I've been wanting to experiment with a new pumpkin muffin/cupcake recipe this fall. Not because I don't love my old faithful (click here for recipe), but because I wanted something a bit less muffin-y and more cake-y, so that I could frost it with a browned butter cream cheese frosting. I've been into browning butter when baking for a few months now (see Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies and Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispies), and I thought it might make these fall cupcakes even more warm and cozy on a cold and rainy day like today. These are great classic pumpkin cupcakes/muffins and could also be served without frosting if you want to throw in a few chocolate chips or nuts or dried cranberries, or all of the above. Cupcake recipe adapted from Paula Deen's, although just now I realized I forgot to add all of the baking powder and they still turned out great.... and the frosting I sorta made up as I went.
1 cup vegetable oil
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder (apparently optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
With an electric mixer on medium speed beat together the oil, sugar, eggs, and pumpkin until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes. In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat on low until incorporated. Pour into prepared muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.
1 stick butter
12 ounces cream cheese, softened for about 30 minutes
2.5-3.5 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Take the butter and cut the stick in half. Cube half and place in a small bowl and set aside. Place the other half a stick of butter in a small pan and turn the burner on medium heat. Stir the butter with a spatula, scraping the bottom until butter is browned (the butter will first bubble a lot, then calm down, then brown pieces will begin to form on the bottom of the pan- scrape them up and continue cooking just a bit longer). Pour browned butter on top of other butter in the small bowl and stir together until all butter is melted.
With an electric mixer begin beating the cream cheese while adding the butter mixture and the vanilla. Add the sugar, about a 1/2 cup at a time, tasting as you go until desired sweetness. You may add a bit of milk if you find it too thick, but I prefer a thicker frosting. Frost cupcakes and eat!