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10 Pumpkin Dishes to Try in Houston: #3: Pumpkin Cupcake at Crave Cupcakes

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I adore pumpkin. It's orange (my favorite color), healthful (fiber! Vitamin A!), and associated with two lovely, food-centric holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving). Starting around October, I always find myself on the hunt for pumpkin-flavored foods, and this autumn is no exception. So, between now and Turkey Day, I will be counting down 10 Pumpkin Dishes to Try in Houston.

#3: Pumpkin Cupcake at Crave Cupcakes

I don't care that cupcakes are so 2009. As long as they're cute, come in fun flavors, and offer an excellent frosting to cake ratio, I will continue to consume them even if it means I have to sit through interminable baby showers and other female-dominated social events.

The cupcakes at Crave fulfill all my aforementioned requirements, especially the second, as evidenced by their diverse seasonal varieties: holiday gingerbread and eggnog (forthcoming) and the recently released pumpkin ($3.25 available Wednesdays and Saturdays).

I foolishly assumed this flavor might decline in popularity after Halloween and therefore I waited until late in the afternoon on a recent weekend to mosey on down to the Kirby location. Sold out. The nice women behind the hypoallergenic counter offered to put aside one cupcake for me in the coming week's batch. I agreed and got to write "cupcake reservation" in my planner, which was rather fun.

When I finally tried this elusive cupcake, the moist pumpkin cake was appropriately spiced and wonderfully balanced by a thick head of cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Other cupcake bakeries (cupcakeries?) in town claim to use butter in the frosting, but Crave must use proportionately, because the icing has that wonderful salty-sweetness suggestive of real cream butter. The addition of cinnamon revved up the homogeneous cheese and became even more robust when I alternated bites of cupcake with a strong cup of English breakfast tea. The adorable, signature orange garnish was a reminder that despite the 70-degree weather, it is, in fact, fall -- just the right time to gorge on seasonal baked goods.

The list to date: #10: Pumpkin Cheesecake Balls at Chocolat Du Monde #9: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale #8: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin from Stone Mill Bakers #7: "Halloween" Pumpkin Curry from Khun Kay Thai Café #6: Pumpkin Praline Ice Cream at Amy's #5: Pumpkin Spice Latte at Diedrich "Dirk's" Coffee #4: Pumpkin Goat Cheese Croquettes at Pizzeria Dolce Vita Enoteca

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