Cupcake Hero #10: [Squash]

October 20, 2008 at 10:34 AM | Posted in Cupcake Hero, cupcakes | 21 Comments
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“I’m backkkkkkk…!!” says the cupcake logo to the left.

You guessed it! It’s Cupcake Hero time!

I am fresh off my recent cupcake hero win and feeling pretty darn cocky. I am allowed right? It’s a Cupcake Hero win for goodness sakes. I don’t think you understand the magnitude of the situation. It took me 9 tries, lots of bribes and a frillion lbs of butter. Don’t take my moment away from me!

::taking a moment to relish my CH victory::

Ok I am done now.

Before anyone starts doubting my squash selection, I just wanna go on the record and say that pumpkin is a type of squash. Did you know that? I didn’t. Apparently I am not up on my squash edumacation [sic]. But head CH baker, Laurie, confirmed that indeed pumpkin is a type of squash. Hmmm… let’s keep this new found squash knowledge to ourselves m’kay? I have a feeling that if more Cupcake Hero-ers find out, pumpkin will be the squash of choice. Personally I wasn’t feeling the Petite Pan Squash option myself. Sorry its true. Can you blame me? Its a green amoeba! That doesn’t scream cupcake to me. Just saying… HAHA.

Now I know that my entry will stir up a debate b/c I’ve already had a couple naysayers who I gave privy info about my Cupcake Hero entry argue that my entry doesn’t count. *cough NIKKI cough* but I kinda see it as my month of immunity since I won the last challenge you know? So I am doing something a little controversial and posing the question:

What makes a cupcake… a cupcake?

Check out my nifty WP poll below and vote. (I ♥ this new WP feature!)

Feel free to vote for multiple answers that apply.

You’ll see from the recipe below that I have 2 out of the 3 answers. I guess I’d say in order of cupcake importance: baked in a cupcake liner, frosting/topping and then texture. A non-cakey texture isn’t a cupcake deal breaker for me.

So have I convinced you…? Is my recipe a cupcake?

(If you aren’t Nikki, b/c I already know how she feels on the situation, just nod your head yes and agree. That’s a good little reader.)

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes
(Recipe adapted from Cooks Recipes & allrecipes | photos from me!)

Makes about 14 cupcakes


For the crust
1-1/2 cups finely ground gingersnap cookies (I used graham crackers)
1-1/2 cups toasted pecans, finely ground
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

[NOTES: I had alot of crust left over so next time I’ll probably 1/2 the recipe.]

For the cheesecake
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground nutmeg

For whipped cream
1-1/2 cups whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp granulated sugar

caramel ice cream topping, garnish


Preheat oven to 350F.

To make crust—
Combine gingersnap cookies, pecans and sugar in bowl; add melted butter and mix until combined.

Press crust mixture onto bottom of each cupcake liner, about 1 tbsp. Set aside.

To make cheesecake—
In a stand mixer with a flat beater, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time.

Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Fill the cupcake liners almost full (cheesecake doesn’t rise that much).

Bake in preheated oven for 22-25 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

To make whipped cream—
In mixer with whisk attachment, whip the cream, vanilla extract and sugar on high speed until you get stiff peaks.

To assemble cupcakes—
Using a 1M star tip, pipe whipped cream on cupcake. Drizzle with caramel.


Husband rating: A+
He really loved this recipe but he preferred it naked (no whip or caramel) and raved about the graham-pecan crust.

Wifey rating: A/A+
I am not a pumpkin fan but these were really good esp with that caramel drizzle. Everything’s better with a little caramel!

Other rating: A+
I brought it over for a family dinner. The whole family raved and requested I make it for Thanksgiving!



