Pumpkin Bourbon Cupcakes with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting!

wp-1476136937735.jpgFall is here, hooray! This cupcake turns the season of Fall into an edible treat– with its luscious pumpkin, cozy bourbon, warm spices, and sugared-and-spices pecans. MmMmM

Taste of DC took place this past weekend, and I wanted to come up with a unique, seasonal treat to bring. This cupcake hit and exceed the mark. Everyone loved it– whether you usually are a “sweets person” or not, you will enjoy this balanced, flavorful, boozy cupcake.

The cake is super-moist and perfectly spiced. The frosting is velvety smooth and bursting with that sweet cream cheese flavor. There is bourbon in the cake as well as in the frosting. The bourbon-flavor is subtle– not overpowering, but definitely distinct. Finally it’s all topped off with a homemade sugared-and-spiced pecan.

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The cupcake as a whole is well-balanced– not too sweet, just the right treat.

Let’s make them, shall we?!

This recipe makes about 2 dozen cupcakes.

Ingredients:
The cake part:
1 3/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon corn starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons bourbon or whiskey – I use Knob Creek
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 15oz can pumpkin puree

The frosting part:
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 8oz brick cream cheese, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons bourbon or whiskey – I use Knob Creek

The pecan part:
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups (8oz) pecans

Directions:
First, let’s make the cupcakes.

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with baking liners. Set aside.
2) In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and corn starch. Set aside.
3) In a large bowl, combine the applesauce, oil, eggs, sugar, bourbon, and pumpkin. Whisk well. Then, fold in the dry ingredients, until just combined. Make sure not to over-mix.
4) Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake in the oven 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes in the muffin pan, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on a wire baking rack. When they’re cool completely, frost!

To make the frosting…
1) Cream together butter and cream cheese until fluffy (make sure they are both at room temperature first– that’ll make mixing them together much easier).
2) Add half of the powdered sugar and 1 T bourbon. Mix at a low speed until the sugar is incorporated.
3) Add in the remaining sugar and 1 T bourbon. Mix at a low speed until the sugar is incorporated, and then a high speed for about a minute to create that silky smooth frosting.
4) Frost the cupcakes!

And finally, the topper– the pecans:
1) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
2) In a medium-sized bowl, combined the sugar and spices. Set aside.
3) In another bowl, beat the egg white, water, and vanilla until white and frothy. It will expand in size. Pour the pecans into the egg white mixture, and stir.
4) Scoop the pecans out of the egg white mixture bowl and into the sugar mixture bowl. Use a spatula to stir the pecans and evenly distribute all of the sugary goodness.
5) Spread the pecans out on the baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring half-way through.
6) YUM taste some warm! Once they’re cool, top each cupcake with one!

(You can make the pecans ahead of time. Just store the cooled pecans in an airtight container until you’re ready to use them)

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Make these beauties for your next Fall feast, pumpkin themed party, Thanksgiving, or…just because! #treatyoself amIright?!

Happy Fall y’all, enjoy!!

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