Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

I’ve done a fair bit of ‘bake myself happy’ recently after continuous bad news.

Last weekend my grandparents were in a car accident. They’re ok, just very battered and bruised. It’s just very scary though thinking about all the ‘what if’s’. Things like that make you realise how short life is, and to say what you mean. Even when there are no long term effects, things like this always make you stop and think.

Then, I get a call from a work colleague telling me that another colleague had a massive heart attack and died. Which felt like a giant slap in the face. She wasn’t old or severely overweight. She had some health problems, but certainly nothing that would allow such a situation to be expected. I wasn’t especially close to her, but I still worked with her every day, exchanged pleasantries. The day before she passed she told me I should be proud of what I had accomplished after my photo was sent around the Company newsletter. Another reminder that life is short and unexpected. Accidents happen, crazy things happen and you can never be sure of the next day.

So, clearly, with my boyf overseas and uncontactable, I baked. I baked to ignore the ‘what if’ situations, I baked to make sure that those physically around me (the only person being my roommate) was smiling with cake in her hand.

I had a bar of cream cheese in my fridge so anything I cooked would somehow involve that. Firstly I made meatballs, with cream cheese. It may sound weird, but it’s totally delicious. It just adds a slightly creaminess to the meat. The following night I made a small chicken roast stuffed with cream cheese, garlic, lemon and chives. That was amazing. Although really, do you care about the dinners I make? I didn’t think so. Proceed with the cake!

These cakes are so delicious. The cake itself is spicy and so light and soft it could be a lovely orange cloud. Although the spices shine through more than the pumpkin flavour so I’d probably not add so much next time. Still, I can’t express how amazing these are – and with cream cheese frosting? No contest.

2 1/4 cups plain flour
1tbspn baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
125g butter
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup chopped pecans
125g cream cheese
50 butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Take the cream cheese out of the fridge to soften.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices.

Cream the butter and sugar; beat in the eggs, one at a time. Blend in the pumpkin.

Stir in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk and stir in the pecans.

Bake for 15-20mins at 180 degrees. Check at 15mins until a skewer comes out clean.

Frosting - Smoosh the cream cheese until it’s smooth. Beat in the butter until well incorporated. Stir through the icing sugar. Taste test to make sure it has the desired sweetness.

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