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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

CINNAMON SPICE CUPCAKES

I asked the teen what he would like me to bake...it could be cookies, a cake, or cupcakes, bread...whatever.  He thought on it for a while and said "how about cinnamon spice cupcakes?"
Hmmm, okay.  I can do that (drat, I thought, no chocolate).  I mused about it for a bit...and wondered, to myself, if he would notice if I added some of the last bits of the frozen acorn squash I had sitting in the freezer.  (I have 2 packages left).  It's hitting the 6 month mark of freezer life and I like to rotate things out by then if possible.  So, I found a few pumpkin spice cake recipes that looked good - it has a lot more than just cinnamon for spice, of course, but I think he'll like this with a basic cream cheese frosting with a bit of cinnamon sprinkled in.  Sounds like a plan!  I'm not putting squash in the title in case he sees the blog title on Facebook...wouldn't want him to think he was actually eating a vegetable....or technically, I guess, a fruit.  Nah, he'd consider it a vegetable.  Anyway, he won't read the blog...but he'd see the title :-)

CINNAMON SPICE CUPCAKES
By Debbi Hook - based on various online recipes for pumpkin cake

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Unbleached White Whole Wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened but not melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/8 cup brown sugar - packed
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup Half and Half
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup squeezed and drained roasted acorn squash** puree (or canned pumpkin puree)
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting 
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar - sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
METHOD:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper liners.
Whisk together the flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
Measure dry ingredients in separate bowl
Whisk dry ingredients to thoroughly blend and remove any lumps
Beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar in a stand mixer bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate into the butter mixture before adding the next. Next, mix in the milks, vanilla, and squash puree (it looks curdly but that's okay). Stir in the flour/spice mixture, beating just until incorporated. The texture will become a thick batter instead of curdled! 


Prepared batter ready to scoop into muffin pan

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups with a large cookie dough scoop for even distribution. It made exactly 24 cupcakes.

Bake in preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 23-25 minutes, depending on your oven.  Mine took 24 minutes exactly and a turned them at the halfway point to ensure even baking.

Beautiful lcupcakes...I can see spot that I bet is a bit of squash :-)
Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Cooling on a rack helps keep them from having soggy bottoms
After the cupcakes are completely cool, make the frosting by beating the cream cheese and butter until smooth (stand mixer or electric hand mixer). Beat in the sifted confectioner's sugar one cup at a time until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and  ground cinnamon; beat until fluffy. Frost cupcakes only when completely cool or the heat of the cupcake will melt the frosting.

**  I roasted and froze the acorn squash in October.  See this post for how I did it.  Today, I thawed the bag that looked like it had about 1 cup of squash...turns out to have been 1 1/3 cup..and that was perfect because I drained and squished out about 1/3 cup of liquid.  Last time, I used a colander and paper towels and my hands...it was very messy.  This time, I pureed it first in the small bowl of my food processor, and set it to drain in a sieve. 
squash puree draining over the measuring cup I used to see how much I had

After it drained off about 1/8 cup of liquid, I used a clean cotton kitchen cloth to wrap the puree and twisted and squeezed to drain it thoroughly. 
After squeezing the squash...perfect for baking
I got maybe a tablespoon less than a full cup of puree..but it worked just beautifully in the cupcakes!  Fiber and flavor addition that kids won't even notice...perfect!

OK - they are out of the oven and I just ate a warm one for a little quality assurance...and I must say they are beyond delicious.  If I was without a teen in the house, I would just leave them unfrosted.  They are fabulous warm and would be a terrific morning muffin due to the squash creating a more dense crumb.  Yummmmmm...
OK - I admit - I ate two warm from the oven.  These are delicious!
I made the frosting, which is quite delicious as well...and I put it in a 16" piping bag with a Wilton 1M tip.  I swirled the frosting on...but it really only frosted 18 cupcakes. 


The last 4 (because I had already eaten 2) got a "star" in the middle instead of a mountain of frosting.  Quite frankly, since I had to try one of those as well (hey, it's been 4 hours since the last cupcake)... I found the "star" to be just the right amount of sweetness.  The teen will likely like the ones fully crowned with frosting...but for me, just a tad bit of frosting was the perfect topping!


Just a taste of frosting - my favorites!

BON APPETIT, Y'ALL!!!

Update 4/2/2011
I linked this post to a great little blog Sweet as Sugar Cookies.  She does a Sweets for a Saturday post and all of these bloggers link their goodies of the week.  I saw some awesome goodies that I MUST try!

ALSO SHARED WITH SWEET TREAT THURSDAY ON 6/2/2011


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1 comment:

  1. I love cinnamon in desserts! These look delicious! I'd like to invite you to share your recipe on A Well-Seasoned Life's Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

    http://www.wellseasonedlife.com/2011/06/sweet-indulgences-sunday-7.html

    ReplyDelete

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