I posed the question: pumpkin and chocolate OR pumpkin and caramel? You said CARAMEL!
I positively LOVE pumpkin bread and I always use the recipe from my Joy of Cooking cookbook, it’s my favorite! This year, I needed a new way to enjoy pumpkin bread. Seriously, that’s how much I make pumpkin bread…the loaf style was getting stale (ha! no pun intended). I still used my go-to recipe, but tweaked it a TINY BIT to create CUPCAKES. Same moist, dense, flavor-filled bread in single size servings. You can even ditch the frosting, but if you’re going to be bad, be BAD!
I got serious baking tunnel vision, so I apologize ahead of time for the lake of “in progress” images.
– 1 1/2 cups flour
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1/4 tsp. baking powder
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1 tsp ground ginger
– 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
– 1/4 tsp ground cloves
– 1/3 cup milk
– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
– 6 tbls butter (softened)
– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 1/3 cup brown sugar
– 2 large eggs
– 1 cup pumpkin puree
– 1/2 cup granulated sugar
– 4 tbls water
– 1/2 cup heavy cream
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 24 tabs unsalted butter (3 sticks)
– 1 tsp salt
– 2 1/2 cup powdered sugar
…AND AWAY WE GO…
1. INGREDIENT PREP: First, we’re going to mix a bunch of stuff up separately only to mix it all together later. In one bowl whisk together your first set of dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves). In a separate, smaller bowl combine milk and vanilla. Set both of these bowls aside.
2. COMBINE: In a large bowl or in a mixer, beat together butter, sugar and brown sugar, until fluffy. Then, one at a time, add the eggs. Once eggs are combined, beat in pumpkin on low speed.
3. ADD: In 3 parts, add the flour and milk mixture; alternating between the two. Beat on low speed until completely incorporated.
4. POUR: Line your cupcake pan, I used parchment paper, and fill each liner with a couple of spoonfuls of batter.
BAKE: @ 350* for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free, then let cool.
SALTED CARAMEL FROSTING:
1. COOK: In a small saucepan, briefly stir together sugar and water and bring to a boil. Continue cooking on medium-high heat, without stirring, until the mixture turns DARK amber in color. About 7-8 minutes.
2. ADD: Remove sugar and water mixture from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture is completely smooth. Then set aside until it is cool to the touch. About 30 min.
3. COMBINE: In a mixer, combine butter and salt on medium-high speed until fluffy. Then, on low speed, add powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Once powdered sugar is combined, turn the mixer off, scrape down the sides and add the cooled caramel. To combine caramel, beat on medium-high for 2-3 minutes until airy and thoroughly mixed.
4. CHILL OUT: Cover the frosting and refrigerate for about 45 minutes.
PUT IT ALL TOGETHER: Once the cupcakes have cooled completely and the frosting has chilled, pipe (or spread) some of that sweet caramel goodness on top of those tiny little pumpkin breads, drizzle with a little extra caramel sauce (if you so desire) and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt!
…go ahead, take a bite!
OR MAYBE THIS: Use a cream cheese frosting as a base to add the caramel too. For some reason, I’m always a little hesitant when using a lot of butter (I don’t know why), so cream cheese would be just as yummy!
I know there’s a lot of writing here and it may look like a daunting task, but really, it’s no more difficult than baking your other favorite desserts.
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