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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

OXO Good Cupcake - Pumpkin & Caramel

First - remember to enter my Fall picnic giveaway!  Last day to enter!!!

With the official start of Fall this past Sunday, I'm ready to break out the apples, pumpkins and fennel.  While at the grocery store this week I decided to stock up on canned pumpkin for the inevitable pumpkin recipes that I want to make.  And believe me, I've got a list of sweets and savories that I want to whip up before everyone gets fed up with pumpkin.  My first pumpkin-filled treat is for the OXO Cookies for Kids' Cancer - Bake a Difference campaign!

For each blog post, OXO will be donating $100 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer!  Having worked in oncology for the past few years, I know how important funding for cancer research is and I was more than happy to be a part of this campaign.

As a part of this program, OXO also sent me some fun tools to help create a delicious cupcake.  Along with new measuring cups and spoons, OXO sent along a cupcake corer!  You know, one of those tools that takes the middle out of a cupcake so you can fill it with something delicious.

Filling them with something delicious is just what I did.  These cupcakes are plain vanilla, a perfect backdrop for all the other flavors going on here.  I cored the cupcakes and then filled them with a salted caramel sauce.  Once the tops were replaced, I topped them with a healthy serving of pumpkin pie frosting.

Then I ate one of them for breakfast.  For taste testing purposes, of course.

The one I had for lunch was because the first one was delicious.

One Year Ago: Ramen Vegetable Soup
Two Years Ago: Pomegranate Ice Cream
Three Years Ago: Best Banana Bread

Pumpkin-frosted, Caramel-filled Vanilla Cupcakes

These cupcakes take a little bit of planning ahead.  You should make the caramel sauce and cupcakes on one day.  On day two, core and fill the cupcakes and make the frosting.

Caramel Sauce

 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine sugar, water and salt in a 2-quart saucepan.  Warm over medium heat, swirling the contents by the handle, until the sugar dissolves.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Continue swirling (do not stir) until the mixture reaches a walnut brown color.

Remove from heat and add butter and heavy cream.  Stir with a long handled spoon because the it will spit and bubble up.  Turn heat to low and return pot to the stove.  Stir until all the butter is melted and the caramel is smooth.  Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla extract.

Let caramel sauce cool for 10 minutes in the pan.  Pour into an air-tight container and allow to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge.

Vanilla Cupcakes
Adapted from Cupcakes!

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 ºF.  Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a large bowl, beat egg, egg yolk and sugar on medium high until light yellow and slightly thickened.  Turn mixer on low and stream in vegetable oil and vanilla extract.  Add sour cream and mix until you see no more streaks.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add flour mixture all at once.  Mix on low until everything is incorporated and the batter is smooth.  Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each cupcake paper.  Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until tops are puffed and cupcakes are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 minute on a wire rack.  Remove cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely before filling and frosting.

Pumpkin Frosting
From Frostings

1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 tablespoon heavy cream

Beat butter on medium speed for 2 minutes, until creamy.  Scrape down sides and add pumpkin.  Beat for 1 minute to combine.  Scrape down sides and begin adding powdered sugar.  Add sugar 1 cup at a time.  Beat until smooth.  Add salt, vanilla extract and spices, beat until spices are incorporated.  Add heavy cream and beat for 2 minutes until fluffy.  Transfer to a piping bag and set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Put the cupcakes together!!!

Using a cupcake corer, or small knife, remove the center of the cupcake.  Add 1 teaspoon caramel sauce to the hole and replace cupcake top.  Pipe on a dollop of pumpkin frosting and enjoy!
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