Butternut Squash Cupcakes w/Maple Cream Cheese Icing

The theme of the cooking class I teach this semester is entitled "Fresh Foods", meaning the main ingredient I use has to be something in season. Thankfully I live in an area surrounded by farm stands now that my garden is done producing. This week I wanted to change things up and make a dessert using an unusual ingredient, butternut squash. I know, say WHAT!?!?!

This orange beauty is often overlooked for it's cousin the pumpkin but did you know, you can often substitute butternut squash for pumpkin in recipes? It tastes very similar and it's also cheaper to buy than pumpkin, especially right now as it's in season and super inexpensive!

Today, we made butternut squash cupcakes with a maple cream cheese icing and let me tell ya, it was a hit! The cupcakes are moist and the maple flavor takes the cream cheese icing to a whole new level.

I actually made half a batch of these cupcakes the night before my class as I knew the moms would want to try them. I used my mini muffin pans with success so I added those instructions. If you don't have maple syrup, try adding a 1/2 tsp of maple extract. If you don't have that, no worries, regular cream cheese icing will still taste great on these!

I'll give you a little hint on making those cute little icing swirls. . . it was late evening when I made these & I didn't feel like dealing with my pastry bag and tips so I took a ziploc bag, put the icing in it & snipped a small piece of the corner off, wa-la, mess-free way to dress up the cupcakes!

For those who never made butternut squash puree, what you want to do is cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the pulp & seeds (save the seeds and read down further what I did with them). Place the squash inside face down on a pan & roast for 45-60 minutes at 400 or until the inside is soft. Scoop out the inside & put into a food processor to puree (a blender would also work). Leftover squash can be froze.

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
4 egg
2 cups butternut squash puree

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese room temp
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter room temp
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 cups powdered sugar to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in squash puree.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed (15-20 minutes if using mini muffin pan). Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely before frosting
  4. For Frosting:
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add maple syrup, vanilla, and powdered sugar; continue beating until well combined and smooth. frost cupcakes and drizzle with maple syrup if desired.

Yields 24 regular size cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes

I am tickled to say I now have a way for you to easily print off this recipe by clicking on Printable Recipe Here!!! As time allows, I will slowly go back over my archived recipes and add a printable link to each recipe.

Bonus! If you clean off the seeds you scrapped from your butternut squash, you can roast them like pumpkin seeds! So while I was working on the cupcakes, I roasted my seeds at 375 for about 20-25 minutes. After rinsing them in water, I let them dry off on a paper towel. Then I sprayed them with olive oil spray & sprinkled on some old bay seasoning & salt (you can use any seasoning, garlic salt, cinnamon/sugar, etc) After about 15 minutes, I tossed the seeds around. And yes, I ate them all up while baking! ;)

Also, stayed tuned for Treasuring Life's Blessings 2nd annual virtual cookie exchange coming up! Starting Monday December 2nd thru Saturday December 7th, come link up your blog posts (new or old) that highlight some of your favorite Christmas cookies, candies or treats. Don't have a blog? That's ok, just stop by to check out the recipes posted. This is a great way to find some new recipes to try out! And feel free to spread the word, the more who participate, the more yummy recipes we'll have!

recipes blog hop

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