I will have to admit, this really isn't my original idea, as I came up with the concept from a new cookbook I just bought (Oh, yes, another one! LOL), Cutie Pies by Dani Cone. Her idea of putting pie in a jar is ingenious, so I thought, if someone could put that baked good in a jar, why can't I put a cupcake?
I'm shipping these wonderful treats out today, with fingers crossed, that they will arrive to surprise the recipients for Halloween and create a new way to get cupcakes across country : ) The moist pumpkin/carrot cake with the salted caramel cream cheese buttercream and a marshmallow topping with toasted walnuts should arrive, just as I pack it.
1 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups (about 2 medium) carrots, peeled and grated
2 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. ground cardamon
3 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Line 2-12 cup muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.
In a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, mix the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin together on med/low speed until thorough blended. Add the carrots and spices and mix again.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then, add them to the mixture and beat on medium speed, just until all the flour is incorporated. Don't over mix!
Scoop batter into the paper liners, filling three-quarters full.
Bake 21-23 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly touched with your finger tips. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan, meanwhile, leave the oven on and toast 1 cup of walnuts (optional) in the 350F-degree oven for 7-8 minutes.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the homemade caramel.
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup Light Karo syrup
4 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
In a medium sauce pan, stir together the sugar, salt and Karo syrup. Place the pan over low heat and cover with a lid. Heat until the sugar mixture is bubbling, BUT DO NOT STIR. Remove the lid and raise the temperature to medium. Watch pan closely; when the mixture turns a golden brown, remove from the heat immediately. Add the butter, in pieces, and stir together. Slowly add the heavy cream--the mixture will bubble and release hot steam, so be careful not to burn yourself. When the cream is incorporated, add the sea salt and vanilla.
Cream Cheese Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 lb. pkg. confectioners' sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 cup homemade caramel, cooled
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese thoroughly. Add the confectioners' sugar, one-half at a time and starting out on low speed, beat until incorporated. Repeat with remaining confectioners' sugar. Add the vanilla and blend, then, turn the mixer up to medium and beat the buttercream for 6 to 8 minutes incorporating "air" into it. Add the caramel and stir to blend.
Wash and dry 12-8oz. jelly jars. Remove the paper from the cupcake and using a serrated knife, slice the cupcake in thirds, horizontally.
7 oz. jar of Marshmallow Fluff
4 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla paste (or extract)
Beat all ingredients together, using a hand mixture and pipe on top of the jar cupcakes.
For the remaining dozen, I piped some homemade caramel into the center, then added a swirl of the Caramel Buttercream with a sprinkle of walnuts.