Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes

I looked everywhere for mini pumpkin candies to decorate cupcakes  few weeks ago and came up empty. Then I stumble upon them in a market I never visit, so I needed to create a new reason to use them.

Servings: 5 dozen

3 eggs
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup Grade A maple syrup

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
15 oz. can pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups Confectioners’ sugar

Combine flour and spices
Preheat oven to 350 degrees-F. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger and set aside.

Combine wet ingredients and granulated sugar
In the work bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and pumpkin. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each one. Add vanilla extract.

Make cupcake batter
Slowly add the flour to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Line a mini cupcake pan (24 cupcakes) with paper liners. Use a teaspoon to spoon batter into paper liners, filling about three-quarter to the top. This will not use all of the batter, either bake in batches or use multiple mini cupcake pans if available.

Bake cupcakes
Bake cupcakes for 15 minutes. Test with a toothpick, inserted toothpick should be clean when removed.  Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let cupcakes cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Then transfer cupcakes to the cooling rack and reuse pan to finish baking cupcakes in batches as needed.

Make icing
While baking and cooling cupcakes,  combine cream cheese, butter, and maple syrup  in the work bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Beat with stand mixer or hand-held beaters until light. Slowly add Confectioners’ sugar and beat continuously until incorporated.

Decorate and serve
Transfer icing to a pastry bag or a large Ziplock bag or similar. Refrigerate for approximately ten minutes.  Pipe frosting onto cooled mini cupcakes. Top with pumpkin candy if available or dust with orange sugar icing.

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