Saturday, October 30, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Cupcake

Never liked pumpkin much.  Couldn't understand all the hoo-ha behind pumpkin pie, didn't understand what's so great about spiced pumpkin latte that comes out every fall at coffee stores.  For twenty over years, it stayed that way.  All it took was a cheesecake to change my mind. ^.^  Hehe...  A couple years ago, I had a slice of pumpkin cheesecake at a friend's place and that changed my mind about pumpkins.  Heeh

So this year, to start off this fall on a pumpkin-ish tone, I made spiced pumpkin cupcakes.  After grating my nutmegs, I went bonkers, and took out my mortar and pestle and started pounding my cinnamon and cloves into powder.  Yeah, I did went bonkers that night.  lol...

1- You don't have to pound cinnamon and cloves, but if you can, try grating your own nutmeg.  It smells so awesome and it's so easy, you'll do it again after you've tried it once.
2- Soaking your cranberries before mixing and baking helps to keep them moist and plump through the baking process.
3- This recipe is for about twenty 2-1/2 inch cupcakes.  If your muffin trays are larger or smaller, remember to adjust the baking time and check for readiness.

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Cupcake

Cupcake ingredients:
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup water
2 tbsp brandy/kirsch
2 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cup pumpkin paste

Cream cheese icing ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, softened (1 pkt)
4 oz butter, softened
1-3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
a couple drops of red, yellow, and green food dye

Boil the cranberries in water and brandy/kirsch mixture for 5 minutes then switch off the fire and keep the cranberries soaking for about 10 minutes then drain.
Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin tray with paper cups.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients until well mixed.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in the wet ingredients (oil, eggs, pumpkin paste).
Whisk together the wet ingredients and slowly draw in the dry ingredients until well mixed.
Stir in the cranberries.
Pipe or spoon the batter into paper cups and fill to about 3/4 full.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Cool on a rack for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine and cream all ingredients for icing. 
Mix a couple drops of food dye into part of the icing until you achieve the color you want.
Pipe or spread cream cheese icing on the muffin.

Oh, and have fun with the icing design.  ^.^

Good luck and hope you fall in love with pumpkins.  heehee
Oh, and yes, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!  Go get drunk on candies!

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