These moist, spicy cupcakes are decorated to resemble mini pumpkins. Makes 12
INGREDIENTS for cupcakes
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour 3/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 1 large egg 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin 1/3 cup canola oil 1/4 cup buttermilk 1/3 cup chopped walnuts 1/3 cup dried cranberries
INGREDIENTS for Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 2 cups powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Orange gel food coloring Sour green apple straws Sour green apple candy tape
PROCEDURE for cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 12 standard (1/3-cup) muffin cups with paper liners.
Whisk first 7 ingredients in medium bowl to blend; set aside.
Whisk egg in large bowl to blend; whisk in pumpkin, oil, and buttermilk.
Stir in flour mixture until just blended.
Stir in walnuts and cranberries.
Spoon batter into paper liners, dividing batter evenly.
Bake until golden brown and tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Cool in pan on rack 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack and cool completely.
PROCEDURE for frosting
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until light. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat well. Mix in small amount of orange coloring. If frosting is too soft to use, cover and refrigerate until slightly thickened.
Frost cupcakes, mounding slightly in center. Cut 1-inch-long pieces of apple straws and stick 1 piece in top of each cupcake to resemble stem. Using leaf-shaped cutters, cut out leaves from candy tape. Drape leaves atop cupcakes. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome or lid and keep at cool room temperature.
Feel free to get creative with the decorating. Try cutting out triangles of black licorice to create the eyes and nose of jack-o'-lanterns, or top the cupcakes with candy pumpkins, candy corn, or black and orange sprinkles.
The cupcakes are also delicious topped with non-colored frosting and garnished with additional walnuts and dried cranberries.