Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Sugar Frosting

Happy Thanksgiving! Today I am responsible for bringing a dessert to Thanksgiving Dinner. I decided to make Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Sugar Frosting. The cupcake recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen, and the frosting is a twist on a basic buttercream recipe (Smitten Kitchen's frosting recipe is probably great, too, but I didn't have all the ingredients!)

When I made the cupcakes, I accidentally forgot to add the vanilla extract. That is the second time I have done that while baking this week! I need to get myself together. Regardless, they still came out great! Here's how to make them:

Pumpkin Cupcakes:
(yielded 24 for me, adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans with liners.
2. Beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.
4. Add the eggs 1 at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners — you’re looking to get them 3/4 full.
5. Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely.

Maple Sugar Frosting:
(basic buttercream frosting with maple syrup)

3 cups confectioners sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
several tablespoons whipping cream
1/4 cup maple syrup (or, to taste)

Mix together sugar and butter on low speed until well blended, and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add vanilla, maple, and 2 tablespoons of cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream, if desired, for spreading consistency.

Plaid Is the New Black

Everyone knows about Black Friday, but do you know about Plaid Friday? The name Plaid Friday celebrates the diversity and creativity of independent businesses. Plaid Friday is the fun and enjoyable alternative to the big box store Black Friday, and is designed to promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays.

Plaid Friday brings back the neighborly nostalgic times when shopping for friends and family was a pleasurable leisurely activity. Celebrate Plaid Friday by wearing plaid while shopping at independent businesses on Friday, November 25th!

Life in a Day: Now on YouTube

On July 24, 2010, people all over the world put their day, or portion of their day, on film to submit to the Life in a Day Project on YouTube. The long awaited feature film premiered in movie theaters on July 29, 2011. Now it is available on YouTube here:

On July 24, 2010, I was at a wedding watching the bride hula hoop. Do you know what you were doing that day?