Pumpkin Cupcakes with Mascarpone Buttercream Frosting

Can you believe it is only one week and a day until Thanksgiving? I am getting so excited! It is possibly my favorite holiday (though Christmas and Fourth of July provide stiff competition). It’s like all the wonderful things in life rolled into one day… Food, Football, and Family. What more could you ask for? I know that I am lucky to have a wonderful family that truly enjoys gathering together. And Thanksgiving is the perfect day to truly appreciate all those special people in your life.

This year our Thanksgiving Table has grown to 46 (Whoa!!!) people, including siblings, children, grandparents, in-laws, cousins, wives, husbands. Somehow we are all connected and we are all family! More people just equals, more love and more to be thankful for.

Then there is the food. And oh so much of it! Everyone has their favorite dish that they look forward to year after year. I believe it’s part cause the food is delicious and part just because the tradition makes it that much better. The stuffing is so yummy, and really it’s the only time of year I eat it, though why it is reserved for this day only I don’t know. And the mashed potatoes, a food that I usually avoid, well I load them on my plate because somehow they taste magical with a little turkey and cranberry sauce surrounding them.

And don’t even get me started on vegetables. I am a vegetable lover (though could NEVER be a vegetarian because ONE DAY without meat is sooo hard!). The assortment of veggies on the Thanksgiving table just makes me giddy! Roasted root vegetables, squash soufflé, green beans (using Jessica’s Recipe this year!), baked spinach, cauliflower gratin (try Ella’s Recipe Yum!), pearl onions (love Bree’s Recipe). So much yumminess to pile high on your plate!

Much like the way I use ketchup every other day of the year I use cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving. The tart and sweet combo just brightens the flavors in every bite. I always make my own, and this year I am going with the Tyler Florence recipe that adds ginger, shallot, honey and oj to the mix, ohh my!

So to continue the excitement and build-up to Thanksgiving (week 4 of my 5 weeks of pumpkin countdown) I decided celebratory cupcakes were needed. It’s not a celebration until there are cupcakes right?

Therefore, I created these pumpkin cupcakes. And boy was making these cupcakes one of the best ideas I have ever had. These are the cupcakes that people who don’t even like pumpkin, love. They are like your favorite pumpkin bread mixed with clouds. They are light and fluffy, perfectly sweet, and packed with flavor. I opted to use mascarpone instead of the typical cream cheese in the frosting and wow what a difference. It add just a little tang with a balance of sweetness that complements the cupcake perfectly. Get ready for your Thanksgiving with some pumpkin cupcakes today!

Pumpkin Cupcakes
Ingredients:
2 cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Cloves
1/2 Teaspoon Ginger
2 Stick Butter, softened
2 Cups Sugar
3 Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Pumpkin puree
1/2 Cup Buttermilk

Directions:
Using a whisk to mix together the Flour, Baking Power, Baking Soda, Salt, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, and Ginger. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, then add the eggs and vanilla. Add the pumpkin puree and continue beating until just combined. Alternately add the buttermilk and the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.

Fill lined muffin tins ¾ full.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Mascarpone Buttercream Frosting
Ingredients:
8 oz Mascarpone Cheese (or Cream Cheese)
1 Cup Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar

Directions:
Beat the butter with your mixer until creamy. Add the mascarpone cheese and continue mixing until combined. Mix in vanilla. Add Confectioners’ Sugar a cup at a time. Beat on high for 3-5 minutes to get fluffy. (If needed add milk to thin out the frosting until desired consistency is reached.)

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