• 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 4 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe's pumpkin butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter, softened
  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup or maple extract
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Now that it’s officially fall, despite the 90 degree weather in Southern California, I can go crazy with pumpkin recipes. While browsing for pumpkin cupcake recipes on Google, I came across two with 5 star reviews: Harvest Pumpkin Cupcakes from allrecipes and Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes from taste of home. The first recipe uses oil as a fat, while the other uses butter. I couldn’t choose between the two so I decided to do an experiment. I wanted to compare the two recipes to determine which ingredient makes for a better cupcake. I cut both recipes in half and made 12 of each. Both turned out super moist and delicious, but as you can see the 2 recipes varied in size and color.

The cupcake made with oil was light and fluffy as opposed to the cupcake made with butter which had more depth of flavor, but was denser and flatter. The oil cupcake had a darker orange color while the butter cupcake was lighter in color due to the extra dairy ingredients. It’s really tough to determine which cupcake recipe is actually better since they both fulfilled my number one requirement: moistness. If I had to choose between the two, I would probably go with the oil cupcakes. They are larger and sturdier for filling and decorating and they have less calories and saturated fat than the ones made with butter. Next time I might even replace half the oil with applesauce to cut back on more calories. Give them a try and let me know which recipe you prefer. Directions: To make Harvest Pumpkin cupcakes: Blend the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Stir together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture. Pour into lined muffin tins. Fill about 2/3 full. Bake in preheated 350 degrees oven for 25-30 minutes or until center springs back when touched or bake them in a cupcake maker for 12 minutes.

To make the Pumpkin Spice cupcakes: Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy in stand mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Combine the flour, pie spice, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and ginger in a separate bowl. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the whipped cream filling,place your bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes before whipping cream. Beat ingredients in very cold metal bowl until soft peaks are formed.  Make a hole in each cupcake with a cupcake corer or the back side of a piping tip. Pipe the whipped cream into the cupcakes. For the frosting, beat all ingredients together until smooth. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes once completely cooled. Decorate with festive sprinkles or candy corn pumpkins and enjoy with a tall glass of almond milk.

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