Pear Spice Cupcakes with Honey Mascarpone Frosting

FallFall is the best time of year.  It’s finally cool and no longer humid, boot wearing weather!  Plus it’s leaf peeping time!  Looking at the beautiful colors of the fall is one of the few times that I love the weather in New England.  

Pear

Going apple picking is one of my favorite fall activities.  If you spend any time on Pinterest you know that apples and pumpkins get all the credit in the fall recipe arena.  The apple and pumpkin definitely dominate most of the recipes you see at this time of the year.  But everyone forgets that fall is also pear season!  I love pear picking just as much as apple picking.  Plus pear recipes at this time of year seem so much more unique than an apple or pumpkin recipe.

For Cupcakes

[Inspired by Annie Eats]

Makes 16 cupcakesPear spice

  • 3 medium pears peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar plus 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 1 and 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 Tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash of ginger
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 2 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla bean paste (found on Amazon)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of water in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the pears, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook mixture until the pears are fork tender, about 7-8 minutes.  Set pear mixture aside.
  3.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light in color.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and mix to combine.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  6. Add in half of the flour mixture into the sugar, butter, and egg mixture and mix to combine.  Add in half of the milk.  Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and milk until all ingredients are combined.
  7. Fold in cooked pears until well combined in the batter.
  8. Divide batter among the cupcake pans and cook the cupcakes for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For FrostingPear spice

  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp. milk (as necessary)
  1. Cream together butter and mascarpone cheese until combined.  Add in honey.
  2. Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time until well combined.
  3. If the mixture is too thick, add in a little bit of milk at a time until you get your desired consistency.
  4. Frost cupcakes.

These cupcakes taste like a bite of fall!  The pears make it so these cupcakes almost can’t dry out.  I had one when they were fresh and one from the freezer a week later and they tasted just as good as the first day.  The honey mascarpone frosting is pretty sweet but the actual cupcake isn’t super sugary so it balances out when you eat them together.  I brought these cupcakes into work and someone told me the cupcakes reminded her of her childhood.  She couldn’t quite pin point why but I’m going to assume that is a good thing!

Apples Part Two

**This post is dedicated to a Miss Nip Glit who told me to get my butt posting**

The weather is changing and fall is coming upon us, so that means fall flavored cupcakes!  I debated over pumpkin, apple, and wait for it…sweet potato and decided to go with the the pumpkin cupcakes.  Super excited to do pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, I headed to the store to pick up a few ingredients.  Well, there was no pumpkin anywhere to be found!  So sad!  After some research I found out that there’s another pumpkin shortage this year (last year the crop got flooded out) because so many pumpkins were destroyed by Irene.  First that biotch ruined my Sunday dinner when we lost electricity and now she’s messing up my cupcakes!

On to plan B…apple cupcakes!  Last year it was the caramel apple cupcakes and this year I went with apple pie a la mode.  When I was looking for the canned pumpkin, I saw some apple pie filling and decided to just go with it.  A spiced apple cake with apple pie filling and vanilla bean frosting?  Yes please!

I looked at tons of recipes to try to put this one together but there wasn’t a great spiced cake recipe to go off of so I pretty much had to work on the fly while I was making them and just make up the recipe.  It worked surprisingly well and I’d use it again for the base of another spiced cupcake.

I have to admit that I didn’t actually try the finished product but I did try the cake part and it was light, moist, and delicious.  And considering they were topped with my favorite frosting, how bad could they be??  

 Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 can apple pie filling (divided in half and chopped into small pieces)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 12 liners.
  2. Beat butter until smooth and add sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy and mix in vanilla extract.
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time.  In a separate bowl, whisk together all remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Add in half of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixing until incorporated, then add in half of the water.
  5. Mix in remaining flour mixture and then water until just incorporated.
  6. Fold in half of the apple pie filling to the batter and fill 12 cupcake liners evenly.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Once the cupcakes cooled, I cut out the centers and filled them with the remaining apple pie filling.  They were frosted with my favorite swiss meringue buttercream.  Even though I didn’t try the final cupcake put together, I’m going to go out a limb and say they were pretty good because well that’s what they tell me and I like to believe it.  Plus, the actual cake part that I did try was pretty damn good, so I can only imagine that the whole thing together was good.  Plus, my Boy Cupcake stole three from the party I brought them to, so they had to be pretty good I guess.
xoxo,
~CurlyCupcake

Zucchini Fresh from the Farmer’s Market!

This is the line I kept repeating to my coworkers as they ate my newest adventure in cupcake…zucchini spice cupcakes.  I was inspired by a recipe for summer squash cake that I found on Foodgawker.  I had gone to Maine for the weekend with Lenny and Susical and we went to the farmer’s market and bought about five pounds of summer squash and zucchini for maybe $2.  I seriously thought the woman had the price wrong when she said it but everything in Maine costs a penny anyway (seriously, you can take $20 out of the ATM and have an awesome night out on the town and still find money leftover in your wallet the next morning).  Anyway, we ended up eating all of the summer squash on the grill that night but look home a huge zucchini that we had to do something with.  After I saw the recipe for squash cake, a light bulb went off in my head realizing that duh, I could do something like this with my farmer’s market zucchini!

