Happy Hausfrau: Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

The advent of autumn brings with it (for this hausfrau, anyhow) the yearning to turn on my oven and fill my house with pumpkin-y, spice-y, delicious-y smells. Not to mention, I have the best (and quite possibly the world’s cutest) baking helper. Lookit:

I love baking with my kids. I have the fondest memories of baking with my grandmother. She’d always let us sit on the countertop, would always let us help stir, and of course, would always let us lick the batter (salmonella be damned). It tickles me a similar shade of SweetZ’s shirt to be able to do that with my own kiddos.

About this time last year I shared with you my favorite sugar cookie recipe (click here for the link). It involved cream cheese and butter. Because, as any good Hausfrau knows, cream cheese and butter are nectar from the gods. Only good things can come from two such as these.

These cupcakes come with a warning:  They’re magic. One minute they’re there, the next they’re gone.

Here’s what you need:

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans are the best, but walnuts are super-yummy, too)
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon butter
1 box yellow cake mix
1 can (small, not the big ‘un) canned pumpkin
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Here’s what to do:

In a skillet on medium-low heat, cook the chopped nuts and a couple tablespoons of sugar until the sugar melts. It should take about eight minutes, and you’ll want to keep stirring it the whole time. Sometime the sugar can be a little stubborn in melting (I have no idea why) – that’s what the pat of butter is for. If you’re having problems with your sugar, toss it in there to finish it up. Once the sugar has melted, spread the nuts onto a piece of waxed paper and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Set aside.

Now, mix everything else in a mixer. Start off on a low setting until everything gets moist, then speed it up to medium until you’re sure everything has been incorporated.

Pour into your cupcake cups. There should be enough batter to make about 24. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. They should come out looking all golden and nummy, like this:

After they’ve cooled for thirty minutes, frost them with this:

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1/4 c. salted butter
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Let the butter and cream cheese soften to room temp. Add the almond extract, and blend together with the buttery/cheesy mixture until smooth. Add sugar a little at a time, and keep blending until the frosting is whipped and smooth. This recipe makes just enough for a batch of cupcakes…so if you’re a frosting snatcher (or if you just dig lots of frosting on the cupcakes), you might want to double the batch.

Frost the cupcakes, sprinkle toasted nuts on top, and voila, your magic pumpkin spice cupcakes are ready to be eaten!

Make sure to refrigerate any that aren’t eaten immediately – the cream cheese frosting won’t thank ya for being left out. BUT, according to the Hubster, they taste even better chilled.

What are your favorite autumn baking traditions? Does chilly weather mean more goodies emerging from a warm oven in your house? Think you’ll give this one a go? I’d totally love to hear!


The Happy Hausfrau


21 thoughts on “Happy Hausfrau: Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

  1. August McLaughlin says:

    Yum! Did you send me telepathic messages last night? I couldn’t sleep and leapt from bed with pumpkin muffins in mind. LOL

    Happy holiday to you and yours. Perhaps I’ll make yours for lunch. 😉

    • Myndi Shafer...one stray sock away from insanity. says:

      Hiya Elen. The ‘small’ can is the one that’s soup-sized. There are bigger cans that are meant for pie baking, but that’s waaaaay too much pumpkin for this recipe! 🙂 Also, make sure that it’s just plain pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.

      This is a TOTAL guess, but I’d say it’s about 1 1/2 to 2 cups. Again, really guessing there.

      And yeah…the Hubster and Offspring may have had them for brekkie yesterday. Delish!

  2. gingercalem says:

    The expression on Sweet-Z’s face is the recipe for a sugar-fix. How totally uber-sweet is that? Then you ‘sweeten’ the deal even more with the cupcakes, topped with sugared nuts no less. You are naughty!! 😉

    • Myndi Shafer...one stray sock away from insanity. says:

      Isn’t she the best? I’m one blessed momma.

      These cupcakes are SOOOOO naughty! Don’t fret, though – I haven’t fallen off the GingerWagon. One was a good fix for my weekend cheat, but not enough to tempt me away from how good I feel. Although I can honestly say I don’t know what’s up with those folks who say that after giving up sugar they can’t tolerate anything sweet anymore. I think I was born with a major sweet-tooth. And I flat-out love to bake. *sniggle* Hence the occasional cupcake. 🙂

      • gingercalem says:

        Had to come back so I could grin at Z’s face again. Give her a squeeze from me. You know, I think the love of baking is a huge thing. See, I love to cook far more than bake and I think it makes a difference in cravings. Those cupcakes were totally worth the cheat! A well-earned reward for staying on the GingerWagon. (Um, that sounds all sorts of wrong but let’s not dwell on it.) 😉

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    I am bookmarking this page so I can try these. They look fantastic. I love pumpkin-flavored baked goods, but sadly I’m the only one in my family that does. Guess I’ll have to freeze some. 🙂

  4. Patricia says:

    Oh yeah – autumn means baking. And crockpots. I used my crockpot for the first time this morning when I assembled my yummy stew for dinner tonight when I get home. Stew and cornbread – delish!

    I love baking pumpkin-y things around Thanksgiving. Just seems like they go together.

    I wish I had your little helper though. Mine is the 4-legged kind who’s always underfoot waiting for the spoon to drop.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

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