Since deciding to eliminate powdered sugar from our diet, I’ve been on a quest to discover the greatest and best frosting recipes that don’t require powdered sugar at all. It’s been a fun journey, yielding amazing creamy delights like Caramel Buttercream (to. die. for.), Flour Frosting (so much better than it sounds), No-Powdered-Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting (the healthiest of the bunch), and my personal twist on 7-Minute Frosting, Fluffy Coffee Frosting.
It’s no surprise, then, that upon being assigned Meet the Swans for November’s Secret Recipe Club (Find out how the SRC works and see if you’d like to join!), that I didn’t have to look any further than her recipe for pumpkin pie frosting. Krista (the Mrs. Swan) loves to create deliciously decadent goodies with creative twists, like Double Chocolate Ice Cream Waffle Cupcakes, Two-Tone Cookie Crinkles, and Caramel Gingerbread Blondies.
Her creative bent was evident in her use of Pumpkin Pie (yes, the actual pumpkin pie, not a pumpkin-pie-flavored frosting) to frost cupcakes for a wedding, inspired by the genius of The Cupcake Project. I had to make this recipe, not only because it didn’t require powdered sugar, but because it was just so stinkin’ creative that I couldn’t NOT try it. Yes, I know double negatives are not grammatically correct. But you agree with me, don’t you? Aren’t you inspired to try it yourself?
Go ahead, then. Read our blog and Frost those cupcakes with pumpkin pie and be the family celebrity at Thanksgiving this year.
Pumpkin Pie Frosting
slightly adapted from Meet the Swans
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup raw sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 tsp cloves, crushed (or 1/4 tsp ground cloves)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups scalded milk
- Stir together eggs and pumpkin puree. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and spices, then stir into the pumpkin mixture. Gradually add the scalded milk until blended. Pour mixture into a greased 9″ pie pan, and bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for a few hours, before refrigerating for at least 4 hours.
- When pie filling is completely cooled, remove from refrigerator and scoop into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whip attachment, beat just until fluffy and spreadable.
- Spread onto cake or cupcakes, or use a decorating bag to pipe a design.
I have to tell you that when I first made these, my DH was a tad apprehensive about pumpkin pie being the frosting. And with his first taste, he was kind of like, “Meh. It’s OK, but not great.” But then he couldn’t stop eating them (and I admit, neither could I!), and after a few more he told me multiple times that “those cupcakes were really good.” High praise, folks!
This is definitely not the QUICKest frosting in my repertoire, that’s for sure. Because of the cooling and refrigerating time that’s an absolute must, you really have to plan ahead with this one and make it a day in advance.
It IS very EASY, though. This recipe is essentially the same as the one you’ll find on the side of Libby’s canned pumpkin, so if you’ve ever made that one, you’re good to go.
This time of year, it’s pretty CHEAP, unless there’s a pumpkin shortage in your area driving the pumpkin prices up. It’s probably about the equivalent of your average buttercream frosting in terms of cost, I’d say.
And it’s definitely a HEALTHY improvement over “normal” frosting. I would love to experiment using partial honey and sugar to reduce the refined sugar amount even further, but I was afraid to mess with the texture this time around. And having pumpkin as the main ingredient in a frosting? Soooo much better for your gut than buttercream … so go ahead, have another one. Or two. I won’t judge.
Of course, you have to use a frosting like this on a truly appropriate cupcake, something a little bolder than mere chocolate or vanilla. I went with sugar and spice… but you’ll just have to come back tomorrow for that recipe!
Now let’s be honest here: would you ever have thought to use pie filling as frosting?