It is as American as apple pie. Although I find it nigh on impossible to look at an apple pie without sniggering or muttering “Band Camp” to myself.
Thanksgiving is held on the 4th Thursday of November, which this year is the 24th. Similarly to harvest festivals held throughout Europe, the first American Thanksgiving was held to celebrate the harvest and a year in a new land by the European settlers who had arrived on the Mayflower a year before.
Traditions abound, the President pardons a turkey, then presumably will sit down for dinner usually consisting of the pardoned turkey’s less fortunate cousin. Cranberry sauce accompanies the turkey and pumpkin pie is served for pudding.
The cranberries and pumpkin pie gave me the inspiration for these cupcakes, which are based on Sarah’s recipe. Rather than use tinned pumpkin pie mix I roasted a pumpkin and blitzed it with milk with a stick blender, left over pumpkin is delicious in smoothies.
In an effort to get more done last night I switched off the phone and laptop and went cold (Thanksgiving) turkey on twitter, blogs and the internet in general. I have to admit that I twitched just a little bit and tried to reach for my Blackberry more than once, but feel refreshed after 12 hours off grid. I am fairly sure that our brains are not designed for such constant stimulation?
Cakes were baked last night. Buttercream coloured and prepped and fondant stars cut. All ready for assembly this morning.
I had a big batch of buttercream in the fridge ready for colouring (Sarah’s idea) it keeps for ages. I reckon that you need just over an ounce per cake. I use gel colours, the liquid ones change the consistency too much, particularly when you are aiming for a darker colour. Disposable piping bags are an essential, I try to live a green a life as possible, and I hate the use once aspect to them, but really life is too short to wash a piping bag! Use disposable and be extra diligent on sorting your recycling to assuage any guilt. Klippits (from Lakeland) are essential for sealing the buttercream into the bag until you are ready to use it.
Spiced Pumpkin & Cranberry Cupcakes for Thanksgiving
For the cupcakes
- 55 g butter (or baking margarine)
- 120 g brown sugar
- 1 egg ( free range please)
- 35 g roasted pumpkin
- 55 ml milk
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 125 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp all spice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- Handful dried cranberries
For the buttercream
- 75 g butter
- 250 g icing sugar
- Food colourings
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbsp milk
For the cupcakes
- Cream the butter and sugar together with a hand held mixer or in your stand mixer. Put the pumpkin, milk and lemon into a container and whizz with a stick blender. Add to the butter and sugar mixture together with an egg. Mix well.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder and spices and fold into the batter. Fold in the cranberries.
- Line a bun tin with fairy cake cases. Fill each case 2/3 with batter and bake at 190C / GM 5 for about 12 minutes.
- The buns are done when risen and springy.
For the buttercream
- The secret to fluffy buttercream is to beat the butter really well before you add any sugar. I have also recently learnt the hand trick of making butter cream in the food processor to prevent the kitchen being covered in clouds of icing sugar. You can make it with a hand mixer, but will need to add the icing sugar slowly to the butter.
- Put the butter in the food processor bowl and process for a minute or so, until soft and fluffy. Pour in the icing sugar and milk, put the lid back on and cover with a damp tea towel, and process again. Scrape the sides down, add your vanilla and colouring, and more milk or icing sugar if needed and process again.
- Pipe red and blue roses onto each cake and sprinkle with white fondant stars.
- If buttercream is too sweet for you make a crunchy lemon topping by mixing equal volumes of lemon juice and caster sugar, stirring well and spooning over the cakes.
Mel @ Sharky Oven Gloves
The combination of spiced pumpkin and cranberries sounds delicious, and so very Thanksgiving-y (unsurprisingly!!)!! I love the way you’ve decorated them – the little fondant stars really finish the cupcakes off perfectly.
Thanks Mel. A scary amount of gel colouring went into the blue icing!
I am quite proud of them!
Sarah, Maison Cupcake
Super piping and those stars are very American! I am impressed you roasted your own pumpkin, I am so lazy I prefer tins.
Believe me I almost gave up trying to hack it to pieces. Even with my good knives.
Janice (Farmersgirl Kitchen)
What a brilliant idea, I’m sure anyone celebrating Thanksgiving would be delighted to have these on their table.
I was delighted to have them, for both breakfast and tea yesterday. Ed took the rest to work today where his colleagues positively “inhaled” them.
Such a delicious Thanksgiving treat and the piping work is super impressive! And a great idea to roast the pumpkin as an alternative to tinned puree. Thank you very much for entering Tea Time Treats Helen!
Glad you like them. They went down well here. Far better to roast your own pumpkin (or squash) or I would have had to eat the rest of the tin!
Tori @ eatori
These look just gorgeous. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving. And I know exactly what you mean about taking some time out- I’ve tried to put in a digital ‘sabbath’- on Sundays, I don’t let myself check. Come Mondays, I feel a little more human again.
Thank you Tori. I think that a digital day out is the way forward. I am now turning off data on my phone unless I am expecting something urgent to happen. Reading and knitting whilst waiting / travelling from now on.
the caked crusader
What gorgeous vibrant colours
Not only delicious, but super CUTE! Can I have a blue one please???
yum yum yum, but being abit of pumpkin addict i felt not quite pumpkiny enough, i added extra and still thought maybe could do with more, also added maple syrup to icing instead of vanilla, extra yumminess!!
Glad you like them Miranda, thanks for coming to comment. Love the idea of maple icing. Will have to try it out!