The Furious Kitchen – Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

These cupcakes have been making the internet rounds this fall, and there is not a whole lot that I love more than pumpkin pie and cupcakes, so of course I had to try them out.  I’ve never baked anything inside a cupcake before and while I love to bake, I can be kind of a lazy baker.  So this first edition of The Furious Kitchen involves some lessons learned and an overall pretty tasty product.

You are supposed to make the little pumpkin pies first.

Pie Dough and Mini Cupcake Tin
Cutting out the pie dough

I cut out pre-made pie dough to fit in mini-cupcake tins.  The cutter I used was the top of a can of PAM, because I don’t have any juice glasses.  Even then it was a little small, I had to kind of mush the dough to get it to stretch out a little. I just used the Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe.  It’s never steered me astray.  Because they are mini-pies, they don’t need to cook for very long.  7 minutes at 425 and then 10 more minutes at 350.

Pumpkin Pie in Mini Cupcake Tins
There was a lot extra. I made myself some little pumpkin custard cups.

While those were cooling I took a little nap.  Then I made the cupcake batter:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 1/3 c. whole milk
2 1/2 c. flour

For the cupcake batter, combine the butter and the cream cheese together on medium speed for about 90 seconds–you want the ingredients to be well incorporated. Then mix in the sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Then mix in the milk and the flour, alternating between the two ingredients. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, to make sure everything is getting well-mixed–beat again on med-high speed for about a minute. It should be smooth and creamy.

Cupcake batter in the bowl
Pink spatula! The batter is pretty thick.

Here is where I realized that I didn’t have any cupcake liners, so I had to run to the store. My concern in making these was that the pies would sink to the bottom, but that wasn’t an issue at all.  The batter is so thick the pies really just sit on top, you have to press them in a little.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into regular-sized, paper-lined cupcake tins. Plop a cooled pumpkin pie into the center, and press gently into the batter. GENTLY. You don’t want it to touch to the bottom of the pan.

Cover the pies with another heaping tablespoon of batter, so the top and sides are completely covered.

Bake at 350 degrees (F) for about 25 minutes, until the cake is set and the edges and tops of the cupcakes have turned golden brown.

Pumpkin Pies in cupcakes
The pies in their final resting place, before being covered.

Due to my concern that the pies would be too far into the bottom of the cupcakes I put kind of a lot of batter on the bottom.  And then because the pies were sitting pretty high, they needed more batter to cover them up.  It turns out the batter rises a lot and they got really puffy as they baked.  I didn’t take a picture of them in the tin, but the tops had spilled over on to the top of the pan.  The batter was pretty delicate and the tops tore off when I tried to remove them.

Mutilated cooked cupcakes
The aftermath

Because I overfilled them I ran out of batter before I ran out of pumpkin pies, so I have some leftover mini pies.  One could suffer worse cooking mishaps than that.  Also, all of the destroyed cupcake tops went in to mah belleh, so none were wasted.  The cupcakes without any pie in them are very tasty.  Almost like a sugar cookie.  I would make them just by themselves if I wanted a simple vanilla cupcake.  This picture is blurry because I was annoyed and I also no longer cared how my kitchen counter looked.

The frosting in the original recipe calls for cinnamon chips.  I have never even seen cinnamon chips and ever since I decided to make these I have been looking at every grocery store with no luck.  The Hershey’s website told me that the nearest retailer of cinnamon chips is 10 miles away.  Eff that.  So I found this cinnamon buttercream cream cheese frosting recipe instead.  The frosting is delicious. It tastes like a cinnabon.  If you wanted to save some time I think you could easily mix a little milk and cinnamon into store-bought cream cheese frosting.  I wouldn’t recommend using cake mix from a box though because I don’t think it would be thick enough.

4 oz (1/2 block) cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick (4 oz) butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp Penzey’s Cake Spice (or just add more cinnamon)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Beat butter and cream cheese thoroughly until smooth. Scrape bowl and add 1 cup sugar beating thoroughly. Add vanilla; beat. Add remaining 2 more cups sugar and mix until combined. Add cream and beat on high until light and fluffy. This will take a few minutes and you’ll need to scrape the bowl a few times during the process. If the mix seems too thin, add more sugar a little at a time until it reaches piping consistency. If it’s too thick, add more cream (or milk).

Fortunately the frosting more or less covered up the beheading of the cupcakes.

Frosted Cupcake
This was one of 3 that didn't get mutilated.
Cupcake Cross-Section

Final verdict: Delicious, but labor-intensive.  With naps and grocery-store runs and waiting for everything to cool and having to cook the cupcakes in two batches because I only have one cupcake pan, this endeavor took me all day.  I think in the future I would make them using the same strategy I use to make cookies, which is to do each component on a different day so I don’t get bored with the whole process.

If I hadn’t been doing this for the blog I may have skipped frosting them because I was pretty much over cupcakes by that point.  I’m glad I didn’t though, the frosting really rounds it out.

The best endorsement of all probably comes from Mr. Furious who whined when I first proposed this project, saying he doesn’t like pumpkin pie as much as he likes sweet potato pie.  However, the cupcake got the Furious stamp of approval from both Mr. and Mrs. Furious.

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