Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

As you know, I am on a fall-inspired food kick.  Fall means orange and yellow trees, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, Halloween, and apparently pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes! Basically just a lot of pumpkins. 

Recipe from Your Cup of Cake.

I have never been much of a baker, but I am working on it.  I used to bake quite a bit with my Mom when I was a kid.  You'd think with all the baking we did, I could successfully make a recipe.  But think again.  Somehow I could never remember how much of an ingredient I'd added to the recipe.  This resulted in a lot of inadvertent double batches, or just a lot of dry ingredients thrown down the drain.

At least I can cook.  Cooking is different than baking. When I cook, I just throw a "little of this and a little of that" in. It keeps things interesting!  

Printable Recipe HERE!

Cheesecake Filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pumpkin Cakes:

½ cup canola oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup skim milk
1 ¾ cup pumpkin puree

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
milk, if needed

For the Filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar until combined. Add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Place the filling in the freezer until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with 20-24 cupcake liners.  

Mix oil, applesauce, sugar and brown sugar together until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time and mix well (do not over beat and do not beat on high speed.)

In a separate bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking soda and baking powder.  Add half of the dry ingredients to the oil mixture and mix.  Add milk.  Add the remaining half of the dry ingredients.  Mix in pumpkin puree.

Fill cupcake liners ¾ full.   Take the filling out of the freezer and place small spoonfuls (between 1 ½ -2 teaspoons) on the top of each unbaked cupcake. Slightly swirl into the batter with a wooden skewer.  

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out with no orange batter on it.

For the Frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter for 3-4 minutes. Scrape the bowl as necessary. Slowly add powdered sugar until combined. Add vanilla extract and cinnamon. Use milk to thin out the frosting if needed (add 1 tablespoon at a time). 

Pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes.  (You can use a piping bag, or cut a small hole in the bottom corner of a large Ziploc bag to use as your piping bag.)