We’ve all been there: you see a great recipe, you spend almost as much as a steak dinner on ingredients, you toil for hours in a cramped kitchen (or corner of your dorm room)…only for the final product to be a total flop. As in, even your floormate with a self-described “garbage disposal” appetite for everything won’t touch it.
You followed the directions perfectly, and still, it fails you. And you’re just left staring at the gelatinous — or cardboard-like — mass, thinking, “I could’ve had CHEESECAKE FACTORY! CHEEEEEESECAKE FACTORYYYYYY.” It’s painful, I know.
That’s why, with every dish, we test a few different recipes a couple times to bring you the dishes that are worth your hard-earned dollars. And, starting now, we’ll review popular recipes to help you decide whether they’re worth the grocery bill, like this little number from Georgetown Cupcake.
Being a thrifty millennial, I’ve spent the past year and a half without cable — just Hulu and Netflix to keep me entertained. And last summer, I became obsessed with Georgetown Cupcake. I can’t explain it. I won’t. There’s just something mesmerizing about watching people craft slot machines and orange gorillas and firetrucks out of cupcakes.
Anyway, onto the recipe: Though it is a bit ingredient-heavy, it’s completely worthwhile. The treats are light, fluffy and have just the right blend of pumpkin and cinnamon-y spice. (If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, try my semi-homemade Pumpkin Pie Muffins or Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.)
There are a few tweaks I’d suggest:
- Opt for mini cupcakes, as the frosting-to-cake ratio is more even. Just trim your cook time to about 9-10 minutes, then insert a toothpick in the center. Once it comes out clean, they’re ready.
- Sifting isn’t mandatory. The test kitchen heads at Bon Appetit recommend just whisking the flour and dry ingredients to ease away any lumps, so there’s no need to hunt down a sifter.
- I’m not sold on whether you really need to add in the flour in thirds. I don’t think it makes a difference, but I respect their process. Just know that if more than a third spills in while mixing, you haven’t ruined anything. Try to incorporate the dry ingredients gradually, so it doesn’t overwhelm the mixer and everything combines into the batter smoothly.
- Adding maple to the cream cheese frosting isn’t necessary. It’s a nice, flavorful touch, but you don’t need to buy it just for this recipe. The cupcakes are just as great without it. (In fact, I prefer it without.)
Have you tried this recipe? What did you think?
Get the Recipe: Georgetown Cupcake’s Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
No time (or cash) for G-town’s version? Keep it simple with Collegiate Cook’s Pumpkin Cupcakes:
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 box of yellow cake mix
- 1 can pumpkin puree (15 ounces)
- ½ cup of oil
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 3 ounces of cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place liners in each cup of a mini muffin tin, or grease the bottom and sides of each one with butter.
- For the cake: Mix the yellow cake mix and baking soda, then slowly beat in the remaining ingredients. Fill each cup in the muffin tin ⅔ of the way full. Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs (no gooeyness).
- For the frosting: Blend all ingredients together, pour into a piping bag (or plastic bag with one corner cut open) and swirl on top of the cooled cupcakes.