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Pumpkin-Walnut Cupcakes with Grand Marnier Frosting

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These not-too-sweet cupcakes with Grand Marnier-cream cheese frosting will appeal to grown ups for Thanksgiving dessert or afternoon tea.

Serves: 12


For the cupcakes:

1 cup (8 ounces) canned pumpkin puree

1 large egg

½ cup each granulated and firmly packed light brown sugar

½ cup canola oil

1 cup (4½ ounces) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons pumpkin-pie spice

1¼ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup chopped walnuts


For the frosting:

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 ounce unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup (4½ ounces) confectioners’ sugar, sifted


1. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 F.

2. In a large bowl, beat the pumpkin, egg, sugars and oil with a handheld mixer until smooth. Sift the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and stir into the pumpkin mixture until blended. Stir in the walnuts.

3. Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, add mix to fill the muffin tin, and transfer to the oven. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cupcake, about 25 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.

4. While the cupcakes are baking, make the frosting. In a deep bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Stir in the Grand Marnier, orange zest and vanilla. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.

5. When the cupcakes are cool, frost them and refrigerate until the frosting is set.


Note: The pumpkin puree can be substituted with cooked butternut squash or sweet potatoes.


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