1-2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
2 tablespoons water
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (not light or whipped) 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin tin with wrappers.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. In another medium bowl, mix the sugar, canola oil, eggs, pumpkin puree, and water until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir well. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins until about 2/3 full. Bake about 20 minutes, or until the middles rise and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature.
To make the frosting, whip together the softened butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. Sift the confectioner’s sugar into a medium bowl (sifting is very important to prevent lumps). Add half of the confectioner’s sugar and mix until smooth, starting at low speed so that the sugar doesn’t fly everywhere and then gradually increasing speed. Mix in the rest of the confectioner’s sugar. Frost the cooled cupcakes, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Note: Bring on the fresh pumpkin if you have it (sugar pumpkins or long pumpkins are best). Cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake at 375°F cut-side-down on a rimmed baking sheet for 45 minutes to an hour. Scoop the tender flesh out of its skin and puree in a food processor for about a minute. Set the pulp in a fine-mesh strainer to drain for an hour before using. (You can substitute squash, too!)