Filled cupcakes: More fun with pumpkin


I wish I had thought to buy pre-made pumpkin pie spice mix. It is really not difficult to balance a good mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, etc. to make your own, but somehow when you just need a little bit of it for something like pumpkin mousse (to be used as a filling for pumpkin mousse-filled cupcakes), rather than a larger amount, as you would use in a whole pumpkin pie, the logic of ready-made pumpkin pie spice becomes apparent.

The recipe I used actually called for canned pumpkin pie filling, which is something I never have on hand. I do not like to buy things that are pre-sweetened and spiced. Having ready-to-go pie spice is something entirely different from getting the whole pie filling as a finished product. I want to control the sweetness level and spicing process. Thus, when it came time to make the mousse, I needed to make some guesses about how much of everything to use.

Alas, I decided to use the leftover pumpkin puree from my grain-free pumpkin spice muffin bake to make some pumpkin mousse-filled vanilla cupcakes.

2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a bowl whisk together your dry ingredients and set them aside momentarily.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla and 1/4 cup of milk. Beat until fluffy. Alternately beat in the dry ingredient mixture and remaining half cup of milk.

Spoon a bit less than 1/4 cup of batter into each cupcake liner.

Bake at 375F for about 20 minutes (until toothpick inserted into cupcakes come out clean). Remove from oven when done and cool on a wire rack.

1 cup whipped topping (like Cool Whip, which I detest) or stabilized whipped cream
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (or pumpkin pie filling)
*If you use canned/pre-made pumpkin pie filling, just mix it together with the whipped topping. If you are using puree, you will need to mix it together with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. I used maybe 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and maybe an 1/8 of a teaspoon each of the ginger and nutmeg, but this was really just guessing.

Blend the topping and pumpkin together (and the spices if you are using puree). Spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip. Insert the pastry bag and tip into the tops of the cooled cupcakes
(about 1/2 inch into the top) and squeeze filling into the cake until the top starts to rise.

5 ounces chocolate
5 tablespoons brewed coffee
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Melt chocolate and coffee together. When smooth, add in the butter, four small pieces at a time. Stir until smooth. Let stand until spreadable consistency.

Frost filled cupcakes and chill until set.

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