Tag cupcake

Let Your Inner Mad Scientist Out: Halloween Pumpkin Spice Cupcake Recipe

It is officially Crunch Time. If you are like the majority of individuals with busy bee lives, you let the month of October slip by without taking the time to make your Halloween game plan. Not to fear, Parties That Cook is here! (Can you tell who the adult in the homemade superhero costume is going to be?) These delicious Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting are so easy to make, you might just be able to find your Halloween costume while you bake!  Easily preserved in the freezer, you can whip up the batter and frosting when you have time, and bring them back to life for each of the Halloween parties you’ll attend -you party animal. Friends, coworkers, your child’s 4th grade class are all guaranteed to love these moist and flavorful treats!

Want to have even more fun in the kitchen? Let your inner mad scientist out –just for a little while –and enter your most decorated batch of Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting in our Halloween Cupcake Photo Contest! Spiders, ghosts, pumpkins, zombies, skeletons, and other creepy-crawlies are all invited to take part, though design is entirely up to you. Cupcakes will be judged on presentation, creativity, and overall visual appeal. The winner will receive a $50 Gift Card to Sur La Table, one of our favorite cooking stores!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
This crowd-pleasing recipe can also be found in our Dessert Recipes section!


2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
1 15oz can of pumpkin
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
1 stick butter
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
1 one-pound box powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon kosher salt

oven to 350ºF.

Cake: Cream together granulated sugar, oil, pumpkin and eggs until well mixed, about 2 minutes.  In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt.  Add to the wet ingredient and mix until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds (but don’t over mix).

Bake: Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Pour batter into the cupcake liners and bake at 350 for 12 minutes if making mini cupcakes or 15-20 minutes if making larger cupcakes (or you can make it into a cake by pouring the batter into a greased 10×13 pan and baking for 35-45 minutes).  Cool completely on a cooling rack.

Buttercream: Beat butter and cream cheese on high speed for 2 minutes. Add sugar, vanilla and salt.  Mix until smooth. Frost each cupcake generously with frosting. 

Decorate and serve. Makes 24 regular size cupcakes or 48 mini-cupcakes

For more super simple Holiday desserts and appetizers, check out our Holiday Recipes section. Speaking of the holidays, check out our just-posted Thanksgiving and Holiday Appetizer cooking classes, available in San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle this fall and winter.

Shopping Local: Highland Ave. in Somerville, MA

Contributed by Guest Blogger Katherine Hunt

I just finished a little pre-writing snack: two slices of bread, toasted, spread with cheese. Simple, but made with extraordinary components. The bread contained kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, and garlic, and emerged from the oven only a few hours before I picked it up. It came from When Pigs Fly bakery, on Highland Ave. in Somerville, Massachusetts, which I pass on my walk home from work.

When I stopped in tonight, the woman behind the counter greeted me, as she usually does, with samples from three or four different fresh-baked loaves. I tried a slice of the apple-cinnamon, which tasted spicy and sweet, but still like bread, not dessert. Then I picked out my loaf from selections that ranged from the mundane – sourdough, multigrain, whole wheat – to the exotic – potato, rosemary and chives; green olive and sweet pepper. Good, basic bread makes the perfect blank canvas for such culinary creativity, and I’m always delighted to try whatever concoction the staff of When Pigs Fly has to offer me.

Then, I ventured next-door to Kick Ass Cupcakes and Dairy Bar for more provisions. The concept of this place, as its name suggests, approaches perfection: they sell fresh-made cupcakes and dairy products. And that’s about it. The dairy products come from local sources: Vermont and New Hampshire farms, mostly.

This particular evening, I bought a small container of soft goat cheese and a half-gallon of skim milk, which, I swear, tastes better than the watery stuff I get from most other stores. Then, I picked out a pair of cupcakes, even though they weren’t technically on my list of staples: one of my favorites, the mojito flavor, which tastes like it has a shot of rum baked into it, and the other, a reliably delicious vanilla.

These two stores share a mission – they focus on the quality of what they sell, not the variety of their products. And while I appreciate the quality, I love them most for their specificity (not that you can totally separate the two). I love that, on my walk from the train to my apartment each day, I can stop in at a few small stores, without massive lines and an overwhelming array of selections, and get my milk and bread. And, of course, my dessert.

I feel like I’m shopping in an older model, before chain grocery stores consolidated bakers, butchers, and produce vendors under one roof. This strip of Highland Ave. isn’t perfect – no stores sell meat or veggies, for example. But it provides an easy, local, delicious supplement to the big grocery store a few blocks away, and for that I am grateful. And above all, I am grateful for my mojito cupcake.

Boston-based freelance writer and editor Katherine Hunt may be reached at huntkr@gmail.com.