goes super brown.

img_5972.jpgThis time, it was Pumpkin Banana Bread. This bread is incredibly flavorful with hints of both banana and pumpkin pie spice. It’s also super moist, because pumpkin and banana are both texture boosters. You add a nice crumble on top, and get a layered bread that’s the ultimate breakfast booster. Or afternoon booster. Or whenever else you like to eat your treats….no judgement here.

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Original recipe: Cookies and Cups. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary. 

Yield: 1 9×5 loaf

Total Time: ~2 hours. A lot of that is baking time vs. prep!

Cook Time: ~70 minutes

Ingredients

Bread 

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I make my own with this recipe)
  • 2 cups flour

Crumble topping 

  • 1/4 cup butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (can sub in light if it’s all you’ve got)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

Make your bread 

  1. Preheat your oven to 300F
  2. In a large bowl, mix your sugar and oil
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla, then mix until it’s all smooth
  4. Add your mashed banana, pumpkin, baking soda, salt and pumpkin spice. Stir until it’s combined. I used a wooden spoon for this step
  5. Fold in your flour. Mix so you can’t see any traces of flour, then stop—you don’t want to overmix!
  6. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray, then line it with parchment. I tend to leave extra parchment hanging over the sides so it’s easier to remove the bread from the pan. It still might be sort of hard, but this makes it easier!
  7. Pour batter into the pan

Make your crumble and bake the bread 

  1. Grab a medium bowl, and add your butter, brown sugar, flour and pumpkin pie spice
  2. Use a fork or your hands to mix the ingredients together. You want to mix until a coarse crumb forms. I found it much easier with my hands!
  3. Sprinkle your topping over the loaf batter
  4. Bake for 65-85 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Don’t assume the bread is done just because the topping starts to brown—it might still be undercooked in the center. If you need to bake the bread longer and you’re worried about burning the top, use a foil “tent” to cover the top.
  5. Put the pan on a cooling rack, and leave it there for 20 minutes. Then, remove the bread from the pan, and put it on a wire rack to finish cooling

This bread kept well. I think it tasted even better on day 2, and still tasted great on day 3!

 

10 Pumpkin Recipes for Fall

Growing up in southern California, I was a bit disconnected from this whole “pumpkin season” thing. Fall certainly brought pumpkin carving, and a trip to the local “pumpkin patch.” But…our pumpkin patch was just a straw-covered section of a mall parking lot. It wasn’t exactly the experience you get at an actual pumpkin farm.

My pumpkin patch experience got a serious upgrade in college. I started going to the Fall Harvest at the Kirkwood Farmer’s Market. Kirkwood is a small-ish suburb that’s part of St. Louis County. It was only a 20-minute drive from my college dorm, but felt like worlds away. It was always a nice reprieve from college life….small town vibes, fresh food, friendly vendors. I often invited friends, but sometimes I’d just go alone and unwind.

The market is great year-round, but fall is especially fun. I’d walk around sampling all the ciders and pumpkin treats and apple pies…and I got totally hooked on fall flavors. So thanks, Kirkwood, for helping me discover my love of all things fall. This list of pumpkin recipes is dedicated to you.

Here are the pumpkin recipes I’m most excited to try this year, and some old favorites:

 

pull-apart-nutella-filled-pumpkin-bread-roxanashomebaking-4

Nutella Bread from A Treats Affair

 Pull Apart Nutella Filled Pumpkin Bread: Just reading this recipe name makes me hungry. I love surprise pockets of Nutella, so there’s no doubt I’d devour this bread.

 

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake: This recipe is especially appropriate given my ode to St. Louis. Gooey butter cake is a St. Louis gem. I’ve made it with Biscoff…now it’s pumpkin’s turn!

pumpkin-chai-snickerdoodles-1-1

Snickerdoodles from Half Baked Harvest

Pumpkin Gingerbread Coffee Cake: I’ve made pumpkin gingerbread before, and the flavor combo turned out great. This kicks it up a notch with the streusel topping.

Pumpkin Chai Snickerdoodles: I had planned to make this recipe last year, but never got around to it. Hope to make it happen this year!

Soft Batched Frosted Pumpkin Cookies: These are pretty simple compared to some of my other picks, but sound incredibly satisfying. Cakey pumpkin cookies are my favorite, and I bet they’re awesome frosted.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice: Did you know it’s super easy to make your own pumpkin pie spice? I make a batch every year  instead of buying it. I like controlling the spice levels, and this is my go-to!

Pumpkin recipes already on this blog:  

Craving more fall flavors? Check out last year’s pumpkin roundup, or my fall recipes Pinterest board.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Chippers

This easy recipe puts a pumpkin spice twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie. The recipe calls for a rather standard list of ingredients–with one very important, very notable exception. What’s that, you say? Why, Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter of course.

