Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes

Recipes, Special Occasions
on October 28, 2007

After years of languishing in the shadow of multi-layered, multi-tiered and densely frosted cakes, cupcakes are making a comeback.

First called “measure cakes” because the ingredients were measured in cups and baked in teacups, cupcakes were something of a plain Jane convenience food. Measuring was quicker than weighing, and baking in small cups was faster than baking in large pans. But as desserts went, cupcakes weren’t very interesting.

Recently, there has been a surge in the number of bake shops featuring cupcakes and cookbooks filled with cupcake recipes. Traditional cake recipes are being downsized, and home bakers are turning out adorable versions of strawberry cheesecake and carrot cake in serving-size cupcakes.

So for Halloween, probably the only American holiday without a special meal or recipe unless you count caramel apples and popcorn balls, we’ve decided to bake some party cupcakes. Halloween originated as a time to celebrate the end of harvest. But what started as bobbing for apples and fortune telling has become mostly a bonanza for the candy business. More candy is sold at Halloween than Valentine’s Day, Christmas and Easter. At last count, candy corn alone amounted to more than 20 million pounds. We figured a few of those kernels might be exactly right for garnishing our cupcakes.

Made with pumpkin and nuts and gently spiced with cinnamon, our pumpkin cupcakes are finished with a smooth and creamy cream cheese frosting. After a busy night of apple bobbing and trick or treating, anyone would be ready to take off their mask and sit down to a glass of apple cider and one of these cupcake cuties.

—Jean Kressy, a food writer in Ashburnham, Mass.