Saturday, October 22, 2011
Pumpkin pound cake cupcakes with pumpkin mousse and cinnamon-sour cream frosting
Ok, I caved. I did a pumpkin cupcake. But you know, I really like pumpkin, and even if everyone is doing it, that's for an excellent reason. Pumpkin desserts are delicious! I was so happy with the pound cake from the pralines and cream cupcakes that I decided to do something similar with a pumpkin pound cake. But doesn't even the name sound heavy? Pumpkin. Pound. Cake. I had to do the opposite for the filling, and what could be lighter than mousse? Never mind that I've never made mousse in my life before. I found a basic mousse recipe and added pumpkin (and it was so easy. Seriously, why am I not doing this every day? After all, as I told my sister's dear friend Alma, it's just air. Everyone needs air. Sheesh).
My mother, who doesn't really like sweets all that much to begin with and to whom my over-the-top cupcakes are just...too much, offered that I ought to try a sour cream frosting. Really? I'd made a sour cream chocolate frosting years ago, but honestly I hadn't even thought about it since.
It worked great! I just added a bit of sour cream to a buttercream recipe, and added cinnamon, and the result was a warm, slightly tangy frosting that was reminiscent of cream cheese frosting, but a little fluffier. Great idea mom!
('Course, it turned out that she'd meant cream cheese frosting and said sour cream instead. But that is a detail so minor I've relegated it to italics AND parentheses. Hi Mama! I love you!).
So these were great! I loved the mousse inside, so much that I think I'll be playing with other flavors. All the components by themselves, cake, frosting, mousse, are good (the mousse being really good), but when they all play together it's really something special.
~ Pumpkin Pound Cake Cupcakes ~
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
Spoon the cupcake batter into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 15 - 18 minutes or until an inserted tester comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
~ Pumpkin Mousse ~
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3 egg yolks
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks and chill until needed.
Place the egg yolks in a glass or metal bowl. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat until the sugar is dissolved. Start whisking the egg yolks and slowly stream the hot sugar syrup into them. Place the bowl over pot of boiling water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Whisk the mixture constantly for about ten minutes, or until the egg yolk mixture thickens and lightens in color.
After it has thickened, remove the bowl from the heat, and transfer the mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer. Use the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes or until the bottom of the bowl feels cool to the touch.
Add in the pumpkin and spices to the egg mixture, and beat with the paddle attachment until well combined.
Fold a third of the whipped cream into the mixture to help lighten in, then fold next third, and then the last of it, using a lighter touch with each addition. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.
Prepare the cupcakes for filling by cutting out a cone shaped piece from the top of each one. Slice away any extra cake (go ahead and eat these) from the widest part of the cone (this is your lid). Keep in mind that the size of the opening is the amount of filling you can fit into the cupcake, and cut accordingly. Spoon in a bit of the pumpkin mousse into each cupcake and replace the lid on top. Keep in refrigerator until ready to frost.
~ Sour Cream Cinnamon Frosting ~
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups confectioners sugar
In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients, except powered sugar, until well combined. With an electric mixer on slow, add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth. Frost cupcakes by piping on with a pastry bag using a large star tip.
Store the finished cupcakes in the refrigerator. Makes 18 cupcakes.