Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall is here!!! Pumpkin spice latte cupcakes with vanilla bean caramel to celebrate!

Wow what a mouthful  "Pumpkin spice latte cupcakes with vanilla bean caramel"  but oh my goodness do they ever deserve it!so rich  and gooey and they really do taste like a pumpkin spice latte...
My favorite time of year is here...FALL!!!!, pumpkin spice lattes are back and the stores are stocking up on all the pretties of fall. Orange, browns, yellows and reds are everywhere...the scent of cinnamon and spiced pumpkin are in the air...aaaaaaah...
I love the pumpkin spice lattes and crave them in the fall now that they are back in town I'm ecstatic! but this year I have  take my addiction to these wonderful concoctions a tad further ;-)
why not bring all these lovely flavors into a cupcake? I have been on a cupcake craze lately (I must sincerely apologize for the lack of documentation on all these lovely experiments, my camera has been stashed away in a box for the past couple of weeks due to our sudden move) I have a LOT of work to do and need to definitely brush up on some serious skills (they are dreadfully needed!) but I am proud of the taste all together!
and the caramel is to die for...seriously!! it's fabulous! there is only half a jar left...never ever will I buy caramel sauce again!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! Even my husband enjoyed them and he doesn't like coffee! win win all around!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes With Vanilla Bean Caramel:


For the cupcakes:2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. espresso powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
½ cup coffee or espresso, for brushing

For the whipped cream:2¼ cups heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

For garnish:Ground cinnamon
Caramel sauce
chopped pecans

For Caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
1¼ cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
¼ tsp. coarse salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Spread the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Place the pan over medium-low heat, watch carefully.  When the sugar begins to liquefy around the edges, use a heatproof spatula and gently stir it towards the center. Continue stirring very gently until all the sugar has melted, be careful not to over stir.  Measure the heavy cream in a liquid measuring cup and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream and set aside.  Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color, immediately remove the sauce pan from the heat.  Whisk in half of the heavy cream along with the vanilla bean seeds carefully.  beware the mixture will steam and bubble violently.  Stir until cream is well incorporated, then whisk in the remaining cream.  Stir in the salt and the vanilla.  If any sugar has hardened, place the saucepan over low heat and whisk until smooth. be patient!

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  If needed, it can be rewarmed in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat.


Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, espresso powder and salt.  Stir together and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the brown sugar, pumpkin, granulated sugar, and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.  With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two parts, mixing just until incorporated.
Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans.  While the cupcakes are still warm, brush them two or three times with the coffee or espresso, allowing the first coat to soak in before repeating.  Let cool completely. Fill a pastry bag with a filling tip with caramel. Fill each cupcake with caramel. top off if necessary.
To make the frosting, place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increasing to high speed.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar gradually.  Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat.  Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost the cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce and top off with chopped pecans
Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Source: cake adapted from Williams Sonoma
Source: adapted from Cook Like a Champion, originally from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz and Annie's eats

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