I really liked the idea of the squash/zucchini cake recipe but I had to make some modifications, I mean a recipe with 2 cups of vegetable oil is just ridiculous in my opinion (and probably your’s too I’m guessing).  They actually turned out great with my additions/subtractions and stayed really moist from the zucchini, you won’t even miss all of that extra oil and such.  Here is my recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp. crystalized ginger chopped (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Directions

1. Set your oven to 350 degrees and line the cupcake pan with 18 liners…this will obviously take more than 1 pan if you only have the 12 cupcake pan like me.  I’ve found that since a lot of recipes make 18 cupcakes it’s handy to have a cupcake tin that bakes 6 so you don’t have to fill up two whole pans.

1. In a large bowl beat eggs and add in oil, vanilla and zucchini.  Mix only until combined.

2. Whisk together all dry ingredients (sugar, flour, cinnamon, pie spice, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a separate bowl.

3. With the mixer on medium low add in the flour mixture in three batches making sure to completely mix everything in after each addition.

4. Fill cupcake tins 2/3 the way full and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

While the delicious spiced aroma fills your kitchen, it’s time to start working on the frosting.  This cupcake is pretty reminiscent of a carrot cake, and what goes better with spiced vegetable cake than cream cheese frosting?  On a side note, spiced vegetable cake sounds horrible, but I promise these cupcakes will be awesome.  Ok, moving on to the frosting which is easy peasy:

Ingredients

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature (I used 1/3 less fat)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Directions

1. Mix together butter and cream cheese until well combined.

2. Add in sugar, mixing in one cup at a time

3. Add in vanilla extract until fully combined

All you have to do is top the cupcake with a whole mess of frosting and viola, people are raving about them.  I brought them into work and got tons of compliments on them.  People were eating them without even knowing what kind of cupcakes they were (those diabetes doctors will tend to do that, they go for all of the sugar).  I kept telling people “They’re zucchini spice cupcakes.  Made with zucchini fresh from the farmers market!”.  People love them even more when you say you made them with farmer’s market ingredients…people in the city are suckers for their farmer’s markets.  I think I’m going to have to look for more veggies in the farmer’s market to turn into cupcakes, it’s such an adventure!

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Chistmas in July

Merry Christmas in July!

I’m going back about about seven months here to the cupcakes I made for my friend/coworker Kristin for her family’s Christmas visit.  We talked a lot about what to make but she just went with “I’ll eat any cupcake you make.  I trust you”.  A lot of people say this when I make cupcakes for them and let me tell you, it’s a lot of pressure!

I finally suggested an adapted Martha recipe of spiced eggnog cupcake with eggnog frosting, and she seemed to love this idea (at least that’s what she told me).  I mean who doesn’t love this stuff, I can’t get enough of it at Christmas time.  My mom used to tell me that when she was little she would poke a pin hole in the eggnog carton and suck it out thinking her parents wouldn’t know since the carton wasn’t open.  So, I’m prettu sure my egnog love is genetic, thanks mom.

Martha’s recipe was just a spiced cake so I decided that instead of milk I’d use eggnog instead.  Now if we’re talking eggnog you obviously have to put rum (about 1/4 cup of spiced rum) in there…obviously I like to put alcohol in my cupcakes, huh?  I took a few things out of Martha’s recipe too.  I didn’t have allspice in my kitchen and since there were lots of other spices in there I just decided to leave it out.  I also didn’t have mace, and quite frankly, it kind of freaked me out to put something that’s I assume is in pepper spray in my cupcakes.  

How about the frosting you ask?  Well here it is:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4-6 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons eggnog
  • 1-2 tablespoons spiced rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Basically I just mixed the butter and sugar together adding 1 tablespoon of rum then 1 tablespoon at a time of eggnog until you get to the desired consistency.  I’m going to admit something here though, I completely forgot to add the rum and didn’t realize until the cupcakes were decorated.  BUT, if I had added the rum, that is how I would have done it.

To decorate, I started by frosting all of the cupcakes with the white frosting, then tinted about 1/2 cup frosting red for the berries, and the rest green for the wreath.  I used a #102 decorating tip to pipe layers of the leaves around and finished them by adding berries with a #1 decorating tip.

I never got to eat these cupcakes since I only made a dozen and gave all of them to Kristin to share with her family but from what she tells me, she liked them.  But, she says this about most of my cupcakes so either she’s never met a cupcake she doesn’t like, or she’s just being nice.  But knowing Kristin, I’m inclined to believe the former.

These were a fun adventure to dive into on a snowy Boston Sunday afternoon.  I pretty much love making any cupcake that let’s me practice my piping skills.

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake