After seeing this recipe at Shutterbean, I decided to make it for Thanksgiving with my family. Instead of making a cake, I made mini cupcakes – it made 60!
Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Icing and Caramelized Walnuts
yields about 60 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 2/3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground allspice
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1-15 oz. can of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup warm (110 degrees) milk
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line mini cupcake tin with mini cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and applesauce together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, and beat until combined. Add pumpkin puree and milk; beat until combined. Add reserved flour mixture; beat on low speed until just combined.
Fill mini cupcake tins 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 12-15 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. (For regular sized cupcakes, bake 20-25 minutes).
Allow cupcakes to cool for about five minutes in pan then remove to wire rack. Ice and top with caramelized walnuts.
For the Icing:
4 T butter
1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 T milk
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until nut-brown in color, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.
Add sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk; stir until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add the remaining tablespoon milk, a little at a time, until consistency is spreadable. Let cool 5 minutes. Use immediately.
For the Caramelized Walnuts:
About 1 cup sugar
well-shaped, large walnut halves (about 60)
In a small skillet, melt sugar over medium-high heat until medium golden, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Working quickly, drop walnut halves, one at a time, into the melted sugar. If the sugar hardens, return skillet to low heat, and stir several minutes. Using a fork, turn walnuts until they are evenly coated. Transfer walnuts to a wire rack to cool completely. Use to decorate cupcakes.