the last of the pumpkins

Everyone. Loves. Fall. I am no exception to the rule, and ever since AB and I moved into our first place together, I’ve fully embraced fall colors and flavors in my home decor and on my dinner table from the beginning of September right up until Thanksgiving (after which Christmas takes over, of course).

mini pumpkinsFall is when I start craving warm things. Warm food, warm colors, warm blankets. Fall is crisp, sunny days. It is sweater weather. Anyone who knows me knows I love a good sweater, even the ones without sleeves. Fall is full of warm hues – reds, oranges, and yellows that make it easier for even me to bid adieu to my favorite color of all, green, until spring. And fall is ALL about pumpkins.

When fall comes around, I go crazy with the pumpkins. Inside, outside, in food.

So, this post will pay homage to the almighty pumpkin and detail my two favorite ways to use ‘kins: in my seasonal and ever-changing decor and in cupcakes. These cupcakes I speak of are not ordinary pumpkin-flavored cupcakes. They are everything that is pumpkin and good in this world. I’ve made them twice already this fall and will be making them again next week for Thanksgiving. People will be thankful. The recipe is below if you’re impatient!

My favorite way to decorate with real pumpkins is to use lots of the mini variety. I like to call them punks. I like to abbreve abbreviate. My mom used to have an extremely fat, white cat named Punkin, so I always think of the name Punkin when I say the word pumpkin. Hence punks. Anyway, I love little pumpkins because no matter how much space you have, you can always find places to fit these charming, little fall relics. Last year, I spent an embarrassing amount of money on pumpkins, big and small, for both our front porch/walkway and the inside of our house. This year, I didn’t have quite as much space to cover with my pumpkin obsession in our cozy DC apartment, but that didn’t stop me from bringing the colors of fall inside for us to enjoy.

Our mantle got the most dramatic pumpkin treatment. I staggered mini pumpkins around a framed fall-themed picture of me and AB and propped them up on gold candlesticks of varying heights. Other punks rest on cake stands and shelves around the apartment. The best thing about mini pumpkins is that they last for months. We’ve had ours up since the beginning of September, and they are still in perfect shape.

Now, about these cupcakes… they are deliciously moist, boast the perfect amount of sweet, and are perfectly-spiced pumpkin cupcakes. I pipe them full of pumpkin pie, and I top them with cream cheese frosting. I recently made them for a small dinner party we hosted for friends here in DC, so since I was preparing multiple dishes at once, I didn’t get pictures of the baking process. So for those of you who like pictures of eggs before they’re cracked, ingredients before they’re married, and kitchen tools working diligently, please accept my sincerest apologies!

Pumpkin Pie-Filled Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp coarse Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 15 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 1 frozen or fresh pumpkin pie
  • Cream cheese frosting

Recipe:

(Makes roughly 32 cupcakes) Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl (use a stand mixer if you have one; if not, a hand mixer works just as well), cream together butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and eggs.

In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (AP flour through allspice on the list above).

Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix until smooth. Repeat with the second third. Then, the third.

Add pumpkin puree, and mix until smooth.

Divide heavenly batter evenly among cupcake liners, bake for 20-22 minutes.

pumpkin pie cupcakes

Let cool completely, then with an apple corer, remove a bit of the center of each cupcake.

Pipe pumpkin pie filling into center of cupcakes. For this step, I typically buy a fresh pumpkin pie at the store, or I’ll grab a frozen pumpkin pie in the freezer section. Buying pumpkin pie filling would probably work as well, but I scoop the filling out of the pie crust to pipe it into the cupcakes. The crust is used for other things (usually AB’s snacking enjoyment).

Frost with cream cheese frosting. Homemade is better and simple, but pre-made works in a pinch.

pumpkin cupcakes

Enjoy the last of this year’s pumpkins! And Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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