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. ♥
These moist cupcakes are perfect for Thanksgiving, or any fall occasion! You can prepare the pudding and bake the cupcakes up to 2 days in advance; simply cover and refrigerate the pudding and store the cupcakes on the counter in an airtight container. Wait until just before serving to assemble them so the whipped cream doesn’t melt off of the top!
- In a medium bowl, whisk or beat together the pudding mix and ½ cup of milk for 5 minutes, or until soft-set. Refrigerate while preparing the cupcakes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Coat generously with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and next 6 ingredients (through salt). In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla, and egg white. Stir in the pumpkin and remaining ½ cup of milk. Mix in the lemon juice and sugar. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated.
- Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners. Bake at 350°F for 24-27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut out a cylinder from the centers using a cupcake corer or sharp knife. Fill each hole with about 2 teaspoons of butterscotch pudding. Just before serving, top each cupcake with 3 tablespoons of whipped cream, and sprinkle with a tiny bit of cinnamon (if using).
Note: You can make the pudding and cupcakes a day or two in advance, but wait to fill them until the day you’re serving them! Also, do NOT top with whipped cream in advance because it will deflate and begin to melt.
Gretchen @ Two Healthy Kitchens says...
Oh. my. goodness. I want a cupcake corer!!! That is the cutest little contraption I’ve seen! So fun!!
And now I can’t wait to see what amazing flavors you come up with!! YUMMMM!!
Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one who rewrote notes in college! My roommates always thought I was crazy! I would record the lectures while taking notes, then come back to my room and listen to the lecture again while I typed up the notes and added additional notes from the book. Sure it was time consuming but my grades were great! 🙂
And Cupcake Wars on Hulu for a study break? Ummmm yeah … I’m WAY older than you are!
Previously, I had only seen fancy expensive ones, but these little ones from Walmart still do a great job. And they come in a package of 2 for less than $2!! I’d gladly bake you a batch of these cupcakes, although I might have to fly them over myself… Not sure how well they’d mail. 😉
I’m right there with you Gretchen; everyone (except the professors) thought I was crazy too. You must have been the top student with the best grade in every class!
Karey @ Nutty About Health says...
Those cupcakes look & sound amazing!!! If only I could eat them right now! 😉
I love little kitchen gadgets, so that cupcake corer sounds so neat!!
I wish you could too!! But you’re more than halfway through your Whole30 challenge, right? Not too many days left! Although from the sounds of it, you might like it enough to stick with it for longer!
I love your dedication in college, you are one smart girl I tell ya. I love even more that you took the leap to make something other than cookies! These look so good.
Thanks Brittany! Whenever we hang out, we should bake both cookies and cupcakes because they’re both just so good! 🙂
Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust says...
These are gorgeous!!
Thanks Dorothy! 🙂
filled cupcakes says...
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