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clinging to fall and testing Martha

So, did I mention that I was one of the winners of Martha’s 2009 Cutest Cupcake Contest? I did? Oh right, here. Well, I’ll boast again. I was one of the winners of Martha’s 2009 Cutest Cupcake Contest, uh huh. And I won her cupcake book and have been wanting to try out a recipe.

Now, I’m mostly a baking purist because I grew up in a purist baking household. I would not could not ever dare to use anything but butter when baking. Or real sugar. And I would not could not ever dare to use a cookie mix or a brownie mix. But, alas, I heartily use cake mixes. I risk this hypocrisy because cakes and cupcakes from scratch are often dry and simply not as good as the cake mix (though I would not could not ever use canned frosting). So I had my skepticism about pulling a random recipe from the cupcake book. Foolish me. These brown butter pumpkin cupcakes from Martha are moist, soft, just the right amount of sweet and absolutely scrumptious.

pumpkin brown-butter cupcakes
{adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes}
3/4 cup butter (plus more for tins)
1 2/3 cups all-purposes flour (plus more for tins)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (I use Libby’s)
1 cup packed brown sugar (I use dark brown, Martha uses light)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter and flour muffin tins (I made a dozen minis and 6 large). Melt butter over medium-low heat in saucepan, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown. Skim foam from top and pour butter into a bowl to stop the cooking, let cool. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices. In another bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugars, eggs and brown-butter mixture. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Fill tins 3/4 full and bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. When cool, dip tops in brown-butter icing.

brown-butter icing

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup unsalted butter, swirling pan occasionally, until nut-brown in color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into bowl (leave sediment behind). Add 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar, 2 tsp. vanilla extract and 2 tblsp. milk to the butter and stir until smooth. Add more milk if necessary.

for the fondant pumpkin cupcake toppers CLICK HERE to see my previous post

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  1. Chloe
    Posted December 2, 2009 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    I find the moistness of cakes and muffins to be proportional to the amount of eggs and other 'moist' ingredients like cream cheese, oil, brown sugar, melted chocolate and fruit. So I now always look for recipes which either have these already in them, or are adaptable to include them.

  2. Kat
    Posted December 2, 2009 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    They sound yummy! I find that cupcake and cake recipes that use buttermilk are always more moist than others.

  3. Pink Little Cake
    Posted December 2, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Wow, these cupcakes look so good, I just want to leave the office and go home and make them.

  4. Sue Sparks
    Posted December 3, 2009 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Sounds good and looks good!

  5. cookies and cups
    Posted December 3, 2009 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Those look delicious! and cute!

  6. Jennifer(Savor)
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 10:46 pm | Permalink


  7. justJENN
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    I too, am a purist.

  8. Kelly
    Posted December 18, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    OK…so if you make your own frosting, will you share your recipes? I don't have a taste at all for homemade buttercream frosting and have yet to find a good homemade vanilla frosting!

  9. Chic Cookies
    Posted December 18, 2009 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks everyone! Kelly, I just use the recipe that's on the box of Domino's powdered sugar (the box, not the bag). If I recall, it's one stick of slightly softened butter, the box of powdered sugar, a tsp. of vanilla, and a few tablespoons (depending on how thick you want the frosting) and blend. That's it, super easy. I'll add a few drops of coloring sometimes. For chocolate, I think I just add cocoa powder, but I need to look at my notes…

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