I’ve been playing again – this time with avocados! I’m kind of a nut about the color green. You may have already guessed that from the header on this blog. Not only are the walls of my kitchen painted a pretty shade of green, earlier this month, there were lovely green orbs from California scattered here, there and everywhere in this little North Carolina kitchen. We were having fun working on some recipe development and photography projects for the wonderful folks at the California Avocado Commission.
One of the ideas they asked us to work on was a recipe for pumpkin cupcakes, with healthy avocado replacing some of the butter traditionally used in cake recipes. I armed myself with canned pumpkin, sugar, eggs, flour and lots of warm autumn spices as I set to work.
It took a number of attempts to get it just right, but I do think we’ve come up with a winner. The cupcakes are moist, flavorful and topped with a luscious swirl of yummy caramel buttercream ……….. which also has ………… yup, you guessed it, avocado! I really love the way icings with avocado swirl and twirl like a dream.
With Halloween this week and all sorts of holiday festivities coming up, it’s the perfect time of the year to treat your family/friends to a delightful pumpkin dessert. I have a sneaking suspicion they’ll be raving about and requesting this one again and again. It can be our little secret that these decadently delicious cupcakes are also decently healthy!
The recipe is also on the California Avocado Commission website. While you’re there, take a bit of time to browse around. They have a plethora of wonderful avocado recipes and photos to go with each one, everything from breakfast to dinner ideas and all things in between. It’s a great place for inspiration!
- 2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice* don't have any, make your own!
- ½ cup pureed avocado from 1 large ripe California Avocado**
- 6 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ⅔ cup white granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk from 1 large egg (save white for another purpose or discard)
- ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup milk
- Avocado Buttercream recipe below
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Set aside.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a medium-size bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the pureed avocado and butter. Beat on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute.
- Add the brown and white sugar and continue beating on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
- Add egg, egg yolks and pumpkin puree. Beat for another minute, stopping half way to scrape sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.
- With mixer on low speed. add flour mixture (about 1/4 at a time) and milk alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just until dry ingredients are incorporated. After all ingredients are added, scrape down sides of bowl, increase speed to medium and beat for another 15 seconds.
- Scoop batter into prepared pans, filling each cup about 3/4 full. You may have a bit of extra batter but don’t try to over fill the cups.
- Bake 26-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and cool in pans for 15 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.
- When completely cool, frost with California Avocado Caramel Buttercream (recipe below).
** Baking is an exact science. 1 large avocado is approximately 1/2 cup. Be sure to measure. If you have a bit of extra avocado reserve it for another use (it makes a wonderful sandwich spread).
For this recipe, you’ll want the avocado puree to be very smooth and cream. Use a food processor, blender or immersion blender to obtain best results.
- 4 Tbsp. melted butter
- ⅔ cup dark brown sugar
- 4 Tbsp. milk more if needed (see step 6, below)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup mashed avocado from 1 large ripe California Avocado*
- 2 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
- 5 ½ cups powdered sugar more if needed (see step 6, below)
- Combine melted butter, brown sugar, 3 tablespoons milk and salt in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Stir to combine.
- Place in microwave and cook on high power for 1 minute. Stir well and return to microwave cooking another 1 minute on high. Mixture will vigorously bubble. Watch carefully to make sure it does not boil over sides of bowl
- Remove from microwave and set aside to cool for 30 minutes, then proceed with recipe.
- Place mashed avocado, softened butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Start with mixer on low speed and beat for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and mix for another minute.
- Add vanilla and cooled brown sugar/butter mixture and 1 tablespoon milk. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula every minute or so.
- Icing should be creamy and spreadable. If it’s too stiff, add more milk and conversely, if too runny add powdered sugar, a little at a time until desired consistency is reached.