My mom got Ina Garten’s latest cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, as a Christmas gift from my dad. I read the entire thing while we were in Pennsylvania over the holidays and it looks like another home run from the master of fabulous yet accessible food.
There was a bridal shower for my cousin a few days after Christmas and since my mom and I were in charge of desserts we looked through the dessert section of Foolproof and decided to make the German Chocolate Cupcakes and the Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes.
Here’s the thing…I didn’t doubt for a moment that they’d both be great, but I was way more excited for the German Chocolate variety. Chocolate and coconut are two of my most favorite ingredients. My mom suggested the Spiced Pumpkin cupcakes as well and I sort of half-heartedly agreed. Pumpkin cupcakes just didn’t excite me that much.
Well, now, pumpkin cupcakes excite me. The combination of moist, softly spiced pumpkin cake, cream cheese frosting with just a whisper of maple, and chunks of crunchy chocolate-covered toffee takes this above and beyond any other pumpkin cake I’ve had. This recipe has me wanting to garnish everything with toffee. Don’t be surprised if you see some upcoming desserts from me wearing jaunty little toffee hats.
So, why then, have I called this recipe “Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Covered Nut Clusters?” I made the cupcakes again about a week after Christmas and didn’t have any toffee on hand but had some cashew, almond, and pumpkin seed clusters covered in chocolate and they were pretty darn delicious with the cupcakes too. That’s what my photos are of so that’s what I’ve called them here. But either candy topping is great with these cupcakes.
So, in short, do not turn away from these cupcakes cavalierly with a wave of the hand and a “What’s so special about pumpkin cupcakes?” attitude. These are worth a second look.
Click here for the recipe, as featured in House Beautiful magazine.
* I made about 2/3 of the frosting suggested and it was the perfect amount. I also used a tablespoon or two of maple syrup instead of the maple flavor suggested.
** The German Chocolate cupcakes were wonderful too!