I majored in Chemistry in college. With an emphasis in the Organic category directing me toward drug design and the Pharmaceutical Industry, I scribbled down notes in information-packed lectures during the days, stirred together chemicals in a professor-run research lab in the evenings, and saved most of my homework and studying for the weekends.
Always the overachiever, I spent both Saturdays and Sundays in my apartment, reading and writing my own notes on the next chapter for every class to stay ahead of lecture materials. I later recopied those pages into abbreviated Study Guides before midterms and finals, and I reworked the problems sets after memorizing my notes.
After each hour or two of pushing and testing my brain, I rewarded myself with 15 minutes of Cupcake Wars on Hulu. I sprawled across the sofa with my laptop on my stomach, intrigued by the challenge ingredients in the first round and mesmerized by the creative displays from the final competitors. 1000 cupcakes in 2 hours? I could barely bake a dozen!
By the end of my study sessions, my mind switched from molecules and mechanisms to flour and flavors, but since I feared failing (and piping buttercream frosting), I baked simple chocolate chip cookies instead.
Last fall, after one too many self-motivating pep talks, I walked into my kitchen like a Cupcake Warrior, ready to battle my doubts and create a special treat for my dad’s birthday. Despite nearly mangling the centers with a paring knife to carve out a place for the filling, my lemon-chocolate-coconut victory propelled me towards making another cupcake combination for a Girls’ Night party.
I chugged along, coming up with a few more flavors, but I hit a drought after my Banana Split Cupcakes. I haven’t baked any more cupcakes since then!
As I stocked up on chocolate chips and cocoa powder last week, a small hanging display of gadgets caught my eye in the middle of the aisle. Cupcake corers! A little pink and larger green, for only $1.98!
I took that as a sign from above. I needed to bake cupcakes!
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, thoughts of casseroles, pies, and whipped cream swirled around my mind until sorting themselves out into Butterscotch-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes with Whipped Cream. (It’s a mouthful to say but even better to eat!)
To start on these treats, head to the grocery store, pick out an aerosol can of extra creamy whipped cream, and stick it in your cart. Yes, the “frosting” is that simple! On Thanksgiving Day, after testing the turkey and baking green beans and nearly scorching the sweet potatoes, you’ll be really grateful you don’t need to whip up buttercream frosting too!
For the butterscotch filling, you only need 2 things: milk and instant pudding mix. Add them to a bowl, whisk until your biceps go numb, and place in the fridge to chill and thicken. Part 2 done! (Can you tell I’m all for easy Thanksgiving desserts?)
Finally, the cupcakes. While the ingredients list looks long and complicated, the prep itself is simple. Whisk the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet in another; then stir the dry into the wet. No mixer required. The pumpkin makes the cupcakes moist and tender, so you don’t need to cream butter and sugar. It also keeps them low in fat and calories—the perfect light and healthy treat for the end of your huge feast!
The assembly takes all of 10 minutes. Core out the centers of the cooled cupcakes, spoon in some butterscotch pudding (although I actually used a knife for filling them instead), and just before serving top with a swirl of whipped cream and sprinkle of cinnamon. It’s important to wait on the whipped cream until the last second because it will collapse and melt down the sides of your beautiful cupcakes. Not so good!
These Butterscotch-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes are soft and sweet with a prominent (but not overpowering) pumpkin flavor. With the whipped cream on top, I almost forgot all about the classic pie!
I bet you know what I’ll be eating on Thanksgiving Day. ♥