This week the Heavenly Cake Bakers made the Pumpkin Cake with Burnt Orange Buttercream for Halloween. I didn't have (and didn't want to buy) the special pumpkin-shaped Bundt pan, so I did cupcakes instead.
Sorry, not very many pictures this week. I was in a bit of rush. Above you see the last cupcake, photographed on my desk at work. The cupcakes went into the office for our ongoing bake sale and soon disappeared.
For me, this recipe yielded 22 regular-sized cupcakes. I could have filled the liners a bit less full and gotten a full 2 dozen, but I think they look better at this size.
My cupcakes were made with 1/3 whole wheat pastry flour, 1/3 bleached all-purpose flour, and 1/3 bleached cake flour (by weight). Other than that, I followed the recipe. The cupcakes took roughly 20 minutes to bake at 350 degrees -- sorry, didn't time them exactly.
I was very, very happy with this cake recipe! The cupcakes had a wonderful texture and flavor, very balanced between sweet, nutty, spicy, pumpkin-y, with just a bit of crunch from the nuts. It really didn't need frosting. I don't ever need to try another pumpkin cake recipe again! (Although I will be -- the Holiday Bundt Cake for Tuesdays with Dorie is coming up soon.)
In fact, I think this cake would be great as a plain Bundt cake with just an ornamental dusting of confectioner's sugar, or as a couple of plain loaf cakes. For a more casual, heartier cake I'd increase the nuts to 3/4 cup and add some raisins or dried cranberries.
The Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream frosting is quite time-consuming to make. I spread the process out over several days -- made the caramel creme anglaise on one day, refrigerated it, then finished the frosting another day and frosted the cupcakes on yet another day. I had great plans to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, but ran out of time and settled for a few quick swipes with a spatula.
I made double the recipe of frosting, though, so the leftovers are in the freezer waiting for another batch of cupcakes. I'm thinking orange-flavored white velvet cupcakes, to use up some of the many containers of extra egg whites...
Oh, I did make one change to the recipe. The Mousseline Buttercream I used on last week's cake got very soft sitting out on the bake sale table at the office. I consulted some of the buttercream recipes in Shirley Corriher's "Bakewise" and saw that she used 3 parts butter to 1 part vegetable shortening (by weight, not by volume). So I tried doing that, using 12 ounces of butter and 4 ounces of Spectrum Organic shortening. It was still soft, but did hold up a bit better. And it still tasted good!
Oh, I also added about 1/4 cup extra sugar to my double batch of frosting, because I know my co-workers are used to very sweet frosting. It still was no-where near as sweet as the horrible stuff on grocery-store cakes. Personally I preferred it before the extra sugar and before the orange food coloring, and would do that if baking just for the two of us.