I’m obsessed with Trader Joe’s pumpkin-flavored cookie butter because it combines so many wonderful things: nutmeg, pumpkin and little bits of cookie, to name a few. In this recipe, the cookie butter gets mixed right into your cookie dough. It adds a really satisfying complexity with nuanced flavors.This is a pretty cakey chocolate chip cookie, so the insides are soft and delightful. Like most things “pumpkin spice,” you’ll taste the cookie butter’s spice mix more than its pumpkin.

img_2396I’ve baked up many cookie butter recipes in the last couple years, from Cookie Butter-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies to Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Blondies. I’ll take cookie butter any way you want to serve it… but I definitely prefer using it in base doughs rather than using it as a filling. It’s an easy way to amp up the flavor in simple recipes!

For these Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Chippers, I started with a recipe for Biscoff cookies, and simply swapped in the seasonal cookie butter flavor. I bet these would be delicious with standard cookie butter, too! You could try that same trick with other cookie butter recipes, like these Cookie Butter Bars with Nutella Swirls.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Chippers

Original recipe: Sally’s Baking Addiction, with a cookie butter flavor swap. I’ve written things a bit and added commentary, too. 

Yield: 20 cookies 

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: 45 minutes for the recipe, total of 4 hours including chill time 

Cook Time: 9 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (you can swap in dark if you need to)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Step by Step Directions

Make your dough 

  1. Use your mixer to beat the butter for a minute on medium speed until it’s smooth and creamy
  2. Add your granulated sugar and brown sugar, then beat the mixture on medium-high until it’s fluffy and light in color
  3. Beat in the egg, extra egg yolk and vanilla on high speed
  4. Beat in the cookie butter until your entire mixture is completely combined
  5. Use a separate bowl to whisk the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt until combined
  6. Turn your mixer to low speed, then slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients
  7. Switch the mixer to high speed to beat in your chocolate chips
  8. Cover your dough tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and chill for at least 3 hours, and up to 3 days. Chilling gives the dough great flavor, so don’t skip this step. You can also freeze dough balls if you want to bake the cookies later on

Bake your cookies 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Let your dough sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes so it’s easier to scoop into balls
  3. Start scooping doughs of ball onto your lined baking sheets
  4. Bake the cookies 9-10 minutes (mine took 9 minutes on the dot!). They’ll look pretty undone in the centers and really soft-but they’ll finish firming up as they cool, so don’t worry about it!
  5. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on their baking sheets, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely

These will keep for up to a week if you store them in a covered container, or in your fridge.

 

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Cocoa Swirls

Look: I know this name is a mouthful. I tried to edit it down, but nothing felt right. I considered “Pumpkin Cookie Butter Swirls” and “Pumpkin Cocoa Swirls,” among many others. Thing is, those shorter names shortchange the delightful flavor combo you get when you bite into one of these cookies. The ginger notes of cookie butter, the distinct taste of pumpkin pie spice, the richness of dark cocoa. These cookies deserve every last descriptive word in their title.

I discovered Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter at Trader Joe’s last year, and knew I had to bake with it. I took a favorite cookie butter recipe, and swapped the Pumpkin Pie Spice flavor in for standard cookie butterPumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Blondies were born! Soon I regretted buying only one jar of the limited edition flavor. When I went back to Trader Joe’s to buy more, the jars were sold out! I learned my lesson: this year, I snagged multiple jars the minute I saw them on shelf.

img_2193First experiment of 2016: these delicious, swirly, multi-flavored cookies. I used the same “swap-in” method as last year, and looked for interesting cookie butter recipes. I love that these Chocolate Biscoff Swirl Cookies from Inside Bru Cru Life combine two types of dough. It’s actually a really easy recipe, because you simply add cocoa to a portion of the dough to get your chocolate swirls. The cookie butter adds such a lovely flavor to the base dough, with an extra hint of spice beyond the usual cookie butter. Since you use the base dough for the chocolate swirls, that part has cookie butter in it too. So the chocolate swirls are actually more like a cocoa/pumpkin/cookie butter situation.

Now do you see why these cookies deserve all the words in their name?!

I still have a bunch of cookie butter left, so you’ll definitely see more recipes in the coming weeks. I highly encourage you to experiment with the stuff on your own, too. Let me know if you discover any winning recipes or flavor combos!

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Cocoa Swirls

Original recipe: Inside Bru Cru Life. I swapped the cookie butter flavor but otherwise it’s the same recipe. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary. 

