Little Aria asked to see one of her favorite classmates, Colin, on a playdate. Aria can be very detail-oriented and asked if we could prepare mini cupcakes for the occasion. To make the sweet treat a lot more playful for the children, I topped the cupcakes with icing and sugar cookie letters.
The cake part is made with mashed bananas and pumpkin and I used an alphabet cookie cutter set. Aria helped out all through the baking process and she loved it. Colin loved the cupcakes too, and I was amazed to see he knew his alphabet as well. Isn't it impressive at only the tender age of three? It was so precious to watch them have so much fun!
I'm planning to bake the same larger-version cupcakes on Thursday
Servings: 18 mini cupcakes
1 egg, at room temperature
4 tablespoons pumpkin purée
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon freshly grated cinnamon
2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
18 sugar cookie alphabet cutouts (recipe follows)
½ cup sugar sprinkles
6 ounces powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon natural pumpkin extract (optional)
Banana purée: Mash the bananas with the back of a fork. Note: Get your little one to help out and mash until coarsely puréed. Add the pumpkin purée.
Making the pumpkin-banana cupcake batter:
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg with ¼ cup granulated sugar using an electric mixer. You'll get a pale yellow foam. Add the vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Sift all the dry ingredients.
In another bowl, cream the butter with ¼ cup granulated sugar.
Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Mix well. Add the creamed butter, milk and pumpkin-banana purée. Using a spatula, mix well.
Line a mini cupcake mold with mini cupcake liners. Pour the batter into the cups.
Bake for 5 minutes at 375°F, then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 10-12 minutes. A skewer or a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake should come out clean.
Remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely.
For the icing, dissolve 2 tablespoons water in powdered sugar. Add pumpkin extract (if using). Add about 1 tablespoon water if too thick. Mix well.
Hold the mini cupcakes upside down and cover the top with the icing, making sure the excess icing drips back into the bowl. Flip right back up and top with the cookie letters and the sugar sprinkles of your choice. Let the icing set completely for at least 1 hour.
Little reminder on how to make sugar cookies: In a mixing bowl, cream 8 tablespoons room temperature butter with 1 cup granulated sugar. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or vanilla extract). Add 1 egg and mix until well combined. In another bowl, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder and 1 pinch salt. Sift the dry ingredients and add to the cookie batter. Flatten the dough and even it out with a rolling pin to about a ¼"-½" thickness. Don't hesitate to sprinkle the surface and rolling pin with a little flour to prevent the cookie dough from sticking too much. Plastic wrap the flattened dough and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Get several letter cookie cutters and cut the cookie dough. Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes at 325°F until lightly golden. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool completely to room temperature. They will harden and get firm as they cool down.