My church does an All-Saints Carnival every year as close to November 1st as possible. There are little carnival games the kids can play and, depending on their performance, earn tickets which can be redeemed for prizes later. Last year I suggested that we should do a cake walk type of game. I was surprised to find that many people were not familiar with the cake walk game. In case you aren’t familiar with it, it is kind of like musical chairs. Usually, there is a circle of numbers made out of tape and stuck to the floor. Music is played and the people walk around in a circle until the music stops. Once the music stops, everyone claims a numbered spot, and then a number is drawn from a hat. If you have the chosen number, you win a cake. As a kid I remember thinking this game was amazing. Little kids would walk away bug-eyed and slack jawed carrying a WHOLE cake of their own, for the measly $.25 it cost to play. I wanted the kids at my church to have this experience too.
Since it was my suggestion, and I love any and every excuse to bake, I made all of the prizes. I knew I did not have enough time to make an adequate number of whole cakes for prizes, so we modified it a little and called it a “Treat Walk” instead. I made bags of caramel corn, giant chocolate chip cookies, a few cakes decorated with spiders, Oreo pops, and THESE CUPCAKES. The treat walk was a huge success and was immediately scheduled again for the following year. These pumpkin cupcakes were a big part of the success. The pumpkin cake and the cream cheese frosting are, of course, a winning combination.
Yield: 26 cupcakes; this recipe can be halved if you only need 12 cupcakes.
For the cupcakes
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1 can pumpkin (15 ounce)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
for the Cream Cheese frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- optional: a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
Optional: garnish with pumpkin mallow candies, candy corn, a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, etc.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, both sugars, and the vegetable oil until completely combined. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour mixture in at least two additions, folding with a rubber spatula until no flour pockets remain.
- Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting by beating the butter at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the cream cheese, vanilla, and salt and continue to beat for an additional 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce the mixing speed to low and add the powdered sugar gradually and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. (optional: add the teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice) Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
- Decorate with a piping bag and tip (I used a 2D) or a knife or offset spatula.
- Keep at room temperature for a few hours or less. Refrigerate for longer-term storage.
*Last year, for the treat walk, I topped each cupcake with a little candy mallow pumpkin. This made them look extra appealing to kids.
Source: Brown-eyed Baker