Pumpkin Pistachio Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

Last weekend we set out to make applesauce cupcakes.  We had the perfect red cupcake holders.  The perfect idea for how to photograph the finished cupcake.  The car was packed with all of our baking supplies and we headed out on our hour long drive for a weekend away only to arrive and find there was no applesauce.  There was not a red cupcake holder to be found.  We really could have sworn we packed it all in the car.  (Didn’t we?)  But as we’d later find out (after a very heavy rain storm)…that bag was left on the uncovered back step of the house.  The cute red cupcake holders are no longer.  The paperback cookbook that was in the bag is a soggy disaster.  Luckily we didn’t realize any of that until we got home three days later or we might not have wanted to alter the recipe and make cupcakes at all.

Instead we thought hey, we’ve got pumpkin…we’ve got pistachios…and we have green cupcake holders! So off we went to make a different recipe.  It turned out to be a good mishap because these little mini cupcakes are really, really good.  Sort of a combination cupcake/muffin.  But since we frosted ours we opted to call them cupcakes.


1/2 teaspoon baking soda

10 oz. pumpkin puree

4 tablespoons softened butter

3/8 cup brown sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/4 cups self-rising flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

a handful of crushed pistachios

Start by preheating the oven to 350.  Line a muffin tin with cupcake holders (we used a mini muffin pan).

Add the baking soda to the pumpkin and stir until dissolved.  Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and combine until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg.  Sift in the remaining dry ingredients and gently fold them into the mixture alternating with the pumpkin to which the pistachios were added.

Spoon into the paper liners and fill 3/4 of the way high.

Bake for 20 minutes or so (keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking).  Let the cakes cool while you make the frosting.

Ingredients Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Brown Sugar Frosting:

1/2 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature

8 oz. cream cheese

1 cup of brown sugar

1 teaspoon maple extract

Mix together.

We frosted our cupcakes right away and then dipped them into a bowl of crushed pistachios.  These were so good.  They were slightly warm and all the flavors just scream fall.  They didn’t last long and we didn’t feel that guilty because they were just little tiny mini cakes…and when they are minis you can eat more, right?








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