Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pumpkin Caramel Cupcakes

My friend asked for a chocolate, pumpkin, caramel cake for his birthday. This is what I came up with. It is perfect. The chips give it some extra texture and the cream cheese frosting keeps it from being too sweet.


* 2 cups sugar
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 4 large eggs
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* pinch of ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups pumpkin puree or cooked mashed pumpkin
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions for pumpkin cake
Combine sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl; mix well. Sift dry ingredients into a separate bowl; stir into oil mixture, beating well. Stir in pumpkin puree and vanilla. Add chocolate chips

bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean..

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese
2 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
9 oz powdered sugar, sifted (2 cups)

Combine cream cheese and butter on medium speed until blended. Add vanilla and beat until combined. On low add powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each batch.

Caramel sauce

* 1 cup of sugar
* ½ cup water (optional)
* 6 Tbsp butter
* 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 Heat sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan.optional: add a half cup of water to the sugar, this will help the sugar to cook more evenly, though it will take longer as the water will need to evaporate before the sugar will caramelize.

2. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want, from this point on.

3 As soon as all of the sugar crystals have melted (the liquid sugar should be dark amber in color), immediately add the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted.

4 Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Count to three, then slowly add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate. Note than when you add the butter and the cream, the mixture will foam up considerably. This is why you must use a pan that is at least 2-quarts (preferably 3-quarts) big. (Check here for an explanation of why adding the cream makes the mixture bubble up so much.)

5 Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass mason jar and let sit to cool to room temperature. (Remember to use pot holders when handling the jar filled with hot caramel sauce.) Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving.
Makes a little over one cup of sauce.

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