I'm actually not a a "sweet eater". I tend to go for the salty savory type foods. However, I still enjoy to bake because I love the smell (taste too) and I love that you can be so creative with sweet treats and desserts.
There are few sweet treats high on my list that I really enjoy and one of those is Pumpkin Bread - it is my absolute favorite cake/bread. Especially during the fall months.
The last few months been trying out a variety of cupcake and frosting recipes getting ready to teach some decorating classes at a local community center. Yesterday, I decided make my favorite pumpkin bread recipe (I've been craving it for weeks). The recipe I use makes a lot of batter so I decided to try out some cupcake size pumpkin breads just for fun. So I don't know if you can actually call these cupcakes since it's a bread recipe. I have to say, they came out great and I adore having my own little individual pumpkin bread cup. Even my teenage son walked up the steps to tell me how delicious they were (you know they have to taste good when that happens).
Now I personally I like the pumpkin bread cupcakes plain or sprinkled with a little powedered sugar. However, for those that have a big sweet tooth in my family, I added some Cream Cheese frosting to a few cupcakes. They looked a little "plain" and non-festive for fall so a thought came to mind .. a little drizzle of Marzetti's Sweet and Salt Caramel (new product that's out and was sitting on my kitchen counter) and a sprinkle of brown-sugared candied walnuts would just make these pop! Oh, and that tad of salty would make me happy.
I used my favorite Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread Recipe from Allrecipes.com but changed it a tad by modifying the sugar. I replaced the 3 cups of white sugar asked for, to 2 3/4 cups of white sugar and 1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar. I did this because I did not have enough white sugar on hand.Ingredients:
Pumpkin Bread Cupcakes
Pumpkin Bread Cupcakes
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar (I used 2 3/4 white sugar, and 1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans. *
- In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
- Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.**
** For the cupcakes, bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
You can serve the cupcakes (or bread) plain. Or pipe cream cheese frosting, using a Wilton 1M tip, top with Marzetti's Sweet & Salt Caramel Dip (heat up in microwave to make drizzling easier) and Brown-Sugared Candied Walnuts. Recipes follow:
Cream Cheese Frosting:
Yields: About 2 cups
8 ounces cream cheese
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Grated lemon or orange zest, ground cinnamon, or liqueur of choice
Electric Mixer Method:
Have the cream cheese cold and the butter at room temperature. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until blended. Add sugar one-third at a time and beat just until smooth and the desired consistency. If frosting is too stiff, beat for few seconds longer. Do not overbeat. If desired, stir in additional flavoring to taste. This keeps, refrigerated, for about 1 week. Or freeze for up to 3 months. Soften and stir until smooth before using.
Brown-Sugar Candied Walnuts:
I just made up a quick recipe to do this.
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
3 to 4 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
sprinkle of cinnamon
1/2 tsp water
In a small heavy skillet, combine sugar, sprinkle of cinnamon, and water. Add walnuts and cook over medium heat until nuts are toasted, about 4-6 minutes.