Pumpkin Cupcakes – aka – New Friend Bribery


November 10, 2012 by Meg G.

I just realized that we’ve lived in Worcester for 6 months already! We were sad to leave Providence and our wonderful community of friends and family. But when we moved, we tried to see it as an adventure. Meet new people! Find new favorite spots! Learn new things about the city where we went to college! (Can you feel the enthusiasm?)

Turns out, Worcester is… an interesting place. We have decided that it’s a small town masquerading as the second largest city in New England. The city’s very own seal might just sum up this dual personality perfectly.

It’s a place full of colleges, but feels nothing like a college town. When you ask a Worcester native what they love about their city, they will often say, “it’s close to everything!” Indeed, Worcester is just about an hour from Boston, Providence, and Northampton. But Heather and I often look around and ask ourselves, “Where are our people?” Who knew that it was so hard to make friends at age 30?!

Luckily, in the last month or so, we have been able to reconnect with some college friends who have also returned to Worcester and have met some other interesting and cool people. But now that we’ve met said cool people, it’s hard to figure out how to cultivate friendships. So, in an attempt to force people to be our friends welcome some folks into our social circle, we decided to start a book club. First order of business? Bribe the new members with delicious sweets. A perfect plan, really.

So, first up on the bribery train: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting.

Pumpkin Cupcakes (Ina Garten’s recipe found here)


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Brush or spray the top of 12 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners, or use reusable silicon liners.

2. In your standing mixer, beat the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil just until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

3. Divide the batter among the prepared tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.

Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Martha’s orange ginger frosting)

This frosting recipe is courtesy of my dear friend Mike, who promises to be a guest blogger in the not-so-distant-future. Mike is an ah-mazing baker and he made some delicious cupcakes for our friend Melannie’s birthday last year. He used this frosting recipe and topped the cupcakes with some candied ginger slices. They were the talk of the town (partially because they were that good and partially because he carried them with him on the NYC subway). Since I didn’t have a fresh orange in the house, I omitted it and went with a straight ginger flavor.


  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsps freshly grated ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsps freshly grated orange zest (optional)


1. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

2. Add cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar, beat until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes more.

4. Add grated ginger, orange zest (if using), and salt. Beat an additional 5 minutes.

This was actually my first time making cupcakes and frosting from scratch. So, I got out my piping bag and fun icing tips (usually reserved for sugar cookie decorating) and played around. As you can see, I’ve got a bit of a way to go in terms of frosting technique, but I had a lot of fun trying out a bunch of different icing tips.

Of course, I could have done some internets research first and found a plethora of charts, images, and instructions…

…but I decided to wing it.

You’d want to come over and be friends, right?


6 thoughts on “Pumpkin Cupcakes – aka – New Friend Bribery

  1. Dr. Cynthia Bellacero says:

    These look tasty! Pumpkin is my favorite fall flavor. Thanks for sharing the recipe. If I weren’t so far away, I would come to book club. What are you going to read first?

    • griffson812 says:

      Thanks so much! Pumpkin is a great fall flavor, for sure! We happen to be a group of progressive Catholic women, so we’re reading a compilation of essays called “From the Pews in the Back.”

  2. G says:

    LOVE them…love the simplicity and pattern of the white frosting too…I will come to book club if they don’t! HA!

  3. rgriff86@comcast.net says:

    Your mother says she wants one of those cupcakes, but I don’t think she read about the fresh ginger.  She’s not a fan of fresh or powdered ginger, just like she doesn’t go for curry.  Sooooooooooo, I’ll take her cupcake.   LOL    dad

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