These moist, lightly sweet cupcakes are perfect for all kinds of autumn celebrations...or just because everyone enjoys a treat now and then!
Satisfy your child's sweet tooth and deliver added fiber and nutrition by using flavorful pumpkin purée. Using whole wheat pastry flour in place of all-purpose white flour gives the benefit of whole grains without affecting the cupcakes' taste or texture; pumpkin purée and buttermilk both act as tenderizing agents to create a pleasingly moist crumb. These little cakes are sweet even without icing, but the lightly cinnamon-scented cream cheese frosting complements the pumpkin flavor nicely.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Prepare 2 muffin pans by spraying the cups with cooking spray or lining them with baking cups, and set aside.
Place the sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, add the pumpkin purée and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, salt, allspice and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the batter on low speed, alternating with the buttermilk; blend completely.
Fill each muffin cup with about 1/3 cup of batter, or about three-quarters full. (You may end up with a little extra batter.) Bake until the cupcakes are set in the middle, and a skewer inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove the muffin pans from the oven and let the cupcakes cool for 15 minutes, then turn them out of the pan to finish cooling on a wire rack.
To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium-size bowl and beat until smooth. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, beating until smooth and creamy. Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla.
When the cupcakes are completely cool, decorate them with the cinnamon frosting. The cupcakes can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days. Makes about 2 dozen standard cupcakes.
For an optional festive touch, sprinkle the frosting with sanding sugar (also called sparkling sugar or decorating sugar) — use stencils or cutouts to create fun shapes appropriate to the season. You’ll find it at baking/cooking supply shops and well-stocked supermarkets.
Per serving, with frosting: Calories 330, Fat 14 grams, Cholesterol 65 mg, Sodium 190 mg, Carbohydrates 49 grams, Fiber 2 grams, Sugars 39 grams, Protein 4 grams.
Percentage Daily Values per serving (based on a 2,000-calorie diet): Vitamin A 25%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 4%, Iron 4%.