Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Commence the drooling. I discovered these treats last fall when I was perusing through one of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, so I decided to make them on a whim. They were a HUGE hit, I must have made them four times before the year's end.

Per usual, I made a couple of changes to the recipe to make it my own. I'm not a huge fan of nutmeg so I removed it from the recipe, I also decided to add caramel and chopped pecans.

These cupcakes are the perfect start to fall, not to mention the fact that they make the whole house smell like pumpkin deliciousness. 

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Yield: 12 Servings

1 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil

8 oz cream cheese
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups confectioner's sugar

1/4 cup caramel (optional)
1/8 cup pecans (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Mix them with a whisk until they're well combined. In another bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) combine the wet ingredients (eggs, pumpkin puree, white sugar, brown sugar, and canola oil). Mix them together until they're well combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix them together.

Place 12 cupcake liners into a muffin pan. Evenly spoon the batter into each liner, or until each one is 3/4 filled. Place the pan into the oven for 25-30 minutes or until you poke one with a fork and it comes out clean.

Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl soften the cream cheese and butter in the microwave for 20 seconds. Using a hand mixer, whip the cream cheese, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla together. Then slowly add the confectioner's sugar until the frosting is smooth. Finally, place the frosting into a ziplock bag and cut off the corner before frosting the cupcakes (it functions as a pastry bag).

When the cupcakes are completely cooled (no one wants melted frosting!), squeeze the frosting out onto each cupcake. Finally, drizzle the cupcakes with a bit of caramel and a few pecan pieces. Enjoy!