I Need Some Comfort. Food.
As many of you may know from reading my other blog, , my husband, Bryan, was diagnosed with a brain tumor last April. It’s been a long eight months filled with fear, determination and hope. Bryan has fought through radiation and several rounds of chemotherapy, and the tumor has shrunk by more than half (great news!). He’s doing really well but during his chemotherapy weeks, e.g. right now, he’s exhausted. He sleeps about twelve hours per night and several hours during the day, leaving me with lots of time on my hands.
This whole period has forced me to re-evaluate what is important in my life and understand what I truly love. Because doing the things that I love gives me comfort, and being comforted helps me recharge my emotional and physical batteries. Hence starting this blog.
I’ve found great comfort in food, and most recently, in baking. Over the past few weeks I’ve been a baking maniac, whipping up dozens of cookies, brownies and as of last night, pumpkin cupcakes. I always start with a base recipe and then make it my own, because frankly it’s more fun that way and I love to experiment with ingredients and flavors. So that’s just what I did with last night’s pumpkin cupcakes. Pumpkin is seriously one of my all time favorite flavors, so when Fall arrives and I start to see fresh and canned pumpkin lining grocery store shelves, I squeal with delight and start to clap. It doesn’t matter who sees me; it’s my little cheer to “welcome” the amazing fall flavors.
Here’s the pumpkin cupcake recipe:
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup salted butter, melted and cooled
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (I used Libby’s but you can use Trader Joes brand, etc.)
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and the spices. In another bowl, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and eggs. Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Then whisk in pumpkin puree.
Line the cupcake pan with liners and fill each about halfway with batter. To avoid mess, I scooped all the batter into a gallon Ziploc bag, cut off the corner and essentially piped the batter into each cup liner. Bake until tops spring back when touched and a cake tester comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes (I did 23 minutes). Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely before icing.
Cream Cheese Buttercream
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer or a whisk (a whisk can be tough on your hand, watch out!). With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract and you’ve got yourself gorgeous, delicious buttercream icing. If you want to keep it simple, you can always use a simple spoon or knife to apply the frosting to each cupcake. However, to jazz it up, use a piping bag with a decorative tip to create a flower, zig zag or other fun pattern. Add even more personality and flair with colorful cupcake liners, sanding sugar or candy!