Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple-Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and Salted Bourbon Caramel
These pumpkin cupcakes with maple-cinnamon cream cheese frosting and salted bourbon caramel sauce perfectly capture the flavors of Autumn in my home town.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 18 cupcakes
  • For the cupcakes:
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ⅓ cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:
  • ½ cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • For the caramel:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup thickened cream, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½-1 teaspoon sea salt flakes (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (can be omitted for non-alcoholic)
  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line 2 cupcake trays with paper cupcake liners (you should get 18 cupcakes).
  2. Sift together the flour, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Beat butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer (handheld is fine, too) for 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla and beat until combined. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix on low until just combined (do not overbeat).
  4. Divide the batter into the prepared cupcake tray and bake 15-19 minutes, or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched (or until a toothpick comes out clean).
  5. Cool for 5 minutes, then gently and carefully transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  6. For the frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (handheld is fine, too) until completely combined and smooth. Add the maple syrup and cinnamon and beat again to combine. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well in between each addition, until smooth and creamy.
  7. The frosting will be quite soft and probably wouldn't hold up very well if piped with a closed star tip, such as I have, straight from the mixer. In order to pipe this frosting with a tip like the closed star tip, refrigerate for 30-45 minutes, stirring every so often to check the firmness. Once the frosting is firm enough to hold onto the spoon without dropping off, or when dropped, it doesn't sink back into the frosting, transfer the frosting to the piping bag and pipe away.
  8. Otherwise, if you're happy to just spread on the frosting, or dollop it on with a large tip, then you can use it straight from the mixing bowl.
  9. For the caramel: Place the sugar and water in a small, but deep, saucepan, stir gently, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Do not stir anymore, but you can give the pan a gentle swirl or two. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture turns a sort of medium amber color. Brush the sides of the pan often with a wet pastry during cooking brush to prevent crystals from forming.
  10. Working quickly, reduce the heat to medium-low and carefully pour in the room temperature-thickend cream. It should bubble up, so be careful you don't get burnt or that it doesn't overflow the pan. Whisk the caramel until smooth.
  11. Carefully add the butter, vanilla, sea salt and bourbon (I might have *sort of* accidentally added a bit more bourbon!) and whisk until the butter has melted and the ingredients are combined.
  12. Set aside to cool and thicken slightly. When cool, but still pourable, drizzle the caramel over the frosted cupcakes.
  13. For a stronger caramel flavor, either poke holes into the cupcake and drizzle over the caramel (like a poke cake), or cut out the center of the cupcake (reserve what you've cut out), pour in a good tablespoon or so of the caramel, and place a bit of the cake that you cut out on top of the caramel (filled cupcakes, for the win!).
  14. Store leftover caramel in the refrigerator for about a week; it will firm up, but can be rewarmed gently in the microwave to drizzle over anything you'd like.
Recipe by sweetest kitchen at http://www.sweetestkitchen.com/2016/10/pumpkin-cupcakes-maple-cinnamon-cream-cheese-frosting-salted-bourbon-caramel/