Two ingredients. One delicious (pumpkin) cupcake.

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So.

Sometimes I’m all about crazy ingredient combinations. I relish creating something delicious from scratch; I become utterly absorbed in the hours-long process of sifting, combining, stirring and frosting. I wait by the oven. I allow things to cool. I pace around, reading and watching the timer, peeking into illuminated ovens and waiting. Waiting.

And sometimes, I just want to eat a cupcake.

I found this recipe by accident on Monday (thanks, Pinterest!), and it turned out to be perfect timing. I’d just moved the day before, meaning most of what I owned was still in trash bags or boxes in the living room. I was tired, grumpy; I was still feeling all kinds of out of sorts. I wasn’t used to baking anywhere than in my parents’ kitchen, which is always well-stocked and overflowing.

And ours, well . . . we’re working on it.

But never fear! I only needed two ingredients — yes, seriously, two ingredients — for these chocolate pumpkin cupcakes.

You ready?

Okay.

A boxed chocolate cake mix. (I used devil’s food.)

And a can of pumpkin.

No oil. No eggs.

Just chocolate cake mix and a can of pumpkin.

Pre-heat oven to 350. Beat pumpkin and cake mix until very well combined; batter will be super-duper thick. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full (batter will rise significantly). Bake for 20-25 minutes (I only needed 20), until toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Allow to cool. Frost as desired (I used store-bought cream cheese frosting). Garnish with pumpkin spice or sprinkles or whatever your heart desires. Rake in the compliments, feel like a total rock star.


Cupcakes cooling


And if you want to get fancy, follow The Picky Palate’s additional recipe for pumpkin spice brown butter frosting, which sounds amazing.

Or don’t, because you’re busy frolicking in fall leaves and drinking apple cider and listening to praise for your chocolate pumpkin cupcakes — all without mentioning how insanely easy they are to make.

Totally your call.

Also, I wound up bringing these to a “work potluck” yesterday that actually turned out to be . . . a surprise bridal shower for yours truly! And I may or may not have received a KitchenAid stand mixer from my coworkers. Um. I’m still kind of in shock.

And they totally have ulterior motives with that present, as they pointed out themselves . . . like bringing in more cupcakes like these.

Done and done.


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Pumpkin whoopie pies

Pumpkin whoopie pies


I’ve been stress baking.

Leading up to my sister’s wedding on Saturday, I had tons of nervous energy that I channeled rather successfully into baked goods. Keeping my hands — and head — busy, especially during transitional times, is always a good idea.

And now her wedding’s over, and I’ve been popped. Popped like a balloon.

But that’s another post. Perhaps a long, rambling post I’ll never publish. And anyway, you’re not really interested in my tasty batter of emotions, are you?! After seeing a photo like that at top?

I didn’t think so.


Whoopie pies


So, whoopie pies. I kind of felt like I was cheating on my beloved cupcakes the whole time I mixed this batter, scooping tablespoons of it onto cookie sheets rather than into muffin tins, but the whoopie pie is actually rather adorable. And delicious. I’ve seen it described as an “inside-out cupcake,” and I totally dig that description.

And since we’re officially in the thick of my favorite season, you know I had to kick autumn off with some delicious pumpkin treats. This recipe from The Baker Chick provided the perfect cake base, though I definitely cheated and did not make the suggested homemade salted caramel filling (though that sounds amazing).

Hey, c’mon — I was stress baking, not stress frosting. I totally used a store-bought buttercream and it was still outstanding. Like, this recipe made about 35 of these babies . . . and I had barely a half dozen left after a few days. Like hotcakes, I’m telling you.

So I got the satisfaction of making a dessert, and the two-bites-and-you’re-done delicious quality kept me from overindulging. Eating a single whoopie pie gave me that sweet taste I craved without going crazy.

Though you could totally go crazy eating these. It’s not a giant leap.


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Recipe from The Baker Chick

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes

Yield: Approximately 30 sandwich cookies

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup canola oil
3 cups pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a sil-pat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk sugars and oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth and well-combined. Gradually mix the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture, stirring until just combined.

Use a small ice cream scoop to drop a heaping tablespoon of dough onto the baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

To assemble, pipe buttercream or cream cheese frosting onto the flat side of one of the cookies and place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges. Repeat until all the cookies are used.


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My growingly alarming pumpkin obsession

My Friday off — also to be known forevermore as the day my pumpkin obsession reached a fever pitch . . . and a point of no return. If I’d gotten over to Starbucks for my pumpkin spice latte, I think I would have had to enter gourd rehab. Instead, I got this early this morning, having breakfast with my sister and grandparents at Einstein’s:

A pumpkin bagel with pumpkin cream cheese! Now, if that doesn’t cure your pumpkin hankering . . . nothing can.

After I got my haircut (yay!), we came back home to take our family holiday photo and regroup. Then it was off to the pumpkin patch! Earlier in the month, I fretted over the possibility that it wouldn’t open this year — the first year in my recollection that we wouldn’t be able to gather up our favorite orange gourds. Well, rest assured — the stand is open, we got the pumpkins — and now all that’s left is to carve those babies.

Then we followed it all up with a little of my grandmother’s homemade pumpkin and cranberry bread. I only wish I were kidding.

And I’m wearing an orange sweater today!

Another delightful, pumpkin-filled afternoon! And once Halloween is over, I’ll still have Thanksgiving to look forward to . . . all those pumpkin pies . . .