I put pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg in anything and everything in the Fall. Fall, with all of the flavors and aromas that go with it, is my favorite season of the year! I invented these in the kitchen the other day and they were a big hit with everyone who ate them, from elementary school kids to grandparents.
Notes from the Test Kitchen:
Andrea is a true cupcake queen! Sweet, delicate and super moist, these cupcakes have a perfectly subtle pumpkin flavor that is wonderfully offset by the light and airy icing. YUM!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin pans with cupcake papers.
To a large mixing bowl, add cake mix, 3 oz. of pumpkin, water, eggs, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg. Beat on low speed of electric mixer for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for two minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Fill cupcake papers 1/2 to 2/3 full and bake in preheated oven until cupcakes test done by springing back when touched lightly with fingertip in center. Remove to racks to cool.
While cupcakes cool, make the frosting. To achieve the best and lightest frosting, you're going to need to beat it for a long period of time. This is best done with an electric stand mixer so you can do other things while your frosting continues to beat.
For the frosting: Use the paddle attachment for your mixer. To the mixing bowl, add the softened butter and 4 oz. of pumpkin and beat until well combined. Next, add 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg and beat until combined. Next, add 24 oz. of powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk and beat on low until combined. Once there is no risk of dry powdered sugar flying out of the bowl, increase speed to medium or medium-high and beat for at least 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and continue to beat for 10 minutes. Check to see if you like the consistency of the frosting or if you need to add more powdered sugar. Add more if you need it. There is no hard and fast rule here. If you are satisfied with the frosting at this stage, then use it. I personally beat my frosting for at least 30 minutes. In that 30 minutes I check the frosting and scrape the bowl and paddle about 3 times. I like my frosting to be lighter, and the extra time beating it helps to achieve this lightness.
Put the frosting on your cooled cupcakes. I use a 1M star tip with a pastry bag to get that bakery look. But if you prefer to use a butter knife or offset spatula, go for it! They still taste just as yummy!
If you would like, you can add a festive touch by topping the cupcake with a piece of candy corn or holiday sprinkles. Eat, share and enjoy!!