Butternut Cupcake with Cardamom Buttercream

Can I call these cupcakes?  They are really very moist, lightly sweetened muffins, topped with a wonderfully spiced buttercream and a sprinkling of chopped almonds.  Enjoy all the flavors as they unfold without feeling overpowered by the sweetness that so many of the “other” cupcakes fall prey to.  These golden cakes are the essence of fall, and will satisfy the young and old.

My six-year-old has a class party tomorrow where they are carving pumpkins and having store-bought treats during lunchtime.  Between being on the full GAPS diet and Halloween coming, we have been talking a lot about what he might like to have in exchange for all those candies and treats that will make him sick.  We have already made deals to trade his candy for my quarters, and even a new toy.  But even then, sometimes, your cute, freckly little boy just wants a really tasty treat.  These cupcakes are perfect for the occasion.

Ever since Cara at Health, Home and Happiness posted this recipe, I have been making those muffins every week or so.  They are not too sweet, and have a more delicate flavor than you might think with the bolder spices of autumn running through it.  They are delicious for breakfast, warmed up and melting with a generous pat of butter.  Oh, and a glass of raw milk (find raw milk near you here).  I am also positive that they would be amazing with a spicy cup of chai tea with cream.  But for M’s party, I wanted to jazz them up a little bit by adding my own homemade buttercream.  The result was honestly better than I had imagined.

When you consider yourself a real foodie, the difference between a muffin and a cupcake tends to narrow down, because we tend to lower sugar content in our recipes.  Usually the difference between a cupcake and muffin is explained this way: muffins are bread-like and cupcakes are cake-like.  To me, this basically means that cupcakes have more sugar in them.  Since I have nothing to prove by adding more honey to a perfectly balanced muffin recipe, I now declare these muffins to be cupcakes!  (And also because I am going to put frosting on them.)

Butternut Cupcakes

1/4 cup butter or coconut oil, softened (buy coconut oil here)
6 eggs, preferably pastured
2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated
3 tablespoons coconut flour (buy coconut flour here)
2 cups almond flour (buy almond flour here)
1 1/2 cups pureed butternut squash
1/3 cup raw honey (buy honey here)
1 teaspoon sea salt (buy sea salt here)
2 teaspoons cinnamon (buy cinnamon here)
1 teaspoon vanilla (buy vanilla extract here)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine soft butter, eggs, ginger root, and coconut flour.  Using an immersion blender, blend well until all the clumps from the coconut flour are gone.
  2. Now add the almond flour, butternut squash puree, honey, salt, cinnamon and vanilla.  Mix well, until just incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and give one last stir to make the batter uniform.
  3. Butter a muffin pan generously, then fill each cup with a paper liner (buy paper liners here).  Using a large ice cream scoop, spoon heaping scoops of batter into each paper liner.
  4. Cook for 30-35 minutes, or until the middle of the cupcakes are set when you jiggle the pan.  Let cool completely in the pan, set on a cooking rack.  Loosen with a knife, and gently remove.

Cardamom Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or palm shortening, softened (buy palm shortening here)
1/3 cup raw set* honey (buy set honey here)
1 teaspoon cardamom (buy cardamom here)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (buy cinnamon here)
1 pinch nutmeg (buy nutmeg here)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (buy vanilla extract here)
1/4 almonds, finely chopped, preferably soaked and dehydrated (or buy soaked/dehydrated nuts here)

  1. In a large bowl, combine softened butter with honey with a hand mixer on medium.  Beat until fluffy.  Add cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.  Mix well.
  2. If desired, you can make the frosting even fluffier by putting the frosting bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes, then mixing on high one more time.
  3. Use to frost the butternut cupcakes, smoothing to create a lovely pattern.  Top with finely chopped almonds, if desired.
*Set honey is thick and spreadable, not thin enough to pour.
See my resources page for more information on how to find truly pure and fragrant spices and vanilla.