I tend to spend a ton of time in the kitchen during the fall season. I bake more than I cook, and enjoy it thoroughly. While I can make a mean turkey with the works - I would pick whipping up a delicious dessert over that any day! I love how my little one enjoys baking just as much as I do - and how we are carrying on the mother-daughter tradition of quality time in the kitchen. 

Here's one of our favorite fall recipes that's perfect for any holiday celebration. Simply change up the decor or keep it simple for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It's light, moist, gently sweet, and perfectly spiced. My cake recipes tend to serve up large quantities. For a smaller batch, simply cut down measurements into 1/3 of what's stated below and reduce baking time by 2 - 3 minutes. If you prefer to make the miniature sized cupcakes, reduce baking time by 3-5 minutes.

(Makes about 3 dozen)

For the cupcakes:
  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 C pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 C brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 6  large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pans.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt) and whisk together.  Set aside.
3. In another large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, sugars, vegetable oil, and eggs. Mix well.
4. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture, and mix with an electric mixer just until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
5. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each a little over halfway.
6. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on wire racks before frosting.

For the frosting:

  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 lbs. confectioner's sugar
  • 1 TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle, combine cream cheese and butter until thoroughly blended (on medium-high speed).
2. Gradually add the sugar.
3. Add the cinnamon and vanilla.

After piping on the frosting with a star tip, we did three different types of Fall/Halloween inspired cupcakes. For the pumpkin ones, we simply added "mellowcreme" pumkpin candies for garnish. The mini cupcakes were adorned with simple plastic bat and spider rings (from the dollar store that I had left over from a few years back). And for the mummies, we picked up a Wilton mummy decorating kit, here - Natalies pick! I'm always on the look out for fun decorating options that are super easy yet look great, so she can have a hand at the decorating with little to no supervision (seriously, at this age it's all about "I can do it all by myself!").

* Pardon the photo quality! Fall also means the sun sets way earlier and we didn't get that natural light. ;)

Hope you try this recipe and let me know how it turns out! Happy Halloween!