Happy Hausfrau: Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

The advent of autumn brings with it (for this hausfrau, anyhow) the yearning to turn on my oven and fill my house with pumpkin-y, spice-y, delicious-y smells. Not to mention, I have the best (and quite possibly the world’s cutest) baking helper. Lookit:

I love baking with my kids. I have the fondest memories of baking with my grandmother. She’d always let us sit on the countertop, would always let us help stir, and of course, would always let us lick the batter (salmonella be damned). It tickles me a similar shade of SweetZ’s shirt to be able to do that with my own kiddos.

About this time last year I shared with you my favorite sugar cookie recipe (click here for the link). It involved cream cheese and butter. Because, as any good Hausfrau knows, cream cheese and butter are nectar from the gods. Only good things can come from two such as these.

These cupcakes come with a warning:  They’re magic. One minute they’re there, the next they’re gone.

Here’s what you need:

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans are the best, but walnuts are super-yummy, too)
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon butter
1 box yellow cake mix
1 can (small, not the big ‘un) canned pumpkin
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Here’s what to do:

In a skillet on medium-low heat, cook the chopped nuts and a couple tablespoons of sugar until the sugar melts. It should take about eight minutes, and you’ll want to keep stirring it the whole time. Sometime the sugar can be a little stubborn in melting (I have no idea why) – that’s what the pat of butter is for. If you’re having problems with your sugar, toss it in there to finish it up. Once the sugar has melted, spread the nuts onto a piece of waxed paper and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Set aside.

Now, mix everything else in a mixer. Start off on a low setting until everything gets moist, then speed it up to medium until you’re sure everything has been incorporated.

Pour into your cupcake cups. There should be enough batter to make about 24. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. They should come out looking all golden and nummy, like this:

After they’ve cooled for thirty minutes, frost them with this:

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1/4 c. salted butter
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Let the butter and cream cheese soften to room temp. Add the almond extract, and blend together with the buttery/cheesy mixture until smooth. Add sugar a little at a time, and keep blending until the frosting is whipped and smooth. This recipe makes just enough for a batch of cupcakes…so if you’re a frosting snatcher (or if you just dig lots of frosting on the cupcakes), you might want to double the batch.

Frost the cupcakes, sprinkle toasted nuts on top, and voila, your magic pumpkin spice cupcakes are ready to be eaten!

Make sure to refrigerate any that aren’t eaten immediately – the cream cheese frosting won’t thank ya for being left out. BUT, according to the Hubster, they taste even better chilled.

What are your favorite autumn baking traditions? Does chilly weather mean more goodies emerging from a warm oven in your house? Think you’ll give this one a go? I’d totally love to hear!

xoxo

The Happy Hausfrau

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