Fall Baking with Caramel and Pumpkin
September 19, 2013
I love fall. I love everything about fall. I love the end to the blazing hot summer here in Phoenix, I love heading into the holiday season and I LOVE fall baking. Pumpkin, caramel, apples, cinnamon, cream cheese, pies...they are my favorite flavors, and I try and mix, match and make them in as many ways as I can. These Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting are a perfect example of that. Unfortunately we don’t have many traditional fall activities here in the desert such as apple or pumpkin picking, but we do certainly enjoy working those flavors into our menu to try and get a taste of fall.
When I thought about baking up some September-Inspired Treats, using flavors like pumpkin, I was ready to preheat the oven. Pumpkin is one of my favorite things to bake with year round, and I have found it to be a fabulous asset in the kitchen, even making a great replacement for butter or oil in many muffin and cookie recipes. When I found the recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, I knew I wanted to make them and put my own spin on them. And my own spin includes caramel!
Last fall I made a pumpkin cake for my family and at the last minute poked some holes in it and poured on a little caramel ice cream topping before frosting the cake. My daughter is still, a year later, talking about this cake. I thought it would be fun to make these cupcakes into poke cupcakes and add caramel to them, the same way that I did with the cake. It is so simple, after following the directions to make your cupcakes; you simply poke some holes into the top of your cupcakes (I used a straw for mine) and spoon on a bit of caramel sauce while they are still warm. The caramel sort of soaks through the cake giving it a nice hint of caramel flavor.
I decided that the frosting needed some caramel as well. I slightly modified the recipe with my own twist, creating a delicious, but not overly sweet, Caramel Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. It is incredible. My husband has taste tested quite a few cupcakes in his day, and these were proclaimed to be one of the best cupcakes ever.
Once the cupcakes had cooled completely, I frosted them and added another small drizzle of caramel to the tops. You can easily skip this part, but it certainly makes for a lovely presentation. I also added a tiny topping of sea salt, because the only thing better than caramel is salted caramel. These can be a bit messy due to the caramel, so you may want to add the cupcakes to a second cupcake liner after removing from the cupcake pan.
I hope that you enjoy these cupcakes as much as we did! I am so ready for fall!
Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time: 15 minutes • Cook Time: 20 minutes • Serves: 24 Cupcakes
1 pkg. (2-layer size) spice cake mix
1 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
¼ cup oil
¼ caramel ice cream topping sauce
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2- 4 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup caramel ice cream topping sauce
Pinch of salt
HEAT oven to 350ºF.
BEAT first 5 ingredients with mixer until blended; spoon into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.
BAKE 20 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan for 2-3 minutes then using a straw or knife, poke 3-4 holes in the top of each cupcake. Drizzle a small amount of caramel sauce over the top of each cupcake, allowing it to sink into the poked holes. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely.
BEAT cream cheese, butter, caramel and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until blended. Gradually beat in sugar. Blend in cinnamon and salt. Spread over cupcakes. Optional, garnish with a drizzle of caramel ice cream topping sauce and pinch of sea salt.
STORE cupcakes in refrigerator.
For more recipes and ideas, visit my blog at www.lovefromtheoven.com.