Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

Yesterday was our annual Thanksgiving celebration with our friends, Friendsgiving, as I like to call it. The only thing better than celebrating my favorite holiday once a year is having the chance to do it twice :)   The meal comes together potluck style, and over the years Shane and I have contributed mashed potatoes, stuffing, stuffed mushrooms, and of course, lots of desserts!  People seem to associate Thanksgiving with pies above all else, and I’ve made my fair share of those, but to be honest, they’re one of my least favorite desserts to bake.  I’ll gladly help you eat them, I’d just prefer not to be the one wrangling the pie crust.  So, when I volunteered to make desserts for this year’s Friendsgiving, I knew pie was probably out. I wanted to do something with pumpkin though since I still haven’t had my fill, and before you know it, we’ll be moving on to gingerbread, peppermint and Christmas cookies.  

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

As I browsed my bookmarked recipes, I was excited to come across these pumpkin spice latte cupcakes that have been on my to-do list for a while. Though I’ve never actually had the infamous pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks that they’re inspired by, the combination of flavors just sounded terrific to me. The cupcake is a lightly spiced pumpkin cake with a hefty dose of espresso powder added. Once the cupcakes are baked, they’re brushed with coffee to really drive home the flavor. Rather than a buttercream or cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes are simply topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel, much like I suspect the beverage would be. Transporting the cupcakes to our friend’s house proved to be the most challenging part of this whole affair – uncovered cupcakes in a packed car = not my most brilliant moment. Luckily, most of them survived the trip intact and once we’d finished the meal, I grabbed one and dug in. I was a big fan – the cupcake was light and tender, and the whipped cream was the perfect topping. I heard rave reviews from everyone who tried them before we left so they were definitely a crowd pleaser. Maybe a bit non-traditional, but a great Thanksgiving dessert if you’re still in need of one :)

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
from Annie’s Eats

Cupcakes
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons espresso powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola (or vegetable) oil
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup coffee or espresso, for brushing

Whipped Cream
2¼ cups heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

Garnish
Ground cinnamon
Caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the pumpkin, both sugars and the oil. Beat on medium-low speed until well incorporated and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, beating just until incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly among the liners, filling each about 3/4-full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool for 5-10 minutes before removing them to the rack. While they’re still warm, brush the cupcakes several times with the coffee (or espresso). Let each coat soak in before applying the next. Cool the cupcakes completely.

To make the whipped cream: Add the heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat, gradually increasing the speed to medium-high, and adding the sugar a little at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and top with caramel sauce before serving. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator (allow the cupcakes to sit at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before serving).

Makes about 24 cupcakes