Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cake of the Week: Pumpkin Oatmeal Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Some days I’m really ambitious. I make things like cheesecake, or pie, or 6-layer cakes with butterscotch filling. But then some days I’m only a little ambitious. So I make little things. Like these mini cupcakes!
They combine three of my favorite ingredients: pumpkin, oatmeal, and peanut butter. But instead of being in the form of a brimming bowl of oats, they’re in the mini muffin mode.
I modeled these babies on the Oatmeal Cake I made back in May, and then swirled peanut butter cream cheese frosting on top. The cupcakes are much more muffin-y than a normal cake, which I think goes well with the sweet frosting. And at two-bites a cake, they’re the perfect snacking size!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cake Ingredients:

1 cup quick-cooking oats (see note)

3/4 cup water, room temperature

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

½ cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed (3 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your muffin tins with paper liners or cooking spray.

2. Combine oats and water in medium bowl and let sit until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

3. In another medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice together.

4. In bowl of standing mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until combined and mixture has consistency of damp sand, 2 to 4 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula halfway through mixing. Add egg and vanilla and pumpkin; beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Add flour mixture in 2 additions and mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add soaked oats and mix until combined, about 15 seconds.

5. Give batter final stir with rubber spatula to make sure thoroughly combined. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out with few crumbs attached, 15-25 minutes (it really depends on the size of your muffin tins so check on them!). Let cakes cool slightly in pan, at least 10 minutes.

*ATK notes: Do not use old-fashioned or instant oats for this recipe. Be sure to use a metal baking dish; glass pans are not recommended when broiling. If you have a drawer-style broiler (underneath the oven), position the rack as far as possible from the broiler element and monitor the icing carefully as it cooks in step 5. A vertical sawing motion with a serrated knife works best for cutting through the crunchy icing and tender crumb.

Make a half-recipe of frosting for one batch of cupcakes (you’ll probably have leftovers). Or make a whole recipe and keep the extra for another mini-baking-adventure!