Yes, I know it's November and therefore the all-pumpkin-all-the-time blogger recipe pumpkinpalooza should now be over, right?
As I have mentioned before, The Ninj respects seasonality. To wit, I held off this year on pumpkin-izing the blog until October, to give props to apples and pears in September.
And guess what? Pumpkins are still in season, even though Halloween is over and it is November! I mean, hello? Ever heard of pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dessert?
But I'm here to do you one seasonal dessert better, since regular readers know I'm not a fan of pie: pumpkin ginger cupcakes with a creamy mascarpone-cream cheese frosting. Now THIS is a Thanksgiving dessert that I can get behind.
And did I mention these cupcakes are gluten-free? OR NOT!!? And that either way they are moist, not cloyingly sweet and perhaps the most perfect dessert EVAH?
Yeah, I'm pleasing the heck out of everyone with this one, especially for Thanksgiving. Pfffft: Who the hell would eat pie when you can have cupcakes?
Let's get back to the gluten-free part for a quick sec. Here's the beauty of this recipe: you can use either all-purpose, regular flour or substitute an equal amount of gluten-free flour. I get mine from a fantastic local gluten-free bakery -- West Meadow Farm Bakery, which sells its awesome flour online! -- but there are other widely available brands. Either way, gluten-free or not, the cupcakes taste the same! Yes, I'm not kidding. Therefore, since you will likely have a guest at your Thanksgiving table or a co-worker at the office holiday party who must eat gluten-free and thus is usually screwed out of the delicious cookies and cakes, you will be the HERO OF THANKSGIVING.
Say it with me: I will be the Hero of Thanksgiving.
Now let's put the gluten-free or gluten-full option aside to focus on flavor. These cupcakes are not too heavy on the pumpkin and have a subtle, delicate ginger flavor -- left unfrosted, they make fantastic breakfast muffins.
Which brings us to the frosting. Ay yi yi, peeps: This is seriously good stuff.
I must admit, I'm not a huge fan of cream cheese frostings but this one is different, because it's half cream cheese and half mascarpone -- rich and cheesy with just the right amount of sweetness.
Which brings us to the GIVEAWAY!
To inspire you to give these cupcakes a whirl, I've teamed up with Vermont Creamery to give away a Baker's Essentials package, which includes TWO of each of the following amazing Vermont Creamery products -- a $60 value!
- Cultured butter with sea salt
- Sea salt and maple butter
- Unsalted butter
- Creme fraiche
- Madagascar vanilla creme fraiche
All of these items would work perfectly in this pumpkin ginger cupcake recipe. Using the salted maple butter would add an extra layer of heavenly flavor, especially if you're going the unfrosted route. And if you prefer a more sour-cream-like frosting, simply substitute the vanilla creme fraiche for the mascarpone.
You know The Ninj loves a customizable recipe.
For a chance to win this Baker's Essentials package, simply enter the giveaway following the instructions below the recipe. For additional entries, like The Ninj on Facebook or follow me on Twitter! (Note: giveaway is for US residents only.)
Will you be the Hero of Thanksgiving? Leave a comment: The Ninj wants to know.
Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting (adapted from Food and Wine)
Note: This recipe makes about 14-18 cupcakes, depending on the size of your pans.
-- For the frosting --
6 ounces mascarpone cheese
6 ounces cream cheese
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2-3 teaspoons vanilla
-- For the cupcakes --
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour OR gluten-free multi-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
Make the frosting: Using a mixer, beat the mascarpone and cream cheese together until blended. Add the confectioners sugar and mix well (taste it at this point: if you'd like it a bit sweeter, add another few tablespoons of sugar). Blend in the vanilla, cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour.
While the frosting is firming in the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices (4) and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the sugars, applesauce, butter and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and stir until smooth. Stir in the pumpkin.
Pour the mixture into prepared muffin tins and bake for about 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and then frost (I used an icing bag and decorative tip but a simple spreader is fine).
a Rafflecopter giveaway