I love fall. The weather is perfect – crisp mornings lead to warm afternoons and chilly nights. You have the chance to wear the cutest clothes of the season. Who doesn’t love layering tights, knee high socks, circle skirts, scarves, and sweaters? And can we talk about fall food? You never get the chance to eat cranberries, candied nuts, or pumpkin any other time of the year!
Nothing screams fall more than these cupcakes. They’re perfect. The brown butter is the magic here. It gives an amazing nutty and caramelized balance to the spicy pumpkin cake and tangy cream cheese frosting. And the pumpkin makes the cupcakes oh so moist and soft. Also, the spice ratio is divine – not too much cinnamon, and just the right amount of nutmeg and ginger to make this flavor palette whole. The nut topping provides an awesome crunchy texture to the cake.
These cupcakes are super easy to make. You don’t even need a mixer! Just a whisk and mixing bowl and you’re all set.
Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes
Pumpkin Cupcakes (yields 24)
- 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cups of unsalted butter
- 1 3/4 cups of of all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup of dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cups of heavy cream
- 2 cups of chopped almonds
- 3/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1/4 cup of butter
Brown Butter Frosting
- 1/2 cups of unsalted butter
- 1 cup of room temperature cream cheese
- 1/4 cups of dark brown sugar
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 4 teaspoons of heavy cream
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, line 2 cupcake tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- Brown your butter for both the frosting and the pumpkin cupcakes. To do this, melt butter on medium to low heat. As the butter boils, the milk solids will slowly caramelize. The butter bubbles will have browned flecks littered through as it boils. You’ll definitely smell this before you see this. Turn off the heat, and set this aside. You don’t want to brown the butter too much as it will burn very quickly. Reserve 1/2 cup of butter in a bowl for the frosting. Place this bowl into a freezer to set. Leave the rest to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
- In another mixing bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, eggs, vanilla, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and heavy cream. Mix this very well until no lumps remain!
- Fold the flour mixture and wet ingredients together. Once these are combined, add the cooled brown butter and mix until just combined. You don’t want to overmix because the cupcakes will become very tough.
- Use an ice cream scoop to divide the cupcakes evenly among the 2 trays. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Chop your almonds if you haven’t done so already! Soaking them overnight helps, but if you’re short on time then cutting is always an option.
- Brown some butter on the pan. Keeping the heat at low, add in the nuts and sugar.
- Cook until the sugar has dissolved and fully coated the almonds. Set the almonds aside to cool! The mixture will harden like candy.
- Break the candy into chunks to use as topping for the cupcakes.
- Remove the butter from the freezer and set it to room temperature. Once it has softened, scrape the butter from the bowl being careful not to take the darkened solids with it.
- Cream the butter, brown sugar, and cream cheese frosting together until the brown sugar as dissolved.
- Add the powdered sugar. Cream this for about 5 minutes to really incorporate the sugar into the frosting. This leaves the frosting silky smooth, so you won’t get the gritty texture that comes with cupcakes from grocery stores and many bakeries.
- Add the heavy cream and whip for an additional minute.
To assemble the cupcakes, just spread the frosting on top of the cupcake and add about a teaspoon of topping to the side. I thought that chocolate ganache would be a nice touch, but this is completely optional.
Be sure to bring these cupcakes to your Thanksgiving family dinners. I promise they will be a hit even after the helpings of food everyone has gotten. I feel as though Thanksgiving deserts are under appreciated at the dinners because you’re so stuffed! But, since these cupcakes are portable, all the guests can bring them home to enjoy the next day.
And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to thank my family, my wonderful friends, and everyone who I love because you’ve all made my life better one way or another.