Tag Archives: cream cheese icing

Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes

Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes 3

Don’t these cupcakes just scream “Autumn!” If the temperature were to drop below 80° I might be able to believe that fall had actually arrived. So maybe they are just screaming “Eat Me Regardless of the Season!”

Little J made these Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes for our neighborhood chili cook-off and kids’ bake-off. She made them completely on her own (except for some help making the salted caramel to drizzle on top). She did all of the baking and decorating herself, though. Her efforts paid off: she came home with the prize for best-tasting dessert! She was very excited.

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This pumpkin cupcake batter is extremely versatile. We have used it to make Pumpkin Cupcakes, Pumpkin Bars, Pumpkin Sheet Cake, Pumpkin Bread. It adapts well to any size pan you choose to bake it in.

The frosting is a delicious caramel cream cheese icing. You start by making a simple caramel on the stovetop and then beating in cream cheese and a little extra powdered sugar. If you are going to pipe it onto cupcakes, it benefits from a good chill in the fridge to firm it up a little, followed by another beating with a mixer once it has chilled. So start your baking by making the frosting first and then move on to the cupcakes while the frosting chills.

The salted caramel drizzle is optional, but really makes a big difference. The recipe below makes much more salted caramel than you need to drizzle on the cupcakes, but it is also great for topping ice cream and chocolate cake. Or for dipping apples. Or for stirring into hot cocoa. Or for licking off of spoons. Or use your leftover caramel to drizzle over any of these other desserts:

Salted Caramel Banana Cream Pie

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Tart

Apple Pie

Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake

Vanilla Cheesecake

Double Chocolate Waffles

Cream Puffs

Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes 2

RECIPE:

Pumpkin Caramel Cupcakes

Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes 3

Pumpkin Cupcakes:

4 eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 16oz can of pumpkin (about 2 cups)
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pans with 24 paper liners.

Using a mixer, beat eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla and pumpkin until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Fold into pumpkin mixture.

Scoop batter into lined muffin pans. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.Remove from pan and cool completely.

Use a pastry tip (I used Wilton 1M) to frost the cupcakes. Drizzle with salted caramel.

Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator if they are going to be left out for more than a few hours.

Makes 24 cupcakes.


Caramel Cream Cheese Icing:

½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup powdered sugar

Place butter, cream and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir together over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. While caramel is hot, beat in cream cheese, vanilla and salt until well mixed. Beat in powdered sugar. Cover and place frosting in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. When frosting has chilled, beat again until light and fluffy. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

 

Salted Caramel Drizzle:
1 cup sugar
6 Tbs butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-sized chunks
½ cup heavy cream
1 – 1 ½ tsp flaky or coarse sea salt
1 tsp vanilla (and/or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)

Place sugar in a medium to large saucepan (mixture will bubble up and expand as cool ingredients are added to the hot pan). Cook over medium heat until sugar just begins to melt. Stir gently, trying to keep sugar crystals off of the sides of the pan. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts completely and is a medium amber color (about 350°F if you use an instant-read thermometer). Reduce heat to low and quickly whisk in butter chunks, stirring constantly.

Stir in cream, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in salt and vanilla. Pour caramel immediately into a glass jar or heat-safe bowl to cool. Do NOT scrape sides or bottom of the pan with a spatula. If you do, you are likely to get sugar crystals into your nice smooth caramel. If the caramel has formed crystals while cooking, you can pour it from the pan through a fine sieve into the jar to remove any crystals before cooling.

Caramel can be kept in a covered jar at room temperature for several weeks.

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Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Cinnamon Rolls 2

The best way to start a 6:00am day? Homemade cinnamon rolls, of course.

Cinnamon Rolls 1

To keep your rolls light and airy, do not add too much flour to your dough, and knead only until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Because the dough is sticky, it needs to sit for a while in the refrigerator before rolling out the dough. To keep the rolls soft, I also roll my dough out on a buttered silicon mat (instead of a floured mat). Greased hands will help in handling the slightly sticky dough.

