Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes with Whiskey Espresso Frosting

It's November.  It's Thanksgiving-time.  This means that I have been slurping on Dunkin Donuts' pumpkin spice coffee approximately 3-4 times per week since the end of September.  I'm not sure exactly why it took me forever to put two-and-two together and realize that the flavors of one of my favorite beverages should be recreated in cupcake form.  I'm only slightly disappointed in myself.

OK, I'm over it.

When my neighbor informed me that he was once again holding his epic pre-Thanksgiving Deep Fried Turkey party, I knew exactly where I could debut these cupcakes.  Yep, right amongst the deep-fried turkey, deep-fried ravioli, deep-fried risotto balls, deep-fried onion rings...Do you see where this is going?  This would be an excellent chaser for all that excellent fried food.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
slightly adapted from Annie's Eats
yields ~24 cupcakes

  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 rounded teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line your cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

2) In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.  Set aside.

3) In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, and the oil.  Mix the ingredients together well.

4) Add the eggs in one at a time and beat well after each addition.

5) Pour in the flour mixture in two or three additions.  Beat the mixture until everything is just incorporated.

6) Fill the cupcake liners halfway full.  (The cupcakes will rise quite a bit because of the rounded teaspoons of baking powder.)

7) Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 16-18 minutes.

8) Allow the cupcakes to cool before frosting.

Whiskey Espresso Frosting
adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Bailey's frosting

frosts ~24 cupcakes
  • 8 tablespoons whiskey (such as Jameson)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 - 3 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 8 - 10 cups confections sugar
  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) Whisk the espresso powder into the whiskey and vanilla.  Set this mixture aside.

2) Whip the butter using an electric or hand mixer for several minutes. You want the butter to look almost white and be very light and fluffy.

3) Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

4) When the frosting is thick, drizzle in the whiskey espresso mixture. Whip until combined. If the frosting is too thin at this point, add another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

5) Pipe or spread on the cupcakes.

Note: If you're spreading the frosting on the cupcakes, you only need to make half of the frosting amount.

For a second there, I told myself I wouldn't do it.  I would actually, seriously consider making a cupcake without any alcohol.  This is a rare thought.  However, I broke down when I realized that I needed to dissolve the espresso powder in a liquid and I didn't want to use only vanilla.  Oh well, you do what you have to do!

I was really happy with the texture of this cupcake.  It was moist because of the pumpkin and oil that was in the batter.  The spiced (not spicy!) flavor of the cupcake was also pleasant.  I'm torn as to whether or not I wanted the cupcake to be sweeter, but I believe the frosting made up for this.  Now let's talk about the frosting.  I've discovered that adding whiskey to frosting enhances the flavor without the harsh aftertaste that I think whiskey has.  The whiskey and espresso combined to form the rich coffee flavor that tops this cupcake.

Hopefully you can enjoy this even once the pumpkin lattes are all gone for the season!

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