Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means that soon every red-blooded American will be craving three things: turkey, pumpkin and dessert. That’s probably not surprising considering that the famous peacetime celebration between pilgrims and Native Americans happens to be our biggest national meal-based holiday. Every year millions of families across the country spend the last Thursday in November gorging themselves on each of these wonderful foods and we’re no exception.
And that got us wondering: if turkeys, pumpkins and desserts are all great on their own – what would happen if we combined all three?
We decided to find out, and thus the Thanksgiving Pumpkin Gobbler Cupcakes were born. While these soft and spongy cupcakes don’t contain any actual turkey, because let’s be honest that would be gross, they do contain copious amounts of pumpkin and spice and they feature adorable likenesses of turkeys made up of Reese’s Cups and Candy Corn. Paired with a mind-blowing homemade cinnamon cream cheese frosting, they make for one heck of a holiday dessert. Here’s how you can make your own.
What You’ll Need
We based our recipe on the Pumpkin Cupcakes recipe from D*mn Delicious, because the blog’s author Chung-Ah is awesome and has a knack for desserts. Everything is made from scratch, so you might need to pick up a few more ingredients than we tend to include in our recipe post, but trust us when we say that these cupcakes taste way better than anything you’d make out-of-the-box. With that said, here’s what you’ll need:
For the Cupcakes
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice (you can’t find any, here’s how to make your own.)
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Large Eggs
For the Frosting and Decorations
12 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 (8-Ounce) Package Cream Cheese
3 1/2 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Bag Reese’s Miniature Peanut Butter Cups
1 Bag of Candy Corn
1 Tube Yellow Decorating Icing
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Place nine cupcake wrappers in a 9 or 12-cup cupcake pan. Set that aside. Also take out the butter and cream cheese and set those aside as well. You won’t need them for the batter, but this will help get them to room temperature for the icing.
Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Mix it up.
Combine pumpkin puree, both of the sugars, oil and eggs in a separate bowl. Stir and fold until the mixture is smooth and completely incorporated.
Pour the liquid mix into the dry mix using a rubber spatula. Stir and stir and stir some more until the batter is totally combined and there are no more traces of powder in the bowl.
Pour the batter into the nine cupcake tins using the spatula, a spoon or even your (clean!) fingers. It’s okay, we’re not picky.
Place the cupcake pan into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake and remove it cleanly.
Now that those cupcakes are baking, it’s time to break out your electric mixer and whip up some icing. Start by placing the cream cheese and butter into a large bowl and mixing the two at low speed until you’ve got a light and fluffy base for the frosting.
Continue mixing on low as you slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar. When all of the sugar has been mixed in, add the vanilla and cinnamon. Mix on high for about two minutes until the frosting is light, fluffy and stiff enough to hold a peak. If your frosting is too thick, add a dash of milk to thin it out. Alternatively, if your frosting is somehow too thin, add some more confectioners’ sugar to thicken it.
Wait until the cupcakes have cooled completely on a cookie rack before you ice them.
Decorating the Gobblers
When the cupcakes are cool, it’s time to make those turkeys. First, place your Reese’s cups in the freezer to make them solid and easier to work with.
Then, drop a generous dollop of the cream cheese frosting on each cupcake and smooth it out with a small spatula.
Add sprinkles in a ring along the outside of the cupcake.
Make your candy corn feathers by placing the sugar kernels flat along the perimeter of the cupcake in a half-circle with the centers pointed inwards.
Take the Reese’s cups out of the fridge. Unwrap the cups and flip them upside down. Use the yellow icing to add eyes and a beak. Then stick those bad boys into the center of the cupcakes and add feet sticking out of the bottom of the Reese’s cups with the yellow icing.
Finally, unwrap one of those cupcakes and devour it, you pastry mastermind – because you’re done! Alternatively, you can also place the cupcakes in a box and refrigerate them before serving them to your friends and family if you’re into that sort of thing. Whatever, we don’t judge here.
Pro Tip: For some variety, do what we did and add turkeys to half of your cupcakes while decorating the others with only sprinkles. This will make your final yield look even craftier and it gives people who don’t like candy on their desserts a few easier-to-eat alternatives.
Got an Awesome Thanksgiving Candy Recipe? Share It with Us!
As both candy connoisseurs and people who can’t control ourselves around Thanksgiving food, we’d love to hear what awesome candy recipes your family makes for Thanksgiving. Share yours with us in the comments and we just might post it on our social networks!
Until next time,
The ACS Team