"In American political jargon, an October surprise is a news event deliberately created or timed (or sometimes occurring spontaneously) to influence the outcome of an election, particularly one for the U.S. presidency."
In honor of the most surprising presidential election I've ever seen, and in homage to creepy month here at StrangePegs (because I have also never seen such creepiness in a presidential campaign before), I bring you October Surprise Cupcakes. They are more nutritious than cable news shows, more wholesomely hued than 50% of presidential candidates, and filled with a delicious surprise ending. Guaranteed to distract you from the nasty taste of election year for at least a moment.
The recipe has two components: A pumpkin spice cupcake and a cream cheese filling (with optional candied ginger).
Cream Cheese Filling:
· 1 - 8 ounce package full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
· 1/4 cup granulated white sugar or substitute such as sucralose
· 1 large egg, at room temperature
· 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger (optional)
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes:
· 1/2 cup butter, softened
· 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
· 1/2 cup granulated white sugar (or sugar substitute such as sucralose)
· 1 cup solid packed, canned pumpkin puree
· 2 large eggs, at room temperature
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour. Can be purchased here or at Trader Joe's, Safeway, and perhaps other locations.
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
· 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
· 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (or nutmeg or mace)
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Filling: Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until creamy and smooth. Set aside while you make the cupcake batter.
Pumpkin Cupcakes: Cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar (or substitute). Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree. Then add flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt, and stir thoroughly to combine. If the batter seems too thick (which it sometimes is when using whole wheat flour), add ¼ to ½ cup of water or milk to thin it out a bit.
Fill the cupcake cups evenly (about 1/3 to 1/2 full) with the batter. Make a well in the center of the batter of each cupcake and then spoon a tablespoon of the cream cheese filling into the well. Drop a dollop of batter back on top of the cream cheese filling to hide it. Place in the oven and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cream cheese filling has set and the cupcake feels springy to the touch (a toothpick inserted into the cupcake portion will come out clean.)
Recommended serving size: All of them. Immediately. Trust me, you are going to need these if you want to survive the next few weeks.
[I didn't have any comments to throw in this time, but I can vouch for the cupcakes! With ginger, of course. And, actually, we do the sucralose substitute. They're great alongside your morning coffee.]