Dissecting a Pumpkin 2.0 : Caramelized Sugar Toppers

Caramel Sugar Decorations

Whether you have a whole pumpkin you are tying to use up or you just got the really huge can of Libby's Pumpkin, I felt that a follow up to the original Dissecting a Pumpkin  post was warranted after this weekend's stint in the lab.

This weekend I made a concoction out of sheer chance. I had planned to make some Pumpkin Almond cupcakes again, but this time I would mix the chopped almonds in a smooth Almond Buttercream and fill the center. But to my surprise, I was all out of Almonds ( and didn't really feel like going to the store)... While rummaging around my pantry, it hit me! I had all these cans of condensed milk..."Why not fill the center with sweetened condensed milk..." I thought. So that is what I set out to do...

I mixed the batter and began pouring it in to the cups and then decided to drizzle the condensed milk in between two layers of pumpkin cake batter and then on top before baking. In the oven the condensed milk began to caramelize, giving a nice golden brown color on top and wonderful complement to the pumpkin aroma.  As with all of the cakes I make, there I was eating the hot Pumpkin cake right out of the oven... it was awesome!!

On the previous pumpkin cakes in my Dissecting a Pumpkin post, I topped them with my first royal icing decorations. On these however, I tried a new decoration: a caramelized sugar topper. These toppers are very simple to make and really added a distinction to the taste and presentation of this concoction. ( See recipe and image below)

Once the cake cooled, I piped on some Almond Buttercream and topped it with the caramelized sugar topping.

This weekend my Sweet Pumpkin Cupcake was born!

Making a caramel sugar decoration :

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup (dry measure) water
Food coloring (optional, I used green for one)

Pour all ingredients into a sauce pan on low heat and simmer until the sugar melts. (Do not stir) Allow the sugar to caramelize (the color will become darker) until you get a syrup consistence. Take the caramel off of the stove and with a metal spoon drizzle the mixture on some parchment paper and let cool. The sugar mixture will harden and you can peel it off to decorate you cake. (Grease you hands with shortening or oil before peeling the caramel off).

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