Yield: 16-20 cookies 

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: 1 hour 

Cook Time: ~8 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter. I’ve only seen this at Trader Joe’s but if you find another brand, go for it!
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 cups flour, divided (that means you will use 1 cup at one point in the recipe, then 1/4 cup later on) 
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder (definitely get dark cocoa because it amps up the flavor!)
  • 1 tsp milk (I always use whole milk in baking) 
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Step by Step Directions

Prep your dough 

  1. Use your mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla
  2. Add your egg and cookie butter, then beat the whole mixture together
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the salt, baking soda, 1 cup of the flour and cornstarch in a separate bowl
  4. With your mixer on low, add your dry ingredients to the creamed mixture
  5. Scoop out 1 cup of cookie dough and set it aside. This is now your “cocoa dough”
  6. Add your extra 1/4 cup flour to the dough remaining in your mixer bowl. This is now your “base dough”
  7. Roll the base dough into even-sized balls. The original recipe says to make 20 balls. I only got 16, but it all depends on the size you make! Place the balls on a cookie sheet or plate and stick it in the fridge to chill
  8. Go back to your cocoa dough. Add in the cocoa and milk, and stir it together
  9. Mix your chocolate chips into the cocoa dough
  10. Now, roll the cocoa dough into balls and set them in the fridge, too. You’ll want to count out the same number of dough balls for both the base and cocoa doughs since you’ll end up smushing them together
  11. Let the dough balls chill for at least 30 minutes so the dough doesn’t spread

Bake your cookies 

  1. Preheat your oven to 375F
  2. Take one ball of base dough and one ball of cocoa dough, then smush them together (see the pics for reference!). Roll the dough back into a ball and place it on your prepared cookie sheet
  3. Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes. They should look set around the edges, but slightly undone in the middle
  4. Let them sit on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then move the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely
  5. Store these in an airtight container. Mine only made it 24 hours but they tasted great the next day!

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Blondies

The minute I saw Trader Joe’s was selling Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter, I knew I had to bake with it. Cookie Butter has been on a rapid ascent to U.S. popularity over these last couple years, particularly within the crowd that shops at Trader Joe’s. It’s actually not a Trader Joe’s invention: abroad it’s known as “speculoos” and it’s been popular for quite some time. It’s also been sold as Biscoff spread here in the States. But Trader Joe’s definitely gets credit for making cookie butter accessible to more Americans- and for that, I salute them.

Once I had a jar of Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter in my 20151031_191932hands, I had an important decision to make. Should I put it into a cookie dough, adding that flavor into the cookie base itself? Or should I stuff it into chocolate chip cookies, like I did with regular cookie butter earlier this year? The answer was clear: I wanted to see what flavor the cookie butter would impart to dough itself. So I turned to my trusted Cookie Butter Blondie recipe from Confessions of a Baking Queen. I’ve made this recipe with regular cookie butter, to great results. I had my winner.

IMG_2754.jpgI followed Elizabeth’s original recipe, only swapping in the new variety of cookie butter. It turns out that putting Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter in her recipe is a really, really delicious choice. The flavored spread added a nice touch of pumpkin, along with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Yes, that’s right- unlike many “pumpkin spice” products, this spread does have pumpkin, along with all the spices usually included in “pumpkin spice.” So you get hints of allspice and cloves, pumpkin, plus the gingery taste of the typical cookie butter ingredients. Add that to a blondie base with chocolate chips- and I think you’ll understand why my friends were excited to see these appear at a Halloween party. Another important note about these blondies: they were the first thing I baked in my new apartment’s oven. Monumental, right?!

I plan to make these again very soon, probably to share with coworkers. Trader Joe’s actually sold out of the spread at the store closest to me, and the worker told me they probably won’t restock. So, dear readers, I encourage you to go out right now and seize the day- and seize some Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter, too.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Blondies

Source: Confessions of a Baking Queen, with just a flavor swap 

Yield: One 9×9 pan of blondies (roughly 20 blondies, depending on how you cut) 

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~45 minutes 

Cook Time: ~25 minutes 

I broke the original recipe into a few more detailed steps and wrote my own commentary below. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, at room temp.
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter (if you can’t find any, I implore you to still make this with regular cookie butter!)
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips/ chocolate chunks
  • Sea salt for garnish

Directions

Get prepped to bake 

  1. Melt your butter
  2. Line a 9×9 inch pan with foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 350F

Make your dough 

  1. Once the butter is cooled, combine it in the mixer with sugar, brown sugar and vanilla
  2. Then, add in the egg and mix until incorporated
  3. Mix in the cookie butter, and set the bowl aside
  4. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt
  5. Add the dry ingredients (flour etc.) into the wet ingredients (butter etc.) and mix
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips (I always do this part by hand so I don’t over-mix the dough) 
  7. Spread the dough into your prepared pan, trying to make it even on top
  8. Sprinkle sea salt lightly over the top of your dough. Just a sprinkle does the trick, you don’t want the entire top covered in salt!

Bake your blondies 

  1. Bake for ~22-27 minutes, depending on your oven. Mine took a little longer so I ended up leaving it in around 25 minutes
  2. Let cool for 30 minutes in the actual pan, then use the foil to remove the blondies from your pan