Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


This is probably my favorite holiday. I have wonderful childhood memories of this holiday, some of which I have discussed on the blog in years past.

This year the pumpkin cupcakes made a reappearance, this time with Smitten’s Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. No fancy decorating, just plain and delicious.

If you are looking for some other last minute ideas, check out these festive baked goods from past years!

Chocolate Peanut butter Cake 

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Silver Peanut butter Frosting

Apple and Meringue Tartlets

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Mini Chocolate and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Caramel Apple Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes (and Halloween cupcake decorating ideas)

Mandarin Orange and Pomegranate Tart

Peanut butter cup cookies

Maple Pumpkin Muffins

Rich Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Orange White Chip Cookies



Ladybug Birthday Cake and Smash Cake

Note: I attempted to scramble the name in the photo above but it turned out looking like a botched decorating job! Does anyone know how to make a black box or to blur a photo in Picasa?

I love making first birthday cakes and my trademark cake has evolved to be the following: A large sheet cake topped with one small three dimensional round cake. The purpose of the round cake is to add interest, dimension, and decoration. I then replicate that same round cake for the purpose of a smash cake.  A smash cake is what we call the small cake given to the birthday boy or girl to mash and squeeze between her fingers (and in rare circumstances, actually eat!). You’ll see I used the same formula for the Clown Cake and a similar idea for the Monkey Cake. I like how the matching cakes reinforce the party theme.  And there is something so cute about a miniature version of the larger cake made specifically for the guest of honor!

The pan I use to make the three dimensional round cakes is a pan my mom ordered from an infomercial several years ago. I have tried to find it online but I have not had any luck. It is the perfect pan to use to make a baseball or soccer ball cake. I have used the pan more times than I can count!

I was definitely happy with how the cake turned out, though I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that it was for MY little girl’s first birthday?! For goodness sake…where does the time go?! Next thing I know I’ll be baking her wedding cake. 

(If she’ll let me. 🙂 )

Brown Sugar Cake:

(I doubled the below recipe for each 15-inch pan.  As-is, this recipe yields enough batter for two 8 or 9-inch cakes)

  • shortening and flour for pan prep
  • 1/2  cup  butter, melted
  • 8 oz.  sour cream
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4  cup  granulated sugar
  • 2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 3/4  cup buttermilk

 Preheat oven to 350 F.

Rub shortening on the bottom of cake pans.  Sprinkle with flour.  Set aside.

Combine melted butter and sour cream in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add sugars and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat with a mixer at medium speed 3 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs; beat 2 minutes or until well blended.

Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Sharply tap pan once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

For the frosting I used the Wilton recipe.

Frosting (I made this recipe about three times for this cake):

  • 1 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water (or milk or heavy cream)
  • 1/2 teaspoon meringue powder

Cream together shortening and butter using an electric mixer.  Add vanilla. Add confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time and continue to beat with mixer.  Add cream and meringue powder.  Add more confectioners’ sugar or more cream to reach desired consistency.


Check out these GORGEOUS cookies! I cannot take an ounce of credit except for ordering them from a friend’s friend. If you are in the Boston area and looking for AWESOME cookies/cookie favors, send me an email and I will provide the contact info.

Here are some more photos from the picnic:

The smash cake: Before

The smash cake: After

Sunflower and Ladybug Cupcakes

We had a little birthday celebration for our precious girl! The theme was a “ladybug picnic.” I made these chocolate cupcakes. I used my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe and a Wilton icing recipe. While Wilton icing is not really my favorite flavor-wise, I believe there is a time and place for it. When you need something that will hold up for an extended period of time, it usually does the trick. That said, the weather was humid and warm and these still melted a bit (as you might be able to tell from the photo).  I can’t even imagine what would have happened if I used a butter-based recipe! I bought the cute little sugar ladybugs from Oriental Trading and they worked out just perfectly. I was happy with how these turned out and they looked very sweet along with all of the other treats!

(Here is a little preview of the cake!)