It’s been ages since I have been in the test kitchen. The temperature in Salt Lake City jumped up to 108°F the weekend before July 4th and it remained scorching hot through the summer. Firing up the oven just seemed like a little trip to hell so all cooking the last couple of months has been outside – on the grill or in the smoker.
But fall is finally here and Pumpkin Spice Latte season has arrived. And while I am not one to stand in line at Starbucks for a venti of this deliciousness, I definitely understand those who do. So with temperatures finally coming down, I thought it would be fun to try my own version – PSL in a cupcake. Actually, that wasn’t my first thought when PSL season arrived. My daughter is a wizard at making bath bombs and several weeks ago she gave me a hands-on tutorial. I was thinking about all of the Halloween bath bombs I would make and I thought about creating a PSL version. If only I was any good at bath bombs … But hey, I’m pretty good at cupcakes so I decided to leave the bath bombs to the expert I and I created a Pumpkin Spice Latte cupcake.
There were a lot of recipes out there and I was tempted to try the doctored cake mix version because the altitude here shows no mercy. In the end, I settled on a recipe that includes real pumpkin in the list of ingredients and a tweak to my baking technique. The cupcakes turned out perfectly. Was it the perfect recipe? The perfect technique? A little bit of both? I don’t know, but I’m not changing any of it.
I am in a constant state of stalking recipes and researching techniques to widen my aperture. For me, the perfect cupcake has a slightly domed top out of the oven that doesn’t deflate as it cools. But I have noticed a lot of recipe blogs and videos where the cupcake is slightly sunken in the middle and no apologies. So maybe I’m too hard on myself and a little concavity is okay – just fill it in with frosting. But that’s not good enough for me. And this recipe delivers.
I am including the cream cheese frosting and caramel topping because they are part of the entire recipe, but I opted for a simple buttercream with a little Kahlua to bump up the coffee flavor. Play with the quantity of pumpkin pie spice and espresso to balance your own tastes. I increased the espresso and decreased the spice from the original recipe but you may prefer a lower coffee-to-spice ratio. The link to my recipe is below and in the recipe folder at the top of this page.
Happy autumn, I hope you enjoy the return to your indoor kitchen as much as I have.