Spiced Pumpkin Olive Oil Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

The Cupcakes

• 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
• 2 tsp. baking soda
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 15 oz. can solid pack pumpkin (1 ¾ cups)
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 cup dark brown sugar
• 1 cup sweet extra virgin olive oil such as  Sunshine Coast Olive Oil Co. Arbequina, Arbosana or Koroneiki
• 4 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line three standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  In a separate large bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugars and extra virgin olive oil.  Add the eggs one at a time beating after each is added.

Add the flour in three stages to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined and no flour can be seen.  Fill the muffin tins and bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in to the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Makes 36 standard cupcakes or 12 giant cupcakes

Cinnamon-Vanilla Buttercream

• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 4 large egg whites
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• ¼tsp. salt
• 3 sticks unsalted butter cut in to 1/2 inch cubes and brought to (room temperature!)

Put the sugar, egg whites and salt in to a metal mixing bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir constantly with a whisk until the mixture feels very warm to the touch (about 3-4 minutes)  Remove the bowl from the heat.  Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it reaches room temperature (about 5 minutes).  Add the butter cubes one at a time to beating after each addition until smooth. Once all the butter in incorporated, add the cinnamon and vanilla beating until fully incorporated. Allow the cupcakes to cool before frosting.