In my recent craving for all things pumpkin (apparent by the recent baking of pumpkin muffins and multiple batches of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies), it was only time before the vivid orange squash made its way into some vegan cupcakes.
These cupcakes began as a vision. I’d lay in bed thinking of just what kind of fluffy frosting should top them. I had wanted to do a brown-sugar buttercream, but was afraid that the inherent differences between heavy cream and soymilk would prevent me from doing so (the recipe I had found, I assume, relied greatly on the ‘fluffing’ powers of cream, powers that, try as I might, I cannot replicate with soymilk). If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know – I’d love to try to make this frosting in a non-dairy version.
Brown sugar buttercream impossible, I moved on to my next idea. Thinking of what spices and spirits would go best with a slice of rich pumpkin pie, I set out to make a buttercream, spiced with cinnamon and spiked with rum. And it was good. Quite good. Since the frosting isn’t cooked, the rum stays put, and you could definitely taste it. Same with the cinnamon. I was worried that one might overpower the other, but the balance was perfect.
A perfect fall cupcake, indeed!
Pumpkin Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Rum Buttercream
Makes 12 cupcakes. Recipe adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup soymilk (almond milk or whole milk will work as well)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon each ground cloves, nutmeg, and ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
milk or soy milk, as needed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, stir together pumpkin, oil, sugar, soymilk, and vanilla. Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Gently whisk by hand until just combined, don’t use an electric mixer or overmix the batter as it may become too gummy. Once combined, fold in the chocolate chips.
Fill liners with 1/4 cup batter (cups should be approximately 2/3 full). Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting, cream butter. Add 1/2 cup confectioners sugar and mix until smooth. Add rum and cinnamon, and slowly mix (careful not to splatter). Continue adding sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well between additions. Continue to beat until light and fluffy. If frosting is too thick, add a bit of milk to thin it out. If too thin, add more sugar and continue to beat until it is the right consistency. Spoon into a piping bag or just slather it right onto the cupcakes. Dust with cinnamon and enjoy!