Pumpkin Pie in a Cupcake!
While browsing around last month for some ideas on what to make for Thanksgiving, I came across these little treasures from Bake It In A Cake. Megan has this brilliant penchant, you see, for baking things in cake. Not bake things into cake…as in a metamorphosis of some sort. No. Bake. It. In. A. Cake. It’s really quite the bit of genius you see, particularly when I saw that she had the brilliant epiphany of baking a miniaturized pumpkin pie into a cupcake. I knew as soon as I saw these that they would be the perfect way to celebrate the holiday and assuage the many pumpkin fans in my family.
The trick behind this is in making tiny, miniaturized pumpkin pies beforehand and then plopping them into the middle of some decadent cupcake batter and baking. The mini pies were made by simply cutting out some rounds of pie dough and pushing them into mini muffin tins, filling them with pumpkin pie filling, and then baking till done. Voila! Mini pumpkins to bake into cupcakes or, you know, to be snatched off the cooling rack for a quick bite when I wasn’t looking. Somehow between baking 24 mini pies and actually preparing the cupcakes, I ended up with only 21 minis. When I asked Mai, she innocently told me that she was trying to help me out by doing a “quality control” test of the pies to make sure they were good. Isn’t my daughter so thoughtful?
While she may have gotten the first bites of pie, I do have to say that she missed out on the best part of this little gem. While the pies were indeed tasty, the thing that makes this little treat is the cream cheese cupcake batter paired up with the decadent cream cheese butter cream that’s infused with white chocolate and cinnamon. Yes, that’s right, you heard me correctly. Cream cheese butter cream infused with white chocolate and cinnamon. If that doesn’t make your taste buds swoon, I don’t know what else will!
This is the first time I’ve ever made a butter cream with cream cheese and I have to say, it was well worth the effort to get it together. The end result is rich, slightly sweet, and delicious beyond all belief. So much so, our neighbor Frank who happened to also be at the house to “help with Quality Control” had the remainder of the icing straight from the piping bag…he apparently is also part of a green initiative and couldn’t let things go to waste.
At the end of the day, these cupcakes were about some of the best that I’ve ever made. Not only highlighting and show casing pumpkin pie in a unique and alternative way, the cupcake and icing itself is noteworthy and delicious enough to stand on its own! This does take some time to get together, but it’s definitely worth it. As Neil put it, “It would be sacrilege to not eat this!” Yeah, they’re that good…
Pumpkin Pie in a Cupcake
Adapted from Bake It In A Cake
The original recipe calls for your favorite pie dough and for canned pumpkin pie filling. I chose to use store purchased (Pillsbury) pre-made pie dough that I rolled out to save on time, however, I chose to make my own pie filling from scratch because, well, we love our pumpkin pie in this household. I include instructions to make my pie filling, however, it will yield enough filling for 1 pie and the 24 mini pies needed for the cupcake recipe. I ended up using only 1 of the pie crusts for the mini pies anyway which meant there was 1 pie crust left for the pumpkin pie. Kismet? I like to think so…
For mini pumpkin pies (and 1 large pie)
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin
2 tablespoons molasses
3 large eggs
1 cup whipping cream
1 box (2 crusts) of pre-made pie crusts that you roll out
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup milk
2 1/2 cups flour
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
2 teaspoons cinnamon
splash of milk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a mini muffin/cupcake tin with some baking spray. Roll out the pie crust dough and cut into small circles that are large enough to fill the bottom and the sides of a mini muffin tin. I used the lid for my cinnamon spice jar as a cutter, but really you can use a small juice glass or whatever you have lying around that’s up for the job. Gently press dough into your greased mini tins.
To prepare pumpkin pie filling, whisk together the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Whisk in pumpkin, molasses and eggs. Then whisk in cream. Fill prepared mini pie crusts 3/4 full with filling (don’t fill all the way to the top as the filling will puff and expand upon baking). You can also use canned pumpkin pie filling here instead if you are pressed for time. Bake at 7 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for another 8-10 minutes, until crust is brown and filling is completely set. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing mini pies from the tins and allowing to cool completely.
Liz note: I found that after making the recipe for the pie filling, that I had oodles of filling left over. I used the 2nd roll of pie crust and prepared a pie plate with it and filled it with my remainder pumpkin pie filling. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce heat and continue baking for 325 degrees until sides begin to puff and center is just set, about 40 minutes. Cool and serve at room temperature
Next prepare your cupcake batter. Cream butter and cream cheese on medium speed until well incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Mix in sugar and continue to beat until mixture is fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing until just incorporated. Add in vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix until incorporated. Continue mixing and add in flour in 3 batches and milk in 2, alternating between the two and starting and ending with flour. Continue beating, scraping down the sides of bowl occasionally, for another minute. Mixture should be smooth and creamy.
Prepare a regular sized muffin tin by lining it with cupcake liners. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into each cupcake liner. Place a mini pumpkin pie into the center, gently pushing it in. GENTLY! Don’t push too hard or the pie will sink to the bottom of the cupcake when baked. Cover pies with more batter so that the top and sides are completely covered. Cupcake liners should be 2/3 – 3/4 way full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until cake is set and top and edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool in cupcake pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to completely cool on wire rack.
Once cupcakes are completely cool, prepare butter cream frosting. Melt white chocolate and splash of milk in a microwave proof bowl and heat on high for about 45 seconds until soft and melty. Stir until all chips are melted. Mix in cinnamon and stir until well incorporated. Set aside and allow to cool. You may find that the mixture looks a little grainy at this point as mine did. Don’t worry, the butter cream will still turn out great.
Cream together butter and cream cheese until well incorporated. Mix in powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until mixture is smooth and creamy. With mixer on low, mix/drizzle in about 1/2 of the chocolate cinnamon mixture (you’ll want this to be warm but not hot. Too hot and it’ll melt the butter and cream cheese mixture and ruin it) and keep mixing until well incorporated. Stop and taste the icing at this point and keep adding in more of the chocolate mixture until it suits your taste. Some like it stronger than others (I ended using about 3/4 of it for my icing). Frost your cupcakes however you’d like! I got a little fancy and whipped out the piping bag with star tip and iced mine that way! Enjoy and prepare for your loved ones to swoon and declare you as their favorite baker and relative…of all time…