October 8, 2011

i'm thankful for...

Thanksgiving: historically a holiday to celebrate and give thanks for a good harvest, and for a community to come together and rejoice after a season of hard work. Well, I didn't sow my own grains or mill my own flour but that doesn't mean a lot of hard work hasn't been done this year. This Thanksgiving I'm grateful for family. And friends. And wonderful opportunities. And pumpkin puree. And gumpaste.

Many pansy species bloom in the fall and with such rich colours I thought they would make a lovely topping to some fall-inspired pumpkin spice cupcakes.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes:
recipe yields ~24 

1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp all spice or ground cloves
2 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together eggs and both brown and white sugar. Add eggs and vanilla extract and continue mixing. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice in separate bowl. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing until incorporated. Mix on high for additional 2 minutes. Line baking tray with cupcake inserts. Carefully place batter into inserts and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into cupcakes comes out clean. 
Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing:
recipe yields 2-3 cups

2/3 cup egg whites
1 cup white sugar
2 cups butter (4 sticks)
1/2 cup cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat egg whites in a double boiler stirring frequently so that egg whites do not become cooked. Slowly add sugar and mix thoroughly for about 5 minutes or until mixture reaches 55C. Transfer mixture to mixing bowl and whip on high until stiff peaks form. Switch mixer attachment to paddle and slowly incorporate butter. Turn the speed up until mixture becomes uniform. Add vanilla and cream cheese and continue to mix until incorporated and mixture is creamy.

Don't forget to give thanks at your dinner table this Sunday! Happy Thanksgiving!