An easy way to cut your dough logs into rolls without crushing the dough and having the knife stick to the dough is to use dental floss (not mint!) or a strong sewing thread. See THIS POST for more details.

This recipe makes a lot: 36  large rolls. You can scale the recipe back if you don’t want as many OR Rolls can be frozen either after or before cooking.

To freeze before cooking: Prepare dough. Fill and roll dough into log. Slice into rounds and place each round on a foil lined baking sheet, not touching. Freeze until solid and then place in Ziploc bags and return to freezer. Place frozen rolls in prepared pan and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 2-3 hours). Bake and frost as directed.

RECIPE:

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Cinnamon Rolls 2

2 ½ cups buttermilk*
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp salt
9 – 9 ½ cups flour, divided
1 ½ Tbs instant yeast

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2-3 Tbs cinnamon

Place buttermilk, butter and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Pour into a large mixing bowl (stand mixer) and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Mix in eggs and salt. Add 4 cups of flour and the yeast and mix until smooth. Add additional 5 cups of flour and knead until smooth. Add additional flour, if necessary, to make a soft dough that barely pulls away from the edge of the bowl. Dough will be slightly sticky. Cover dough with plastic wrap touching the dough and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes, or until the dough is chilled and not sticky when touched.

Lightly butter rimmed baking sheets or 9”x13” pans. Mix brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Divide dough into two halves. On a lightly buttered surface, pat each dough half into a rectangle about 12”x18”. Spread 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) on each dough half and sprinkle with half of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Starting from long edge, form a roll. Pinch long edge to seal. Use a knife to lightly score dough into 18  sections about 1” apart. Place a strand of dental floss under the dough and cross over the top of the dough at the scored marking. Pull dental floss to cut through dough log. Place in prepared pan. Cover with a thin towel and allow rolls to rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes. Spread warm rolls with cream cheese glaze.

Makes 36 rolls

*Buttermilk substitute: Scald 2 cups milk (bring to boiling point) and stir in ½ cup plain yogurt

 

Cream Cheese Glaze
8 oz cream cheese
6 Tbs heavy cream
3-4 Tbs milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar

Use a hand mixer to mix all of the glaze ingredients. Add additional milk or cream if needed to make a smooth glaze.

 

To freeze rolls before cooking: Prepare dough. Fill and roll dough into log. Slice into rounds and place each round on a foil lined baking sheet, not touching. Freeze until solid and then place in Ziploc bags and return to freezer. Place frozen rolls in prepared pan and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 2-3 hours). Bake and frost as directed.

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Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Due to a late Halloween (thanks to Hurricane Sandy) and an earlier than usual Thanksgiving, it is time to do some serious Thanksgiving planning around here!

This is a quick and easy dessert perfect for any fall holiday or for surprising the kids with a mid-week dessert just for the fun of it. It is amazing the bewildered (but joyful) looks on their faces when you produce dessert without any other reason than that you love them.

RECIPE:

Pumpkin Sheet Cake (or Pumpkin Bars) with Cream Cheese Icing

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Pumpkin Sheet Cake (or Pumpkin Bars) with Cream Cheese Icing

4 eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 16oz can of pumpkin (about 2 cups)
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Using a mixer, beat eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla and pumpkin until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Fold into pumpkin mixture.

Spray a 15x10x1” jelly roll pan to make Pumpkin Bars or a 9×13” pan to make a Pumpkin Sheet Cake with cooking spray (preferably the kind with flour made for baking). Spread batter into prepared pan.

Baking Times: For 15×10” pan: Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until set.
For 9×13” pan: Bake for 35-45 minutes.

Cool in pan; frost in pan.

CREAM CHEESE ICING:
1 – 8oz package of cream cheese
½ cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
Pumpkin pie spice and/or cinnamon (optional)
Toasted finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Using a mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar. Optional: beat in about 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon, if desired.

Frost cooled cake. Sprinkle with nuts and/or pumpkin pie spice for garnish.

Refrigerate cake until ready to serve.

 

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