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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

{Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream}

Ever had a dumb day?

You know, the 'why did I even bother getting out of bed?' type day.

Yeah, they happen. More often than we'd like. The other day I got a call that I'd been worried would happen for a couple years now. I've often mentioned that I am a youth leader at our church. We have been blessed with the coolest, hippest, all around awesomest youth pastor for the last 4 years. I've been working one-on-one with him for the last 3 of those. I knew he'd felt a call to go to California to plant a church. I knew it was going to happen for him one day. I'd just always hoped it would be later instead of sooner.

Well, it's sooner. It's now.

It was a dumb day.

While I'm very happy for him to be fulfilling his calling, I'm also breaking inside a little. I'm 11 years older than him, so he kinda feels like my little brother. I've definitely enjoyed getting to know him over the last 3 years. He's a great friend who I will miss tremendously. Then there's his wife. I love her too! She's incredible and amazing, and, well, we pretty much think alike. Although I've gone to church with her the entire time we were growing up, I'd never gotten to know her (because she was lots of years younger than me), until now. Man, I wish I'd known her all along!

Sure there's text, and facebook, and email, but... It's just not the same, is it?

Sunday was a huge cryfest in our teen room at church. He made the announcement which none of the kids were prepared for. He cried, I cried, all of the teens cried. Ugh. Did I mention he's the awesomest? Obviously, we all love him.

I came across a quote by Steven Chabosky from The Perks of Being a Wallflower that pretty much sums it up:

“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn't stop for anybody.”

How true is that?

Julie (his wife) loves all things pumpkin, so I made these cupcakes with her in mind Sunday night.

Basically, I needed baking therapy (I baked 48 cupcakes that day- here's the other recipe), and I'm pretty sure we all needed cupcake therapy, so these were born.

I'm sure by now you have all seen the 2 ingredient pumpkin cake, right? It's literally a box of yellow cake & a can of pumpkin. That's what these are... kinda.

I started with a spice cake mix. When I added in the pumpkin, I could see it was still way too thick. So I added in a 1/4 cup water and a 1/4 cup oil. So many people have had success with just the cake mix and the pumpkin, but I did not. However... this worked great! While still a very thick batter, they tasted delish. They are kind of a mix between a cupcake and a very moist muffin.

I topped them with a Brown Sugar Buttercream, because why not?

I love the crunch the brown sugar gives the buttercream. It's a fun surprise in what looks like a perfectly creamy buttercream. It's pretty yumtastic too!

Cupcake. Therapy. It's a good thing.

To Robby, Julie, and the awesome Sir William (what I call their most adorable 4 year old), we will miss you. So much. We all wish you the best. We know you'll change lives in California, just like you changed lives here in Ohio. Thank you for all the time you've invested in us here.

Much love and best wishes.

And I know you'll be back to visit.

Because cupcakes.

Oh, and you have family here, but whatever. Cupcakes.


Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream
yield: 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 box Spice Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines brand)
15 ounce can of Pumpkin
1/4 cup oil*
1/4 cup water*

*if needed

Heat oven to 350 F

Mix together cake mix and pumpkin with a mixer. Add oil and water if necessary. Scoop into cupcake liners (batter will be thick). Bake 22-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Brown Sugar Buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb. (about 4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

With mixer, beat butter for 3 minutes. Beat in brown sugar. Slowly add powdered sugar and salt until well combined. Add 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Beat on high for 4 minutes. If too thick, add more cream 1/2 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency.

Buttercream adapted from Bakingdom


  1. Poor Tina :( Sad for you and your teens. Where is he going in California? On the bright side, your cupcakes look delish!

  2. I've moved around a lot and watched a lot of friends leave. It's never easy. I feel for you. Cupcakes make everything better!


...because life should be sweet.


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