Baking can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. Sometimes you want something that is homemade, but quick, and not as complicated as other recipes. These pumpkin muffins strike a good balance between the two. Using a box of spice cake mix, pumpkin puree, brewed coffee, milk, and bacon, these cupcakes are easy to throw together. They’re also lower in calories than typical cupcake recipes that have eggs, oil, butter, etc. The Toasted Marshmallow frosting recipe involves a bit of work, but the result is worth it. These cupcakes are good on their own, or with your favorite frosting recipe.
1 box spice cake mix
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz.)
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup brewed coffee, cooled (You can omit coffee and add 1/3 cup more milk)
1/3 cup finely chopped top quality thick-sliced bacon (add more or less to suit your level of bacon addiction)
The Marshmallow Frosting:
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract
Mix the cake mix and the puree until combined. Slowly add the milk, then coffee and mix until well combined. Fold in the chopped bacon.
Spoon into 20-24 cupcake liners. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes. Cool completely.Place the cooled cupcakes on a baking sheet (they can be touching) and set them aside.
Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
Place the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the clean bowl and whisk by hand to combine. Nest the bowl over the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Heat the egg white mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch (about 120°F on an instant-read thermometer), about 6 minutes.
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, whisk for 1 minute on medium speed. Increase the speed to high and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes more. Add the vanilla and whisk until just incorporated, about 1 minute.
Transfer the frosting to a large piping bag fitted with your preferred piping tip and pipe onto the cupcakes. Broil until the tops are starting to brown, about 20 to 30 seconds—watch carefully to avoid burning. (Alternatively, you can use a kitchen torch). In my oven, it took 1-2 minutes, so be sure to keep an eye on them. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 hours.