Spiced Butternut Cupcakes with Brown Butter Buttercream

Spiced Butternut Cupcakes with Brown Butter Buttercream

Makes about 28 cupcakes

For the cupcakes

1 cup canola or safflower oil

1 cup sugar

1 cup golden brown sugar, lightly packed

4 large eggs

2 cups butternut squash puree (see tips above)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Brown Butter Buttercream

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces

4 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3-5 tablespoons heavy cream

Prepare the cupcakes:  Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.  Line 2 cupcake tins with paper liners and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the oil with both sugars until well combined and smooth.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Beat in the butternut squash puree and the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the butternut mixture, beating until smooth and well combined.

Using an ice cream scoop (or a spoon) transfer the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 full.  Bake the cupcakes until the tops are firm and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean, 16-18 minutes.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in their tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare the buttercream:  Place the butter in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Melt the butter, stirring occasionally, and continue to cook until the butter has turned deep brown in color and it has a nutty aroma.  Allow the butter to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a bowl.  Chill the butter until it has firmed up but is still soft enough to stir.

Place the butter, confectioner's sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat the mixture on low speed until well incorporated, then increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and beat until combined.  Add the cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well for 30 seconds after each addition, until your desired buttercream texture is achieved.

Decorate the cooled cupcakes with the buttercream, either by spreading with a knife or by using a piping bag.