Day 26: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

I've always been a brown butter gal. Slightly salty, rich, and full of flavor, brown butter makes the normally bland wonderful. Take pasta. Add brown butter and sage sauce, it is transformed from everyday to absolutely outstanding. This got me thinking, what else could brown butter transform? I'm glad I had that thought, because I now believe the world has some how been incomplete before this frosting. It is rich, creamy, decadent, flavorful, smooth, salty, sweet, and everything a frosting should be. Can you tell I am in love? Well, I am. That being said, this recipe is by no means bland and in need of a "transformation". Any frosting would be delicious on the light and airy spiced pumpkin cake. The frosting though, that's what takes this cupcake to the next level. It takes a good cupcake and the brown butter cream cheese frosting makes it absolutely outstanding. Don't believe me? Try for yourself...

Pumpkin Cupcakes - Makes 12 frosted cupcakes (Cupcake Recipe from Joy of Baking)

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup granulated white sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Place rack in the middle of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ground spices, and salt. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and pumpkin puree, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Fill the muffin cups evenly with the batter using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

  • 3 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 tablespoon milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 bar (8 oz) 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese
Add the butter to a sauce pan over medium heat. Melt butter entirely and leave on the stove until it becomes brown butter, stirring constantly with heat proof spatula. This takes about 5 minutes. Transfer brown butter to a bowl. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer. Mixture should be crumbly. Add the tablespoon of milk and mix until mostly smooth (may need a little more milk). Add block of room temperature cream cheese and continue to mix until thick frosting forms.

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