Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177
degrees C). Place rack in the middle of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with
paper liners or
spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.
In a large bowl,
sift together the flour, baking soda, ground spices, and salt.
In the bowl of
your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until
light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
With the mixer on low
speed, alternately add the flour mixture and pumpkin puree, in three additions, beginning
and ending with the flour mixture.
Fill the muffin cups
evenly with the batter using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place
in the oven and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a
toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to
Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the
cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and beat until incorporated and
smooth. Add the vanilla extract and confectioners sugar and beat until fluffy
(2-3 minutes). Pipe or spread the frosting on the cupcakes. Sprinkle with
toasted and chopped nuts or English Toffee Bits.
To toast nuts:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of
the oven. Place the nuts on a baking
sheet and bake for about 8 - 10 minutes or until brown and fragrant. Cool
completely and then chop coarsely.
Makes about 12
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