Snacking with Summation

Kristin eating one of my cupcakes.

Hi! I’m Erin, one of the newest members of Summation Dance. I’m a Japanese-American from the San Francisco Bay Area. I wear red lipstick and almost legally qualify to be a midget. I like artisinal cheese, daydreaming on the train and tutus, not for performing in, but just for general bare-footed frolicking purposes. Kombucha addict. Perpetual procrastinator. Recovering insomniac. And I love having an occasion to bake and being in rehearsal is always the perfect opportunity to do so.

This is my first squash recipe of the season. I resisted the especially early and cold beginning of fall, California girl that I am, by refusing to make all things pumpkin-y and orange. But here we are, a quarter of the way through November, so ::heaves tremendous sigh:: Fine Then, Autumn. Bring it.

Summation is currently working on a 50 minute work that will premiere at the BAC February 3-5. The first section is called Fortitudine. It is intense, physical and incredibly fun to dance. These cupcakes are totally justified, (if you are the kind of person who keeps tally of those things) as there is lots of running in Fortitudine. Lots…and lots of running. Did I mention that this is the first section of an evening length work? Clearly we need fuel to keep up with the energy expenditure. Also, dancers, more than any other group I know, really like snacks.

Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple–Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from David Leite via Deb at Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 18 cupcakes

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/3 c sugar (I left this out accidentally the first time I made these, to no great catastophe)
  • 2 c cake flour
(or 1 ¾ c of all-purpose and ¼c cornstarch to substitute)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
(or ½c soymilk with ½ tsp apple cider vinegar with vanilla)
  • 1 1/4 c canned solid-pack pumpkin
  • Frosting
(see note about frosting yield at bottom)
  • Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (I used half cream cheese and half mascarpone)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 c confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • A touch of bourbon, cause that’s how I roll (optional)
  • Fleur de sel or Maldon for sprinkling if you’ve got it around
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350° (175°C). Line a cupcake pan with 18 liners.
    2. Beat the butter and sugars on until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl.
    3. Add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Alternate flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. (Or rather, scream in frustration as you realize that you used the last of your soymilk up on your Kashi HoneyPuffs yesterday morning and throw yourself down the three flights of stairs in your walkup Brooklyn apartment and flounce off the weird bodega down the street. The lesson: mis en place.) Beat in the pumpkin. Fill cups about ¾ full- this should yield about 18 cupcakes. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely.
    4. In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Frost with an off set spatula if you are normal or break out the piping bag if you are Erin. I found the frosting to be a touch soft- refrigerating for a few minutes helped it to firm up a bit. Also, this makes enough frosting for about two batches. Sprinkle with a touch of fancy-pantsy salt if you’re into it.

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