Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fall Leaves Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cupcakes (Improv Challenge)

Fall Leaves Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
Wow has this been a roller coaster! It was such a surprise when the original hostess to the "Improv Cooking Challenge" suddenly resigned. A BIG Thank You to Karen from Frugal Antics of the Harried Homemaker for taking over and continue with the "Improv Challenge!"
Improv Challenge
Continuing with the regularly scheduled ingredients:
Pumpkin and Cream Cheese
This month I decided to go with what I know...
For the Cupcake itself, all you need is 2 ingredients:
100% Pure Canned Pumpkin & Spice Cake Mix
Mix the 2 ingredients in mixer on medium for about 2 minutes. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for about 16 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely. Makes 18 cupcakes.
Next up: The Icing!
The icing that I made is a spin on the regular decorating buttercream that I usually make. It was as simple as replacing the shortening and some of the margarine with cream cheese and just working towards the right consistency with adding the powdered sugar, same as I do with the buttercream. We all liked this cream cheese icing so much and it reminded us of yummy cheesecake! I definitely plan on using this icing in place of buttercream more often and it works great for 1M swirls!  Because of the cream cheese, these cupcakes will need to be refrigerated.
Cream Cheese Icing
8 ounces regular cream cheese (not low fat, it just doesn't come out right in my experience!)
1/2 stick of margarine (1/4 cup)
3 to 4 cups of powdered sugar
In mixer, combine cream cheese and margarine, add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until pipable consistency. If it is not at pipeable consistency, add more powdered sugar or chill in the refrigerator, it will thicken up some in there. This will ice about 20 cupcakes.
For the leaves I used the Wilton Nature Fondant and Gum Paste Mold. Using a small brush, dust the cavity to be used with a little bit of cornstarch. I found that I did not need to redust each time. I molded all the leaves, and let them sit on parchment paper while icing the cupcakes.
The red, yellow, and orange fondant leaves are made with Wilton Fondant. The brown/chocolate fondant is by Fondarific. I have just started using this in the past week, after someone had recommended it to me and let me tell you it taste like chocolate candy! They have all flavors, even coffee flavored! Currently, they offer a sample pack on the  Fondarific Website that all you have to do is pay shipping for, totally worth it!
I piped the cream cheese icing onto the pumpkin cupcake with the Wilton 1M tip and added a few leaves to each.
Super YUM and just in time for Thanksgiving!

These Cupcakes are Shared at:

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Improv Challenge Participants:


  1. What a great idea! They are so pretty. I hope you will link this post to my Thanksgiving Traditions link up!

  2. Hello fellow Improv Challenge blogger. Those cupcakes are so pretty and look delicious. Come on over and visit.

  3. These cupcakes are gorgeous! I love those fall leaves :)

  4. So cute! And yes, please. I'll take 3 =o)

  5. Found your site from the Improv Challenge. I also made a pumpkin spice cake recipe, but with apples as well :) I love what you did with the leaves. So creative and cute!

  6. I love the little molds! I never knew they made such a thing. I'm so lacking in the sculpting department that I just never try it, but I can do that!

  7. Your cupcakes are beautiful with your decorations, great job.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my Improv Cooking Challenge recipe: Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  8. You always have the cutest treats! I love the colorful leaves. Thanks for sharing :-)

  9. VERY cute cupcakes. I love how easy you made the fondant leaves look. I have yet to be brave enough to try anything so fancy.

  10. Your Cupcakes will be perfect for Thanksgiving. My very best wishes to you and your family for a blessed Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you again real soon!
    Miz Helen

  11. I wish we had spice cake mixes over here in Australia. I would love to try this!

    Best wishes and happy weekend,

  12. Hi there! Returning your check-out from the cooking challenge. I love the added touch of the fall leaves on your cupcakes! Just lovely.

  13. So impressive with your fondant leaves! I've never dealt with fondant... it scares the living daylights outta me! Those are some beautiful cupcakes right there!


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