Dissecting a Pumpkin

So, it's Fall! (Though if you are in the New York area you probably can't tell) For me, besides the leaves changing color, nothing spells fall like the abundance of pumpkin around this time of year.

Pumpkin, also known as "The Beta Carotene King" is said to help macular degeneration, boost your immune system and prevent heart disease and cancer, according to The Doctor's Book of Food Remedies by Selene Yeager.

There are so many ways to enjoy pumpkin: fried, in soups, stews, baked, steamed, with peas and beans with ham - I can keep going ... as well as in desserts.  But, aside from the traditional pumpkin pies, breads and cheesecakes ( I make a mean marble pumpkin cheesecake - if I can say so myself)  I wanted to explore some other SWEET ways to enjoy it, particularly in cupcakes.

So, last week, I did a little pumpkin experimenting and found some ways to incorporate pumpkin in my cupcakes and came up with these three:

Pumpkin Almond Cupcakes:
Pumpkin cake dotted with crunchy almond pieces and topped with cream cheese frosting

Pumpkin Chip Cupcakes:
Pumpkin chocolate chip cake topped with butter cream frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Pumpkin filling:
Vanilla cupcakes filled with a pumpkin cream cheese filling.

While you can use canned pumpkin, a nice, fresh pumpkin has a lot more to offer than being a fall decoration, as it allows you to control how it is processed and what is added.  Cleaning the pumpkin and cutting it in to cubes provides a manageable way to deal with a huge pumpkin. (Freezing any excess also saves time in the long run.) Steaming or boiling the pumpkin cubes to a consistency that can  be easily cut into with a fork, and then pureeing them, will give you the equivalent of what you will get in the can. You can then add any spices, honey or syrups etc. to modify.

I decorated the first two cupcake varieties with royal icing pumpkin flowers (my first time experimenting with royal icing :) ) and shared them with some friends at a going away/ congratulatory get together. (Image below)

Have a pumpkin cupcake idea? Leave me a message below. :)

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