Pumpkin passion cupcakes

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Now, I’m not normally one to get really excited about a vegetable based cupcake but these were goooooood (and I mean really good). So good I had two in fact! After trundling around Sainsbury’s on Saturday evening and being persuaded by Mr Birdie to buy a pumpkin to make soup (which turned out to be pretty horrible) because they were cheaper than a butternut squash I was left with a whole lot of pumpkin to use up. Luckily I had seen this BBC Good Food recipe so off I set.

These have a similar taste and texture to carrot cake (which meant that in true Mr Birdie style he was going no-where near them!) They are moist and due to the cinnamon in them manage to have an Autumny (again I think I’m making up words) taste which is perfect for this time of year. The cream cheese icing matches the cupcakes perfectly and adds a creamy tang. I managed to make 14 cupcakes from the mixture. They went down very well in the staffroom at work.

Ingredients:

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For the cupcakes
175ml sunflower oil
175g light muscovado sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g coarsely grated pumpkin or butternut squash flesh (if the flesh is quite wet you may want to squeeze it first)
100g sultanas
Grated zest 1 orange
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the frosting
200g tub full-fat cream cheese
85g icing sugar
toasted chopped pecans to decorate (optional)

Method:
1) Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases (although you may need more depending on how much mixture you have).
2) Pour the oil into a large bowl and add the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat together, then add the grated pumpkin, sultanas and orange zest.

3) Stir in the cinnamon, flour and bicarbonate of soda. The mixture will be quite wet but don’t worry!

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4) Spoon into the cases (Mine were quite generously filled – at least three-quarters full). Bake for 25 minutes until firm and springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. (At this stage you can freeze the cakes for 4 months.)

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5) To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth then spread on top of the cupcakes. Leave plain or decorate with toasted pecans. Store in the fridge, but return to room temperature to serve for the best flavour and texture.

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