Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Brown Butter Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes

I love this time of year; the crispness of the air, football, and most importantly all of the wonderful food.  Yes, fall is here!  There are so many terrific foods that accompany fall and recipes with pumpkin definitely flourish.  I love pumpkin desserts and I love trying new foods that showcase pumpkin flavor.  I have a multitude of pumpkin recipes stashed away that I can't wait to make, but I am pacing myself so my family, friends and coworkers don't go into a sugar coma! 

This was one of my first pumpkin desserts of the season and I absolutely loved it.  The inspiration for this cupcake came from Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte.  The combination of coffee, pumpkin and spices; how delicious is that?  I decided to take those flavor combinations and put them into cupcake form.  The end result was delicious.  There is an underlying flavor of pumpkin, complimented by the warm spices of cinnamon, cloves and all spice, paired with the flavor of coffee.  Brushing the cupcake tops with coffee after they are baked enhances the flavor even more.  Coffee was carried throughout every element of this cupcake; from the actual cake to the frosting.  Instead of using milk in the frosting, I used a few tablespoons of coffee to really let the flavor shine.  And they have to be topped off and garnished with something delicious, so to imitate the Starbucks' baristas, top with a drizzle or two of caramel and a sprinkle of cinnamon. These would be the perfect accompaniment to any fall party, or just the perfect way to enjoy a nice fall day.        

Spiced Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes


For the cupcake-

2 2/3 Cups all-purpose flour
2 Tsp baking soda
2 Tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp instant coffee grounds
1/2 Tsp nutmeg
1 Tsp cinnamon
1/8 Tsp all spice
1/8 Tsp ground cloves
1 Tsp salt
1 Cup brown sugar
1 Cup granulated sugar
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1/2 Cup (1 Stick) butter, browned
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
4 Eggs
1/4 Cup coffee, for brushing

For the frosting-

1 Cup (2 sticks butter)
3-4 Cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp espresso (or coffee)


Preheat oven to 350.

Place cupcake liners in a cupcake tin and set aside.

Place butter in a small saucepan and place over low-medium heat.  The butter will begin to melt and crackle; stir or swirl the butter from time to time to keep from burning.  Once the butter ceases to crackle the browning should begin.  Keep over heat for another 3-4 minutes, swirling from time to time, allowing butter to brown.  You will begin to smell a rich nutty-like flavor.  Once the butter has turned brown and you smell the nutty flavor, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, coffee grounds, nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice, cloves and salt.  Mix ingredients and set aside.

Place oil, cooled brown butter, eggs and both sugars in a mixing bowl.  Using an electric, stand mixer, mix all ingredients until light and fluffy.  Add the pumpkin puree and mix to combine.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin butter mixture and mix on medium-low to combine.  Once all of the flour mixture has been added, spoon the batter in the prepared cupcake pan. 

Bake cupcakes at 350 for 18-20 minutes.  Leave the cupcakes in the pan for 2-3 minutes then remove to a cooling rack to allow to cool completely.

For the frosting-

Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip on high until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the coffe and whip until combined.  Gradually add the powdered sugar until desired consistency is achieved. 

Place the frosting in a piping bag and frost the cooled cupcakes.  Drizzle with caramel sauce.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

Recipe source: cake adapted from Williams Sonoma
                       frosting-Lynsey original

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