Last Thanksgiving I was looking for ways to mix new and familiar flavors together in order to get people to try new ingredients. When I saw the recipe for Pumpkin Layer Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting and Quince-Ginger Compote from a local food blog Bitten Word, I knew I had found the perfect fit. These cupcakes were such a hit at my office that I made them once for our group Thanksgiving Potluck and a few weeks later for our organization’s Holiday Bowling party.
The frosting is basically half goat cheese and half cream cheese, which makes the final product thicker and tangier. This way, it doesn’t compete with the spicy cake or become too sweet when paired with the quince topping. Since I used the recipe for a two-layer cake and adapted it into cupcakes, there was a lot of quince topping left over. This just meant that the second time I made the cupcakes I didn’t have to make the topping again! The topping also goes well with yogurt, oatmeal, or could be baked into a dessert of its own. I also drizzled some of the quince syrup on top of the cupcakes to add some more moisture and flavor.
If you aren’t able to find quince in your local grocery store, try substituting with Asian pears. The peak for the quince market often depends on your physical location and by the time you hear whispers of quince, they’re already gone!