  1. Um ALL OF THE ABOVE was not an option in the poll. To be a cupcake it needs to be CAKE in a cup shaped form with frosting (lets be honest here whipped cream is questionable at best to satisfy the frosting requirement). hehe

    Even though they’re Non-Cuppycakes they look fab and I’m sure they’re uber yummy

  2. I love pumpkin and I love cheesecake! These look delectably delicious.

  3. These look so freaking good!!! I love pumpkin and cheesecake. I might have to try these!

  4. Im going to stay silent. Just know that I am smiling inside. ;)

  5. It needs to be cute!


  6. Well, I’m new to the cupcake blogging world (although I have long been a lover of cupcakes!) so I’m a bit wary of wading right in to this clearly very serious debate, but hey, I thought I’d take my chances! I selected other because I think the main thing that makes a cupcake a cupcake is that it’s small … liners, frosting, fillings, different textures etc. all just add to the cupcakey fun!

    Loving your work … K x

  7. I voted for b. and c.–I’d also like to add that I agree with domestickate84–it has to be small. I’d add that being cake-like and small are the 2 most important things to me. These do look delicious, though!

    Oh, and we discovered last week that our bunny, Beatrix Kiddo, is actually a man-bun! So, he is now Buster B. Kiddo ( Are your buns on bunspace? Please add BB as a friend if they are! If they’re not–check it out, it is an awesome site!

  8. NIKKI, Its a cake! Cheesecake. Its right there in the name. Whipped cream is totally acceptable. Stop calling them non-cuppies. FYI, You are on the poop list right now.

    KAMAILE, I love cheesecake but not a huge pumpkin fan but I thought these tasted awesome!

    APRIL, Definitely give it a try! Let me know what you think.

    LW, You’re on the list with Nikki too.

    MARSHA, My cheesecake cupcakes are cute right?

    DOMESTIKATE, Welcome to my wild and crazy cupcake world ;) Even though you say you are a newbie, you make a heck of alot of sense. I’d say my cupcake qualifies as small so it works for me!

    MARTI, I agree. Needs to be on the smaller scale to be a cupcake. So funny about your bunny-guy! Love the new name. I’ve see BunSpace a few times but I haven’t had the chance to check it out yet. Will definitely add you when I get a profile up :)

  9. I’m in love with the caramel pumpkin pie muffins.

  10. Please see LT for the complete explanation of house cheesecake was originally cheese pie and thus is more of a pie than cakey. Because of this you’re non-cuppys will continue to be called non-cuppys.

  11. BLONDDUCK, I see how it is. You’re calling my cupcakes a muffin huh? ::sniff::

    (ignoring Nikki’s comment)

  12. bahaha well i will at least give you that they’re not muffins (but they’re not cuppies either)

  13. all of the above was what i was lookin’ for too!

  14. Whoa. a.dor.a.ble.

  15. Bravo! This opens all all kinds of new worlds to me. :)

  16. LILTEA, Oops! I probably should have had that option! My bad…

    RAINBOWBROWN, Thank you. Someone who appreciates my creation. I feel loved again.

    BECKA, HAHA. Doesn’t it? I am thinking of all the different cheesecake recipes you could bake. Definitely opens up possibilities ;)

  17. I had to try your recipe! I love cheesecake and at this time of year I crave anything pumpkin. I have a few questions. I followed your recipe exactly (I usually make a few changes to anything I try) and my cupcakes rose high then fell. Any thoughts on what might have happened? I don’t do a lot of baking so I am clueless.
    They tasted AWESOME anyway!

  18. AMANDA, They rose alot? How long did you bake them? I think I baked them about 22 minutes, just until the center barely jiggled, cooled then I refrigerated overnight. Or maybe you beat the ingredients a little long so it increased the air bubbles. The bubbles could expand causing the cheesecake to rise. Then, when the bubbles burst (because there’s little structural support – no flour), the cupcake will fall. Sometimes I will rap the pan against the counter before baking to get rid of the trapped air bubbles. Hope that helps! Glad you enjoyed the cheesecake even with the “rising” issues.

  19. Oh My- these look so sinful! Perfect for Thanksgiving! Thanks…………

  20. SUSAN, I think “sinful” was one taste tester’s description. HAHA

  21. I’m definetly going to try these, “cakey” texture or not for me if it’s cupcake shape then it’s a cupcake. If it tastes delicious does it really matter! I’ve been making a pumpkin cheesecake for couple years now. My in-laws say it’s mandatory every Thanksgiving, this may be easier so no one fights over who got a bigger piece.

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