It’s fall, so pumpkin desserts seem only essential. These pumpkin cupcakes were delicious; they had a soft, airy texture and weren’t overly pumpkin flavored. But, let’s be real: the true champion here is the salted caramel buttercream. It was out of this world. I used homemade salted caramel, but you could use store-bought caramel sauce as well.
Pumpkin Cupcakes (from Food and Wine)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- Grease a muffin pan or line with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves.
- In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar and eggs at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Beat in the oil, then beat in the pumpkin puree.
- Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk in 3 batches (starting and ending with dry ingredients), beating well between additions.
- Pipe/Scoop/Spoon batter into cupcake tins and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Salted Caramel Buttercream
- 8 oz cream cheese (1 package)
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 3/4 cup salted caramel
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 1/2 – 4 cups powdered sugar
- Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
- Add vanilla and salted caramel and mix until fully incorporated.
- Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, mixing between additions, until you reach desired consistency.
I am not functional without caffeine. I can (and have) had coffee-less days, but they are a rarity. It’s true that I find my eyelids feeling heavier and heavier mid day and need a little energy boost, but that aside, I really do love the taste of coffee and espresso. This salted caramel latte is delicious, and it won’t require you to stop out of your way and pay $5!
- 1 Tbsp salted caramel
- 3/4 cup cold milk (I used 1%)
- 1/4 cup caramel macchiato coffee creamer
- 2 shots of espresso
- Mix milk and coffee creamer in a cup and place in freezer for a few minutes so that it is very cold. This makes the steaming process much easier!
- Brew espresso (2 shots) and pour in a glass.
- Add salted caramel sauce and stir.
- Steam the milk mixture and pour over espresso. Use a spoon to get the last bits of foam if you have to, it’s worth it!
I made my first attempt at making salted caramel not long ago. I have to admit that I was pretty nervous – I truly thought I would end up with a pan of crystallized sugar. I was wrong! I was successful and it was delicious! The perfect amount of saltiness.
- Heat sugar and water in a larger saucepan (2-quart) at medium-high heat. The sugar will dissolve naturally, but you can use a whisk to help the process along. Once the mixture is boiling, you can swirl the pan if you think you need to mix it up a bit, but really, it isn’t necessary.
- When the bubbling mixture turns a darker amber color, add the butter. The mixture will foam up and thicken. Use a whisk to mix until the butter has all melted. Once the butter is completely melted, remove the pan from heat.
- Add the cream and continue to whisk to incorporate (it will bubble up again)
- Add the sea salt and continue to mix until the sauce is smooth. The caramel sauce will thicken up as it cools.
- Let cool for a few minutes, then pour into a re-sealable container (jar or Tupperware will work). Keep at room temperature until completely cool, then refrigerate.