Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick ( 1/2 cup ) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin puree
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. line a cupcake pan with 18 liners.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 min. Add the eggs, one at time, scraping down the sides after each addition.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Add vanilla to the buttermilk. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Do not overbeat. Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners, filling about 3/4 full. Rap the filled pan on the counter once to release any air bubbles. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely on a rack.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8-oz. pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, room temperature
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp maple extract
Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl and add the sugar and mix in slowly, then beat until smooth. Scrape sides and beat in the maple syrup, and for a stronger maple flavor, the extract. Spoon into pastry bag fitted with large opening tip, and pipe frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Chill for 30 minutes to firm up the frosting.