The last few months have been a blurry haze buried under work and more work but now I think its safe to say that I’ve officially come out of my hiatus just in time for the best season of the year. It’s WINTER and I’m back home in Delhi! Foggy, smoggy Delhi, reeking of celebration and festivity, as December always does. With the NEW YEAR around the corner, i can feel the air changing, pushing away everything 2016 screwed up. I know nothing really changes, except for the date, but I like to see the new year as an excuse to push away negativity and mentally remind myself to embrace positive changes and look forward to the uncertain, potentially exciting future. 2017 will be an exciting, very exciting year because 1) the first one of my friends is getting married (!!) 2) Im going to grad school in chicago in the fall 3) My friend Alf said that according to the chinese calendar, 2017 is the year of the Monkey and that means it will be great for all of us 1992 borns.
Last year this time, I defeated the cold with bourbon caramels, peppermint hot chocolate and cinnamon sugar pretzels. This year, I’ve spent more time in conference rooms than in kitchens and sadly, eaten more shawarma from QSRs than I would admit. And now, for the biggest confession of all: I haven’t baked anything in nearly HALF A YEAR. It’s been 5 months since I even stepped into my dessert kitchen and looked at the oven. So naturally, the first thing I made when I came back had to be somewhat symbolic. Symbolic of what though, I don’t know. Of winter, my favourite season for baking? Pumpkin cupcakes. They’re warm, and they’re simple and delicious. Nothin’ fancy!
I love pumpkin in all it’s fall-winter glory. I’ve loved it since I watched it transform into cinderella’s carriage (Thank you disney, for setting unrealistic expectations), but now I love it for it’s versatility - pumpkin soup, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, it never ends.
You may have figured by now that I am not afraid of being the pumpkin-spice-loving, faux fur wearing cliché (Im looking at you, pinterest). To be honest, I feel like for all the pumpkin spice mocking flying around on the internet, it is most definitely not overrated and I have no doubts in saying that if I made a batch of cream cheese frosting, I would much rather spread it over a pumpkin spice cake than anything else (especially in this season!).
So here goes!
For the cupcakes:
- 280 g pumpkin
- 3 eggs
- 150 ml oil
- 250 g sugar
- 250 g flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp clove
- 1/8 tsp cardamom
For the frosting:
- 1 pkt philadelphia cream cheese
- 30 g butter
- 60 g icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of cinnamon powder
- Preheat your oven to 180 ˚ C and line your cupcake pan with 15 paper moulds
- Boil pumpkin in hot water until very soft. Then puree it in a food processesor.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the pumpkin, eggs and oil and beat until combined.
- In another large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together (bullet number 4 - 11)
- Gradually, with the mixer speed on low, add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and combine.
- Beat until fully combined, but be careful not to overbeat
- Using an ice cream scoop, add 2 scoops of batter into each cupcake mould. This will ensure that the cupcakes are all even sized.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. By now, your kitchen should be smelling super warm and cinnamony.
- Set on a wire rack to cool.
- Make the cream cheese frosting while the cupcakes cool.
- Using a K beater, beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth
- Add the butter, cinnamon powder and vanilla essence and beat again
- Now add the icing sugar, one spoonful at a time, and continue beating.
- Once done, use a spatula to fill a piping bag with the frosting.
- Pipe cream cheese frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and enjoyyy.
If you’re like me, make a mug of hot chocolate as well!