Pumpkins are cheap as chips at the moment, but their really is only so much soup a girl can eat, even in this current freezing weather (snow in Auckland, can you believe it?). Here is another, altogether sweeter way to use this versatile vegetable. A perky moist orange cake, with the spice of ginger, and the warmth of cinnamon and nutmeg, slathered in cream cheese frosting. Even if, like me, you don't have a major sweet tooth, I think you will love these little cakes. I choose simple gold cases for my cupcakes, but Millys where I picked them up also have an amazing range of printed ones for every conceivable occasion. If you can get Halloween cases, these cupcakes would be perfect!
This is my contribution to Sweet New Zealand, a nifty new monthly blogging event, from Alessandra. At the end of the month she is going to summarise all the submissions, cant wait to see what everyone else has come up with
I have adapted the recipe ever so slightly from Cupcakes, by Elinor Klivans. I added nutmeg, and folded in the dry ingredients rather than beating as I think this gives a more tender cake. I have also used steamed mashed pumpkin as I cannot get tinned pumpkin puree, but if you have tinned at your store go right ahead.
Pumpkin & Ginger Cupcakes
Makes 12 regular cupcakes
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
100 gr unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed pumpkin (this was 375gr raw peeled pumpkin steamed for 15 mins then mashed)
Handful crystallized ginger, chopped into fine bits
Preheat your oven to 175C (375F) and line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases of your choice
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger into a large mixing bowl.
In another bowl beat together your sugar, melted butter & pumpkin puree. You could use a Kitchen Aid or a held held beater, or even a wooden spoon, just give it a really good beat together. Beat in the eggs & crystallized ginger.
Gently fold in the flour mixture with a metal spoon, until no bits of white flour are showing. You want to make sure everything is mixed together, but no more, or your cakes will be a bit tough and rise with peaks in the middle.
Fill your cases with the mixture, to about 1/2 cm from the top. This is a pretty thick batter, so I use a large tablespoon to fill the cases. An ice cream scoop would also work.
Pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes, until risen and golden. Check with a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cake in the centre of the pan, it should not have any wet batter clinging to it, if it does cook for a few more minutes and check again.
Cool on a wire rack, and when cold top with the following topping.
Cream cheese icing
1 250gr tub normal cream cheese (not spreadable)
Approx 2 cups of icing sugar (I know, but it is icing, your not eating the whole bowl!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Put the cream cheese in a bowl, and beat until it is smooth. Gradually add the icing sugar, a few spoons at a time. Try not to cover yourself & the kitchen with icing sugar by keeping the speed of the beater reasonably low. Keep incorporating the sugar until you have an icing that is thick and will hold its shape on top of a cupcake. Add the vanilla & beat in. You can use a piping bag with a nozzle or simply a knife to slather on as much as you dare, it is pretty rich......
I decorated with little pieces of more crystallized ginger, but really wanted to make little mini pumpkins with fondant............it would take hours and no doubt end in tears so I eventually decided to stick with the ginger, you however may be much more creative than I......
My Mum brought these over from her garden the other day, I love looking at them & reminding myself Spring is just around the corner, I for one cant wait......
Lastly, I had to show you these fabulous earrings I picked up at Swonderful in Wellington last weekend, I always find some little treat there, pop in if you can, or check out their online goodies. These were a bargain, and the colour is great against dark hair. Kinda 50's don't you think?