I have no doubt that you will read this recipe and be exhausted by the time you get to step 5. To be honest, these are not cupcakes that you want to throw together on a whim. These would be in the “I need something to impress my friends” category. That being said, do not write this one off. With some planning, it won’t feel as daunting.
Things to consider doing ahead of time:
- Make the crust a day before (or use store bought to skip a huge step!)
- Bake the crust circles a day before or earlier the day of
- Make the pumpkin pie filling up to two days ahead of time
You’ll thank me later.
Pie Spiked Maple Cakes
- 1 recipe for a 9 inch pie crust (even store bought for this!) or use my best of both worlds pie crust
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 cup maple syrup (real, please!)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (or make your own by adding 2T of vinegar or lemon juice to milk)
Pumpkin Pie Filling
- 1 cup whole milk (skim will work too)
- 1 cup pumpkin
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3T corn starch
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- pinch nutmeg, allspice and salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Maple Almond Buttercream
- 1 stick of butter (room temperature)
- 3 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
1. Make the pie crust circles
Preheat oven to 400
Prepare pie crust and refrigerate for at least an hour. Or be kind to yourself and use store bought! Roll the pie crust about 1/4 inch thick. Using a small round glass or cutter about 2-2.5 inches in diameter, cut 24 circles and and place on a parchment-lined making sheet.
To prevent the pie crust from shrinking, place a baking sheet or muffin tin on top of the circles. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes until just starting to brown. Remove the top sheet and return to oven for about 5 minute until they begin to brown. Let cool on the baking sheet while you prepare the cupcakes.
2. Make the cupcakes
Reduce oven temperature to 350.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt and spices. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time and when fully incorporated, add syrup and vanilla. Starting and ending with the flour mixture, alternate with the buttermilk and stir into the mixture.
Prepare two muffin tins with liners. Trim pie crust circles down a bit and drop into the bottom of each muffin cup. The circles do not have to be pretty and it’s no big deal if they break. This is actually an important step because the crumbs will become garnish for the frosted cupcakes!
Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a baking rack.
3. Make the pumpkin filling
While cupcakes are baking, make the pumpkin pie filling. This can also be done a day ahead of time.
In a small saucepan, boil the milk over medium-high heat. While the milk is coming to temperature, whisk egg, pumpkin, sugars, cornstarch and all spices in a medium saucepan until smooth. When milk is boiling, remove from heat and using a small stream, pour the hot milk into the egg mixture and continue to stir. This will temper the eggs and ensure that they do not cook when coming in contact with the hot liquid. Pour the remainder of the milk into the mixture and place over medium heat. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. After 2-3 minutes, the mixture will begin to boil and thicken. Once thick, remove from heat, stir in vanilla and transfer into a bowl. If you’re impatient like me, place in the refrigerator and whisk frequently to bring to room temperature.
4. Make the frosting
While the filling is cooling, make the frosting. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, dark brown sugar and salt until light and fluffy. This will take about 3-4 minutes. Add maple syrup, vanilla and almond extract. Add the powdered sugar little by little and then mix on high until fluffy. Add more powdered sugar if you feel you need it for consistency. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
5. Assemble the cupcakes
To make your life easier, treat yourself to decorating tips. They can be found almost anywhere like Wal-Mart, craft stores, usually by the Wilton brand. If you don’t want to purchase the plastic decorating bags to go with it, you can use sturdy zip-lock freezer or sandwich bags.
Fill each cupcake from the top, making sure to wipe away excess that might land on the top of the cupcake.
Frost each cupcake with a thin layer of the buttercream (I would not suggest a lot of frosting), garnishing the top with left over pie crust crumbs.