Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes (Guest Post by @Scicurious!)

As promised yesterday, I’m bringing my very first guest post to the Bunsen Burner Bakery!  Bethany, or Scicurious as she is known on the internet, is a blog-friend turned real-life friend, as we overlapped in the same city for a bit.  When she’s not experimenting in her own kitchen, Bethany blogs all about science and science education at Science News and Science News for Students, where she’s been running a fantastic series on experimental design as related to baking cookies.  You can also find her on twitter at @Scicurious.

I don’t know how early most people start planning their Thanksgiving dinners, but for my family, two months ahead is the norm. It’s not just the big dinner itself. It’s also the surrounding dinners, lunches and breakfasts required for the 11-15 people that will be gathered for 3-4 days in happy family "harmony."

But the dinner itself, that’s the big one. Especially dessert. Pecan pie is a staple, as is the double layer pumpkin pie (Classy? No. Delicious? Oh my gosh yes). In previous years a cousin had provided pumpkin cheesecake to great acclaim, but he wouldn’t be present this year. A regular pumpkin pie is always a possibility, I suppose. But go big or go home.

When it comes to pumpkin pie I always have two difficulties.
1. I HATE normal pie crust. It makes your teeth squeak.
2. Portion size is a bear. A big slice is quickly regretted, while a small slice send you running back to the dessert table, only to find the pie GONE! A travesty.
The best way to control portion size? Cupcakes. So I set out to make pumpkin pie cupcakes.

I started with the base recipe here. It worked all right, but I didn’t like the whipped cream on top for texture, and I felt it really needed a base. I wanted a graham cracker crust, but in a moment of inspiration, bought ginger snaps instead. I didn’t regret it. Two test recipes later and the final result made its debut at Thanksgiving to great acclaim. I only got half of one before the rest mysteriously disappeared.

pumpkin pie cupcakes
Pumpkin pie cupcakes with ginger snap crust and cream cheese icing.

For pie:

  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

For crust:

  • 1.5 cup crushed ginger snaps
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted

For icing:

  • …I admit it I bought it in a can. I was short on time.

For crust:

  1. The original recipe said it made 12 cupcakes. The original recipe is a dirty liar. This recipe will make at least 18.
  2. Line a 12 cup muffin tin and a 6 cup muffin tin with foil liners. Spray inside of liners with cooking spray.
  3. Get your inner anger out crushing the ginger snaps. Mix well with the melted butter. Press into an even layer on the bottom of each of your cups.
  4. Refrigerate cups 1 hour. Or don’t. That works ok too.

For pie:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and milk. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Put about 1/3 cup in each muffin cup, on top of the crust.
  3. Bake. Original recipe says 20 minutes. I find it needs to be at least 30 min. They will puff up significantly but then will descend during cooling.
  4. Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool before icing.