Pumpkin Cupcakes for my Pumpkin

We celebrate Izzy’s 8th birthday this year with cupcakes, a kibble cupcake for the bully, and pumpkin marshmallow cupcakes for us. She has settled into our lives like an heirloom, a treasure, a thing that we have been lucky to get, ancient and precious, decorating the living room with various stations of repose. She loves her birthday. We love her. And these blow-torched cupcakes are the fanciest thing I have done post-call in a long time.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Burnt Marshmallow Frosting

Adapted from the Food Network Mag

Makes 24! (so spread among neighbors)

For the cupcakes:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

2 cups packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

4 large egg whites

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Make the cupcakes: Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with liners. Whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cloves in a medium bowl. Combine the brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, pumpkin puree and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds of the way. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting: Combine the granulated sugar, cream of tartar, egg whites and salt in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water). Whisk until the mixture is warm and the sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pan, add the vanilla and beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until the frosting is cool and stiff glossy peaks form, 4 to 6 minutes.

Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip; pipe onto the cupcakes. Brown the frosting with a kitchen torch.

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