Pumpkin & Bush Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Do you get bored at work? I know I do. Luckier than some, there’s always a chance I’ll get the chance to be creative and amuse myself for a while.

Today was one of those days. Catering for clients visiting the college today and cupcakes were on the menu. I needed about 4 dozen for morning tea, not many really, I know but enough when there’s only 3 hours and you want to make totally different cakes with totally different frostings.

They did need to showcase Australian native flavours, it’s what we specialise in, so I pimped mine with some Australian sweet spices along with the usual, old-school exotics.

The first cake I’ll show you is the “Fudge Sundae.” If this cake was a model, she would refuse to add this photo to her portfolio. I know what Instagram is, I know where my edit thing is – doesn’t seem to make any difference, can’t figure them out…

Light chocolate cake filled with a bitter chocolate ganache and topped with vanilla bean frosting, bittersweet chocolate glaze and a maraschino cherry.

cupcakes 019To fill a cupcake like I did with this one, all you do is get a little, sharp knife and cut a plug out of the top of the cake. Don’t go too deep or you’ll hit the bottom. Pop in your chosen filling and eat the bit you cut out. I know some people replace the plug after they fill the cake, I don’t. Well, actually I do if it’s a wettish kind of filling like fruit compote or a runnier citrus curd. In cases like that, a wet filling can swazzle about when you frost the cake and actually get muddled up a bit in your frosting. The ganache filling for this one was thick and just sat there all perky and polite.

These ones are my Blueberry, Almond and Lemon Myrtle cakes. Meh, photo isn’t too bad I guess. Lovely cake and perfect to offer as an alternative to very sweet, frosted cakes.

cupcakes 006

Light, almond meal and lemon myrtle sponge with plenty of plump blueberries in the batter. Sprinkled with flaked almonds before baking.

Now these next ones turned out to be the star of the show, you just never can tell. People were very taken with them. Maybe it’s because pumpkin isn’t used very often as a dessert ingredient in Australia? I mean, we make pumpkin scones, it’s true, but there’s no real pumpkin pie tradition and we certainly cannot buy pumpkin puree/pie filling in a tin.

cupcakes 004

Pumpkin, spices and maple syrup frosted with a maple cream cheese frosting and finished with crushed toffee pecans.

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon myrtle
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
  • ¼ of a cup maple syrup
  • 1 +1/2 cups light-brown sugar
  • 100g very soft  butter
  • ¾ cups neutral tasting oil eg grapeseed, canola, rice bran
  • 3  large eggs
  • 1  + ½ cups of mashed, cold, cooked  pumpkin. I used Jap but any brightly coloured pumpkin will work. Please read my note about batter consistency – all the pumpkins vary so much in moisture content, it’s hard to be precise about how wet/dry your batter will end up being.

Put all the dry ingredients aside in a bowl and preheat the oven to 180C

In a stand mixer, put in the eggs, oil, butter, maple syrup, sugar and pumpkin. Beat very well until everything is smooth.

Fold in the dry ingredients and gently mix. Do not beat or over-stir – it doesn’t matter if the mixture is not completely lump free.

Fill your cupcake cases about ¾ full and bake for around 20 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when you gently poke it.

Cool and frost with your favourite frosting. I used a maple flavoured cream cheese frosting this time and finished off with chopped toffee pecans..


4 thoughts on “Pumpkin & Bush Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. As I “yummed” my way through the cupcakes, each one seemed better than the one before, and the pumpkin was indeed the star. How wonderful these all must have been for your morning tea.

    1. Lillian, the pumpkin has continued to be a very popular flavour despite the fact that it really isn’t a known sweetie/dessert flavour here in Australia. Obviously I’m on to something 🙂

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