Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Spooktacular: Pumpkin Cupcakes

Now that I've been in Houston for a month, it was time for a housewarming party. This was no ordinary housewarming; it was a Halloween housewarming. Naturally, instead of worrying about decorating for the party, I decided to focus my efforts on baking. I made my Whoopie Pies (the ultimate cooking sandwich and my favorite post ever) and pumpkin cupcakes inspired by my Thanksgiving dessert Paula Deen's Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle.

Pumpkin Cupcakes
Cake part from
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Time: 60 minutes

Judging by the smell of the batter, I knew it was gonna be awesome.
4 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup corn starch
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
Pumpkin Pudding (see below)
Whipped Cream (see below)
Pumpkin shaped candy corn for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix the flour, corn starch, spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Blend the eggs, oil, sugar and pumpkin together over medium low speed using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix over low speed. Be careful not to over mix.
  5. Fill cupcake liners ~2/3 full with batter and bake for 20 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test. Make sure to rotate once halfway through.
  6. Let cool on wire racks. Once cool, cut out the center of the tops and fill with pumpkin pudding (see below for recipe).
  7. Top with whipped cream frosting and a pumpkin candy corn.
  8. Look awesome in your halloween costume eating cupcakes.

The cupcakes were already amazing without the extra toppings and fillings. They were a great mix between pumpkin pie and gingerbread. They had an amazing consistency and incredible bounce to them, not to mention the wonderful aroma that filled my apartment.  The true highlight, though was my friend Heather walking in on me making cupcakes and listening to Dr. Dre. Nothing says delightful baked goodness quite like classic 90s rap. I'm just glad she didn't walk in while I was also dancing.

Pumpkin Pudding

1 packet instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
1/2 can (15 oz) Pumpkin pie filling

Pudding and cupcakes together at last.
  1. Make the instant pudding by following the package instructions (basically whisk the milk and pudding together for 2 minutes then let set). 
  2. Add the pumpkin pie filling and mix well. If you can't find the pie filling canned you can approximate it with pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, sugar and sweetened condensed milk.
  3. Let sit in the fridge for a while if it's not setting well.
This pudding is super easy to make and delicious. I really just wanted an excuse to have it again. The only thing you have to worry about is the pudding being too runny. You don't want people biting into cupcakes oozing with liquid, so adding condensed milk or even a little sour cream or cream cheese can help thicken it.

Whipped Cream Frosting

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup whipping cream
8 oz sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Green food coloring

At last success with food coloring. The trick is to make it slightly darker than mint green.
  1. Whisk together the ingredients until peaks start to form.
  2. Ramp up the speed until it thickens.
I decided to go with a whipped cream frosting, so the cupcake would be more reminiscent of pumpkin pie. The topping from the tres leches had a nice vanilla flavor and was just the right amount of sweet, so I decided to go with it again (and add some green food coloring so they looked more like pumpkins). I also made sure to put enough whipped cream that my friend dressed up as Mario got it all over his fake mustache.

Without Alexis' awesome frosting gun (may it rest in peace), my decorating skills took a hit.
The cupcakes were a hit. They pumpkin flavor came out nicely without being overwhelming and it reminded everyone fondly of pumpkin pie. The filling was actually a little unnecessary since the cake itself was good and moist enough, but it was a welcome addition since I don't really know how to make just simple cupcakes. I'll definitely be making these a holiday staple.  But more importantly, I totally rocked my Captain Malcolm Reyonolds (Firefly) costume.

The pants were authentically tight, which definitely was not at all related to the baking I've been doing...

Little known fact: the crew of Serenity used their smuggling money to support their love of baking (especially Jayne).

And let's not forget the whoopie pies which were scary good (see what I did there) as always. You can't really see it, but the filling is orange.


  1. 1. amazing costume! did you cuss in chinese all night?
    2. cupcake and pudding... i think my brain just melted

  2. 1. Luckily, the food went over so well there was no need to cuss in chinese all night.
    2. I was scared at first but it totally worked.
    3. See you at homecoming!