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orange vanilla bean cupcakes

I made these Orange Vanilla Bean Cupcakes over the weekend after seeing them pop up on Annie’s Eats on Friday. They taste great and are really elegant, too. They would be perfect for a spring baby or bridal shower. Actually, they’d be great if you’re just hungry for an amazing cupcake. As I said, you can find the original recipe right here at Annie’s Eats.  Enjoy, and tell her that Mike sent you.

pumpkin spice latte cupcakes

It seems like cupcake stores are popping up on every corner these days. And don’t get me wrong, that’s not the worst thing in the world to happen.  I’d much rather pass twenty cupcakeries than twenty drug stores or cash-advance establishments. My issue is that the cupcakes are rarely stupendous. Yes, there are inventive flavors and fun toppings. However, the taste, the texture, the essence of the cupcake is rarely great.

When I came across this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes over on Annie’s Eats, I knew that I’d found something special.  First, I love anything pumpkin-flavored. And it doesn’t matter to me that the major pumpkin holidays are over. Also, I just knew that the addition of the instant espresso powder would take these little cakes to new heights. It most certainly did.

I altered the recipe slightly for the more coffee-averse among us. Annie brushes strong coffee over the cooled cupcakes. I found that the three tablespoons of instant espresso powder in the batter was just enough of a flavor kick. I also swapped her whipped cream frosting for a cinnamon-butter cream frosting of my own.

This recipe makes a full two dozen cupcakes.  Don’t even think about splitting the recipe in half. I’ve never baked anything that has been more universally adored. Bake them all and give them to people you love. Heck, give them to people you just barely like. They’ll love you for it. (Author’s note: I love everyone that has received one or more of these cupcakes from me.)

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes - adapted from Annie’s Eats
Yield: about 2 dozen cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp. espresso powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the garnish:

  • store-bought caramel topping

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Stir together and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixture on low-speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.

Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans.  Let cool completely.

In the bowl of a mixer with a whisk attachment, beat butter and confectioners sugar until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add cream and cinnamon and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Pipe or slather on cupcakes. Drizzle with caramel topping.

Coming to tomorrow for day 3 of 5 Days of Sweets, Chocolate Caramels with Sea Salt. Little chewy bites of sweet and salty deliciousness.

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