We took a leisurely mini road trip today towards Estes Park, and drove by the perfect setting for a Halloween party - the infamous Stanley Hotel that was made popular by Stephen King in the book and movie The Shining. In the movie, it was named the Overlook Hotel, and rumor has it that Mr Stephen King stayed in room 207 and wrote the story there.
And driving by it in cool misty rain with grey clouds hovering did send chills to my bones as I remembered that sinister look on Jack Nicholson's character's face when he said "Honey, I home!" EEEEE! Why was the door left ajar??? Who opened it???
Soon after we arrived back home, I turned on the satellite radio, and on came Dead Man's Party by Oingo Boingo. And to the tune of that song, I baked these cupcakes and decorated them while the kids took a nap. Used this great recipe from Dede Wilson, Author of Bake It To The Limit.
For the cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (used chopped pecans)
1 cup raisins (omitted)
1 can (15 oz.) solid-packed pumpkin (about
1 3/4 cups)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
For the frosting:
14 oz. pure white chocolate, finely chopped
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature, cut
into tablespoon-size pieces
12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room
temperature, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
Colored sugars and decorating pens
Set and heat oven to 350. Line three 12-cup muffin tins with decorative cupcake papers.
To make the cupcakes, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Toss the walnuts and raisins with the flour mixture. (This will help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffin tins.)
In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition.
Add the flour mixture in three additions, stirring with a large wooden spoon until just combined.
Fill the muffin tins about three-fourths full. Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the tins to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the tins and let cool completely.To make the frosting, in a double boiler, melt the white chocolate, stirring constantly, until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Let stand until just warm to the touch. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until smooth and blended. Add the melted chocolate and beat again until smooth. Use the frosting immediately, coloring it as desired. Spread 1 to 2 Tbs. frosting over each cupcake and decorate with colored sugars and decorating pens. Makes 36 cupcakes.
These moist pumpkin cupcakes can be tailored to your family's preferences. For a more grown-up version, substitute chopped crystallized ginger and dried cranberries for the walnuts and raisins.
Unfrosted cupcakes will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Once frosted, cupcakes are best eaten within 1 day.
Dede Wilson, Author, Bake It To The Limit
Note: Though these cupcakes are more kid-friendly and far less scary than Halloween movies, the pumpkin flavor and frosting did bring out the little horns in me.
For some reason, I'm having trouble uploading pictures tonight. Will try to upload the frosted muffins pictures later. Sorry guys! Come back tomorrow, and I'll try to get the problem fixed by then.