½cupcrushed toasted pecans(toast at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes)
For the buttercream:
2teaspoonspure vanilla extract
Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue food coloring
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside. Line your muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter until light yellow--about 1 minute. Add the light brown sugar and granulated sugar and cream together. Scrape down the bowls as needed. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat on low speed until everything is combined.
With the mixer on, gradually add the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth. Add the pumpkin and stir until thoroughly combined.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners to about ⅔ of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
While your cupcakes are cooling, prepare your frosting. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract, milk, and 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar. Stir until smooth. Add the maple syrup and stir to combine. Next, gradually add one cup of confectioner’s sugar at a time, stirring to combine before adding the next cup. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all of the butter is incorporated.
Now to divide your frosting into four parts--green, brown, orange, and white colors. Set aside about a ½ cup each for green and brown, about 1¼ cups for orange, and the rest for white.
To achieve the right colors, I used this as a rough guide, but here’s a quick rundown of what I did. For the green frosting, add drops of green food coloring until you have the desired shade. For the brown frosting, add drops of red and yellow in equal parts, adding a few drops of blue to make brown. For the orange, add mostly yellow food coloring, with a few drops of red to intensify the shade of orange.
Next for the cake tips! For the base, we used a standard star tip. Pipe the white frosting in a swirl pattern to create a base, or a “patch” for your pumpkins!
Next, using a regular circle tip, pipe on the pumpkins. Squeeze the frosting out, bouncing your wrist as you go to create a roughly spherical shape. Squeeze out the frosting vertically--don’t swirl for the pumpkins.
Next, using a plastic ziploc bag, cut a very small hole--about 2-3 millimeters in diameter--in one corner of the bag, and fill it with your brown frosting. Squeeze a small amount on each pumpkin to create a stem.
Lastly, for the green frosting, cut a very small small hole--about 1.5-2 millimeters in diameter--in one corner of the bag and fill it with half of your green frosting. Pipe small vines around the pumpkins, swirling and zigzagging as you see fit!
Next, take a cake tip that is vertically oriented with a notch in the center. There are many different kinds of cake tips that will result in different shaped leaves but we found this one to work best for this particular recipe. Make a few practice leaves on a plate before moving into the actual cupcakes. Twist the piping bag at the end of piping out the leaf to give it that organic flair.
Top off each cupcake with crushed pecans and serve!