Bring something different to the table this Thanksgiving with an American classic in cupcake form. Your guests will be impressed with these homemade Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes, topped with a graham cracker buttercream, whipped cream and a pie crust star on top!
Plan It Out
This is one of those recipes with multiple parts and can easily get a little overwhelming. There’s the cake, buttercream, whipped cream and pie crust star to think about. Doing all this in one day can be a little hectic and that’s not what anyone needs during the baking season. So plan it out!
Day 1: Bake the pumpkin cupcakes and make the pie crust stars.
Day 2: Make buttercream, whipped cream, decorate and serve.
Your schedule may look a little different than mine, but one important thing to remember is to make the whipped cream the same day you plan to serve the cupcakes.
Typically, I am all about homemade pie dough. However, on this one I don’t mind using a short cut with ready made pie dough. And since moving to the Austin, Texas area, I’ve found The Texas Pie Company’s ready made pie dough and it almost has me switching to this pie dough for good!
Take it from me, someone who is pretty picky with pie dough, I could eat this stuff baked all on its own, it’s seriously that good and is what I used for this recipe.
It’s not available outside of Texas though, so just choose your favorite brand or make it homemade!
Graham Cracker Buttercream
For the best flavor, choose whole graham crackers and process them in a food processor instead of buying the pre-ground graham cracker crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor you can stick the crackers in a zip top bag and grind up with a rolling pin.
Store bought graham cracker crumbs seems like an easy shortcut, but can often be stale. This luscious buttercream deserves the best.
- Butter should be room temperature or slightly warmer, but not too warm. I leave my butter out on the counter the night before, and then whip up my buttercream the next morning.
- Make sure your mixer bowl and whisk are clean before using. Be sure there are no traces of grease and that the egg whites are yolk free.
- Be sure to stir the egg whites and sugar together well before heating or the eggs may start to cook on their own.
- Always be sure the water stays at a simmer for your double boiler and that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the simmering water.
- Test the temperature of the outside of your mixer bowl with your inner wrist instead of the palm of your hand for a more accurate temperature.
- The buttercream should be as smooth as possible. Let the mixer run on low speed to get any remaining air bubbles out before using.
I love this whipped cream because it’s more stable at room temperature and it pipes beautifully. It has more sugar than my typical homemade whipped cream, which helps the cream whip up into a stable form and can hold at room temperature for about 8 hours.
Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight cake container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Frosted cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator in an air tight cake container for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving. Add whipped cream and pie crust star right before serving for best results.
Buttercream may be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw frozen buttercream in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before remixing.
You May Also Like:
- Food processor
- Stand mixer
- 2 12-cup cupcake pans
- Cupcake liners
- Star cutter
- Piping bag
- Ateco piping tip #808
- Wilton piping tip #1M
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or vegetable oil
- 1 ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 store bought pie dough
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup large egg whites (about 8 large eggs)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 cups (6 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs, about 9 crackers
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar/brown sugar
- Pinch table salt
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Adjust an oven rack to the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and cloves and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the oil and sugars on medium speed for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in two batches and mix until just combined. Add the pumpkin puree and mix on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Give the batter a final stir by hand with a rubber spatula and evenly divide batter into prepared cupcake pans, filling about two-thirds full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cupcakes cool in their pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then invert on wire racks to cool completely.
- Adjust an oven rack to the center position and heat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pie dough and cut (1 ¾-inch) small star shapes (or desired shape) using a small star cutter. Place stars on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Grate a sprinkle of nutmeg over each star and bake until the edges turn golden, about 5 minutes. Let stars cool on wire racks and set aside to cool before using.
- Place egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk together by hand to combine. Fill a medium saucepan with about 2 inches of water and heat over medium-high heat. Once the water comes to a simmer, place mixer bowl on top making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Attach a thermometer to the bowl and heat egg white mixture until it reaches 160 degrees, stirring frequently.
- Once the egg white mixture reaches 160 degrees, transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer stand fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the egg white mixture on medium-high speed until it holds medium-stiff peaks, about 8 to 10 minutes. Switch the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment and with the mixer on low speed add the butter one tablespoon at a time then add the vanilla extract. Once combined, add the graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon and turn up the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the buttercream is silky and smooth, about 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the sugar, salt, cream and vanilla extract and mix on medium-low speed for about 1 minute or until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip until the cream is thick enough to hold firm peaks, about 3 minutes.
- Fit a #808 Ateco piping tip in a piping bag and fill with buttercream. Pipe a buttercream on top of each cupcake. In another piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M piping tip fill with whipped cream and pipe a small swirl on top of buttercream. Garnish each cupcake with a pie crust star and serve immediately.
STORE: Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight cake container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Frosted cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight cake container for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving. Add whipped cream and pie crust star right before serving for best results.
Buttercream may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw frozen buttercream in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before remixing.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1268Total Fat: 59gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 1030mgCarbohydrates: 182gFiber: 7gSugar: 131gProtein: 13g
*Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary.*