Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

I made these in advance of Halloween a couple of weeks ago. Our lovely neighbors invited us over for dinner and so I thought a festive, pumpkiny cupcake would be a nice, sweet treat following the meal.

And I got to use my awesome Halloween platter which I love so much!

Aren't they sweet?

These cupcakes were super duper easy (mainly because I adapted a box cake mix), moist and topped with a spice cream cheese frosting...perhaps one of my most favorite things in life.

I know it's a bit past Halloween, but with the craziness of the last week or so, I'm just getting around to sharing these now. I think they would be delicious on a Thanksgiving table, or even for a fall weekend treat!

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

for the cupcakes:

1 box spice cake mix

1 15oz can pumpkin puree

3 eggs

1/3 C canola oil

1/3 C water

for the frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 C unsalted butter, softened

3-4 C confectioners' sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the cupcakes, mix the cake mix, pumpkin puree, eggs, oil and water in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer for 30 seconds on low speed. Up the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners and distribute batter among the cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.

Once cooled, make the frosting.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy. Add one cup of sugar at a time and beat until thoroughly combined (Note: use 3 or 4 cups depending on desired taste and consistency). Mix in the vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Frost cupcakes and top with sprinkles or decoration of choice.

Voila!

Delicious, autumnal cupcakes. I heart them.

And to prove it, I ate a lot of them. Baby TAA was nevery happier. It's my mission to ensure that she shares my love of all things pumpkin.

So there you have it. One of my favorite pumpkiny treats this season!

What is your favorite treat of the season?

Pineapple Cupcakes + Coconut Frosting

Oh cupcakes, how I love thee.

They really just don't seem to ever get old in my eyes.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good layer cake. But I really adore a tiny personalized dessert of any flavor.

A few weeks ago, we went to a big barbecue at my aunt's house. I wanted to make something summery and most importantly, simple. It was the same weekend that I made 80 cupcakes for Lindsey's shower and so I wanted something that would take just a little bit of time and effort.

I had seen these pineapple cupcakes on Skinnytaste a while back and have had them in the back of my head ever since. It's two simple ingredients - a box of moist yellow cake mix and a large can of crushed pineapple. Mix 'em together well and bake and voila! Gorgeous, moist, pineappley cake. Or cupcakes.

 

The recipe made 24 cupcakes. Admittedly, some came out a bit smaller than others, but I didn't mind. There was a full table of desserts at the party and so I'm glad that these pretty lil' things were small and simple to eat.

Oh and the frosting!

How could I forget that?! I chose my own coconut frosting recipe for these. Fluffy, coconutty and sweet, this is really one of my favorite frostings. I piled it on, dusted with shredded coconut and a sweet little pinapple coconut cupcake was born!

Pineapple Cupcakes
*from Skinnytaste
1 box Supermoist yellow cake mix
1 20oz. can crushed pineapple

Preheat your oven according to the box directions. Mix together the cake mix and pineapple (note: do not drain the pineapple!) on medium-low for 30 seconds. Up the speed to medium-high and mix for about 2 minutes until the batter is light and fluffy.

Pour into a prepared pan - a muffin tin lined with baking cups for cupcakes or a greased 13x9" pan for cake.

Bake according to package directions.

Let cool completely and make the frosting!

 

Coconut Frosting
*From my Pineapple Coconut Dream Bars
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, at room temperature
½ stick butter, at room temperature
2-3 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 C confectioners’ sugar
sweetened shredded coconut, for garnish

Beat the cream cheese and butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix in the vanilla and coconut oil. Beat in the sugar, 1 cup at a time. Beat until light and fluffy.

Frost the cupcakes. Eat many immediately.

And side note: I'm totally crushing on these sweet cupcake liners! So cute!

Questions of the Day:

What's your favorite kind of dessert to bring to a party?

What's your favorite easy dessert?

Springtime Cupcakes + Cookbook Challenge Link Up

I learned something really important over the four day weekend.

Four day weekends rule!

I feel like I accomplished so much this weekend...a desk detox, wardrobe detox and reorg, lots of family time, some friend time, some gym time...and I feelrefreshed today and ready for the week. Can every weekend be 4 days?!

 

So for Easter Sunday, I went with an old standard for dessert...cupcakes! My original plan was to make a cake, however, for any party, I always love bringing desserts that are easily distributed. No cutting involved, just grab a cupcake and go. Not to mention that I could make a whole bunch and bring some to Shaun's parents and some to my aunt's house. It's really a win all around.

 

I didn't get crazy with flavors here. I went with a classic chocolate cake and my newly perfected vanilla buttercream. I decided to try out a recipe from my Southern Living Cookbook (thanks Aunt Chet!)...and kill two birds with one stone since this also fulfills part of my Cookbook Challenge!

 

The cake was incredibly easy to make and came together in a snap. I really liked these cupcakes. For me, the could have been a little more chocolatey (perhaps a little espresso powder in them next time?), but overall, they were moist with a little crumbliness and they set up with a little chewy crust on top. I liked that part :) Lastly, I simply dyed some buttercream with Wilton Violet food coloring and topped them with springy non-pareils.

Springtime Cupcakes

Yields 3 dozen cupcakes
for the cupcakes:
*Adapted from Southern Living's Basic Chocolate Cake
1/2 C shortening
2 C sugar
2 large eggs
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped & melted
2 1/4 C cake flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 C buttermilk
3/4 C water
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

for the vanilla buttercream:
*Adapted from my Giants Superbowl cupcakes
1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
4 C confectioners sugar
3 - 4 Tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 - 4 toothpicks of Wilton violet food coloring gel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 3 muffin tins with paper liners.

In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the shortening unil fluffy, gradually adding the sugar. Beat well and add the eggs one at a time, until completely combined. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave. Cool for a few seconds and add to the egg mixture, mixing well.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this to the chocolate mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk but ending with the flour. Mix on low until all are completely combined. Mix in the water on low and then stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins. I used a medium cookie scoop for the perfect amount (Note: not a heaping scoop...just a plain old scoop will be plenty). Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.

Once cooled, make the frosting.

Beat the butter until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, one cup at a time until combined and fluffy, adding milk as necessary to thin it out. Mixer should be on medium-high speed. Mix in vanilla. Add food coloring to your desired color and beat until gorgeously purple. Frost cupcakes and top with sprinkles.

Eat many, immediately.

 

So that was my big baking item this weekend. Pretty, no? I was really happy with how these turned out, though, as usual, my frosting skills could really use a little sharpening :)

Questions of the Day:

What did you eat/make over the holiday weekend?

What's your favorite kind of cupcake? My favorite combination is always chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream!