Surprise Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

Surprise Pumpkin Cupcakes

I love just about anything that includes pumpkin, and during the fall season I bake even more goodies using this delicious ingredient. I wanted to make pumpkin cupcakes with a twist.  I call these “surprise cupcakes” because there’s a yummy cream cheese filling hidden inside.

I put the recipe to the test by having my sons try them. The verdict? My youngest gave them two thumbs up, and my oldest used the word “AMAZING” several times. To me, this means the recipe is a hit. :)

I started with a pumpkin cupcake recipe that I found at All Recipes called Harvest Pumpkin Cupcakes. The original recipe serves 32 so I used their serving tool to reduce it to 24 cupcakes instead. I included this info in the recipe below for your convenience.

Surprise Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 24 cupcakes
  • Pumpkin Cupcakes:
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • Filling:
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • Frosting:
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • 1¾ cups confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Milk, if needed
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cupcake Mix:
  3. Slightly blend the eggs in a mixer, then add the oil, sugar, and pumpkin. Mix until blended.
  4. Next mix the flour, corn starch, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.
  5. Slowly mix in in the dry mixture to the pumpkin mix until well blended.
  6. Filling:
  7. Blend the softened cream cheese and sugar together until fluffy.
  8. Add the egg and salt and blend.
  9. Assembling Cupcakes:
  10. Line your muffin tin with paper cups and fill them almost half full with the batter.
  11. Next, place about a teaspoon of the cream cheese filling on top.
  12. Lastly, add about another teaspoon of the cupcake batter on top of the filling until the cream cheese is no longer visible.
  13. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  14. Frosting:
  15. Beat the butter and shortening in a small bowl until it appears fluffy.
  16. Add in the confectioners' sugar and cinnamon, continue to beat until well combined.
  17. If the frosting is to thick and not spreadable, incorporate 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until it is the right consistency for frosting.


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Cinnamon Apple Galette


Fall means an abundance of apples. They fill the farmers market stands. And what to do with them all? There’s apple pie, apple sauce, apple butter, apple cider. But let me tell you about apple galette. Galette, to me, is a simpler and easier version of pie. It’s the casual rustic cousin, that still tastes absolutely delicious.

The filling for a galette is essentially the same as a pie, but pie crust can be tricky; too dry, too hard, too many things that can go awry. I have now made multiple galettes with excellent results. No pie pan is required here, just parchment paper for cleaning up in a jiffy. The dough is spread out on the parchment paper, the filling is placed in the middle, and then the edges are folded up to hold the fruit in. The end result is a rustic galette with a perfectly flaky crust.


Let’s start with the crust. You can make this a day ahead of time and refrigerate overnight, or just refrigerate for an hour as the recipe calls for. But I must stress, do not skip the refrigerating step.

You’ll need your food processor (or blender), flour, butter, sugar, and salt. When these are blended into a coarse meal, you add cold water until it starts to stick together. You then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and form it into a disc, then refrigerate for at least an hour.

Once the dough is ready, you simply roll it out into a large circle, put your apple mixture in the middle, and fold up the edges. And don’t forget the egg wash! It should look something like this:


The filling is quite easy- basically just mixing fruit and sugar together in a bowl. Because of the season I used apples, but pears and peaches would also be wonderful, or of course mixed berries.

You then bake the galette for about an hour until the edges are browned and flaky, at which time you can pull it out of the oven with the aroma of cinnamon and apples filling the house. The crust comes out beautifully, and the filling has just the right amount of juiciness.


This warm apple galette is a keeper. Something about galette is so inviting and simple that I believe it’s a recipe you will be using regularly.

As the saying goes, it’s ‘easier than pie.


Cinnamon Apple Galette
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
  • Crust:
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • ¼ to ½ cup ice water
  • Filling:
  • 2-3 cups apples, sliced (I used Honeycrisp)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  1. For the Crust: In a food processor or blender, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter, and process until a coarse meal forms, 8-10 seconds. With the machine running on pulse, slowly add ice water in a steady stream. Pulse just until moist clumps form. The dough should hold together without being wet or sticky. If the dough is still crumbly, continue to add cold water in small amounts.
  2. On a floured surface, form the dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.
  3. For the Filling: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the filling ingredients in a large bowl, coating the apples well. Set aside.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the crust out into a 16" diameter circle and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the apple mixture into the center of the crust, leaving a 2-inch border around the outside. Fold up the dough around the edges and pinch to secure. Brush egg wash on top of the crust and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 1 hour, until the crust turns golden. Serve warm.


Gluten Free Pumpkin Popcorn Balls

Gluten Free Pumpkin Popcorn Balls

Children with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can not enjoy parties as much as others do. Commercially baked items such as cakes, pies and cupcakes normally have gluten in them so such children cannot consume the served treats. Gluten free Halloween treats will make them happy because they can eat the gluten free treats without suffering at all.

The gluten free treat that everyone can enjoy is Popcorn balls. This is a treat that was once commonly eaten in fall months. You can make the popcorn balls in such a way that they fit perfectly in a Halloween theme.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Popcorn Balls
The casual popcorn balls can be easily decorated to look like Pumpkin. You can get popcorn balls of any desired color simply by adding food coloring to the sugar syrup. It is a Halloween treat and it should look like pumpkin so you will be using orange and black color.
Recipe type: Desserts
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup of light corn syrup
  • ⅓ cup of butter or margarine
  • ⅓ cup of water
  • Red and yellow food coloring to create the right shade of orange
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of natural vanilla extract
  • 2 or 3 cups of air-popped popcorn
  1. Start up by making popcorn. Make 2 or 3 cups of popcorn using an air popper. Set this aside.
  2. Take a heavy sauce pan and add sugar, corn syrup, butter, water, food coloring and salt in it. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves completely.
  3. Boil this mixture until it reaches 228 to 230 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. This is called the “soft ball” stage.
  4. Once the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, remove the pan from heat. Now add vanilla and stir to combine it well.
  5. Pour the mixture in the popcorn you have already prepared. Stir this so that the mixture covers all the popcorn uniformly.
  6. Allow the popcorn to cool until they are cool to touch. Now, you have to make popcorn balls. Take some popcorn in your hand and roll it into a ball. Repeat this making as many balls as possible.
  7. Pillsbury white frosting is gluten free, you can tint it in order to get the black icing. Decorate each ball with this black icing. Create different jack-o-lantern faces on the pumpkin balls. The faces can be scary or funny.


Halloween Dirt Cake

Normally, the worms that might go down into your stomach will come out through your mouth. But, these are the worms that you would love to eat; these are gummy worms! This cake is a fun activity for kids; they will love decorating it and more importantly, eating it.

Halloween Dirt Cake
Before you begin making this cake, you might want to choose the perfect dish to hold it as this cake does not need to be baked. Try using a new, clean and dry plastic cauldron. It will go well with the Halloween theme.
Recipe type: Dessert
  • * 1½ to 2 pounds chocolate crème filled cookies such as Oreo
  • * 1 – 8 ounce tub of cream cheese
  • * 1 cup powdered, or confectioner’s, sugar
  • * ½ stick softened butter
  • * 3½ cups milk – You can use whatever type you like
  • * 2 small packages of instant vanilla pudding
  • * 1 – 12 ounce container whipped cream topping such as Cool Whip
  1. Start by putting the cream cheese, softened butter and powdered sugar in a large bowl and cream them together.
  2. Take a separate bowl and mix in it the milk and instant pudding for 2 minutes. Now, add the whipped topping and mix well.
  3. Mix the two mixtures together and make sure that they are well-combined.
  4. Take a zip-top bag and put in it some of the cookies. Crush them until they reach the desired ‘dirt-like’ consistency. You can do this by applying pressure with a rolling pin. Using the zip-top bag ensures that you won’t need to clean up after crushing the cookies. Take another bag and repeat for the remaining cookies.
  5. Now, take your cauldron and line its bottom and sides with aluminum foil. This will avoid mess. Place one and half inches of cookie crumbs at the bottom of the cauldron. Pour over them, the pudding mixture. Keep putting alternating layers of crumbs and pudding; make sure the last layer is of the pudding. Cover the cauldron with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
  6. Before you serve it, put another 1 inch of crumbs on the top. Decorate your ‘cake’ with gummy worms, spiders and any other candy you might find. Serve this, and for the first time your guests will like the idea of eating worms and insects.


Rest in Peace Pudding

Rest in Peace Halloween Pudding

If you are eating dinner before your kids go trick or treating then it will prove to be a good idea as this delicious and sweet dessert might curb their sweet tooth and refrain them from sampling their sweets on their way. Tell the kids that their sweet tooth is going to rest in peace with this Rest in Peace Pudding recipe.

Rest in Peace Pudding
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1 box of chocolate pudding and pie filling
  • 2 chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 4 vanilla wafer cookies
  • 1 tube of black cake decorating gel
  • 4 serving cups or one large bowl
  • 4 candy flowers or fun Halloween candy
  1. Start by making the pudding; heat the pudding-mix and milk in a pan over medium heat. Keep stirring until the mixture comes to full boil. Follow the instructions given on the box. When done, pour the mixture into 4 serving cups or one large bowl.
  2. Now create the ‘dirt’. Open the chocolate sandwich cookies and remove the filling. Put the cookies in a plastic bag and roll over the bag with a cup or a drinking glass to obtain medium sized crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the pudding before it sets.
  3. Next, you have to create the headstone. Put a vanilla wafer on the table and write “RIP” on it. Make sure the ‘headstone’ is long; so you can see the words when you plant it into the ‘dirt’.
  4. Lastly, put a candy flower or rosette in front of the tombstone. You can find the candy flowers and rosettes at any cake decoration shop or a bakery. Engage the children by letting them decorate; candy worms and pumpkins can be used. Refrigerate the dessert until you are ready to serve it.