Our brutal heat refuses to ease, but I am willing to ignore it (once safely inside our air conditioned house) and cook like it’s autumn anyway. To me fall is apple picking and pumpkin patches and crisp mornings and nature’s rainbow in the changing colors of the leaves and pies (oh wonderful fall pies)! That certain coffee shop re-introduces its fall flavors Mmmm Pumpkin Spice Latte (Can I have that iced?!) and with this recipe you can take it home in the form of a cupcake. Start with a pumpkin base and add espresso powder and spices. Top that with whipped cream icing (Genius!) and Caramel sauce and it is fall in every.single.bit. Delicious.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
Yield: about 2 dozen cupcakes
 
For the cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. espresso powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
½ cup coffee or espresso, for brushing
For the whipped cream:
2¼ cups heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
 
For garnish:
Ground cinnamon
Caramel sauce
 
Directions:
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Stir together and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.
Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans.  While the cupcakes are still warm, brush them two or three times with the coffee or espresso, allowing the first coat to soak in before repeating.  Let cool completely.
To make the frosting, place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increasing to high speed.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar gradually.  Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat.  Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost the cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce.  Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.
 
Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats
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