PUMPKIN ALL THE THINGS!!!
I’m not a PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) crazed person. If you live in the United States or Canada chances are you’ve encountered this nutty behavior among the fall enthusiasts that seems to begin around July. I think many people actually line up at Starbucks starting in July so they can be first in line for a PSL when it debuts. Like camping out with blankets, tents, and folding chairs and everything. Some even put on leg warmers and hand-knit infinity scarves to really feel the season. (Not me, though. I haven’t worn leg warmers since the ’80’s.) Are you picturing it? Ok. Mild exaggeration. But that is the power of this fall time of year. We wish away the summer for cooler times and PSLs.
Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkin everything… warm, pumpkin spice lattes in particular. But I’ve gained control over my cravings and I’m able to wait until at least late August. (Stop judging… I can feel the snarky giggles.)
I’ve found lots of great recipes for pumpkin cupcakes, bread, and even cake, but they all have one big thing in common: they are more like a dense and very moist pumpkin bread rather than like the cake we expect to be biting into. Pumpkin bread is wonderful, when that’s what your mouth is expecting. So I’ve come up with a remedy.
Let me back up a bit.
This really all began with my testing out new vanilla cupcake recipes and not being happy with any of them. I liked many of the versions, but they just weren’t perfect as stand-alone vanilla cupcakes. They were perfect for other things. And as I thought about how I was going to compose my pumpkin pie cuppies it hit me… THIS recipe was the right match for them 🙂 Happy accidents!
No baking session is a wasted one, peeps. Your “failures” are really awesome learning opportunities!
So let’s get to the nitty-gritty. Or rather the yummy-in-muh-tummy.
I filled these with a no-bake pumpkin pie filling. That’s right. This goes in after they’ve cooled, stuffed style. Could I have baked it into the batter? Probably. But here’s my reservation… A custard (which is what pumpkin pie is) needs to come up to at least 180°F to begin to set, let alone be food-safe. And for the short time it takes to bake a cupcake, it’s questionable whether the custard would hit that mark. I’d rather you be safe than sorry, because we know where sorry leaves us…
Take a moment to notice that I didn’t just stop at the top of the dome of the cuppie when I piped in the filling… I heaped it over top. In the same shape that the frosting would be piped in. It can hold it’s shape well enough to load some extra on top. I highly suggest doing this. Because pumpkin pie filling. As my father-in-laws says, “Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.” (Be careful with that statement… ;D )
So I used a custard style recipe for it that is stabilized with gelatin. No, it doesn’t jiggle. And no, there isn’t a firm set to this. It’s exactly like a classic pumpkin pie! MAGIC! And it’s so good, in fact, that I might have eaten a few spoonfuls as is. Nothing else necessary. This would be awesome on top of oatmeal in the morning. Steel cut oats. Made with milk. I’m hungry. Food blogging is tough on the waistline.
Now a quick not about how I filled these babies… I used my apple corer (round thing with serrated edge) to hollow out the center, but that’s still a pretty small hole for all the glorious filling that NEEDS to be inside. So I took my small paring knife at an angle and opened the hole up a bit more. More filling = happier eaters. Just do go too wild with opening it up. The no-bake pumpkin pie filling is heavy and still needs the cupcake for support. Of course a fork and a plate are always an option, but the time it takes to use those stands in the way of getting this into your mouth. Who needs that trouble?!?
And of course no cupcake would be complete without a delicious, smooth, creamy frosting on top. Something sweet that compliments the flavors without overpowering them. White chocolate and cream cheese! The slight tang from the cream cheese cuts the richness of the white chocolate and they mingle delightfully with the spices in the pumpkin pie filling.
Now it may seem like that glorious cupcake is just a carrier, the transportation, a chauffeur of sorts for the filling and frosting. I tell you that is not true. It is a rich and moist cake that was made to live happily ever after right here with these flavors. Yeah, I get a little romantic when such awesomeness happens in my kitchen. Forgive me. But once you make these, you’ll be waxing poetic, too!
Now. If you’re a true blue PSL nutter, you’ll appreciate the twist I made on these to take the cuppies up another notch. Let’s add 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice to the cupcake batter, a 1/2 tsp to the frosting, AND drizzle this INCREDIBLE Pumpkin Spice Cookie Spread from Amoretti over top.
Oh yes I did and you will love me for it! Enjoy this recipe, and let me know what you think in the comments below. What else can I pumpkin for you?