Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

Dear Hungry Alaskans, I realize I have completely neglected you for a week.  I have plenty of excuses:  end of the quarter, 40 progress reports to write, 11 meetings in one day, the first ski movie of the year!, yoga, running, cleaning the house, baseball playoffs, chalkboard paint, mod podge, and many other really good reasons.  OK, 90% of my excuses are lame, but give me a little credit for trying.  
The real reason I haven’t posted is because I have not been able to find adequate words to describe these chocolate pumpkin cupcakes.  Seriously.  The simple combination of pumpkin, chocolate, a few spices, and cream cheese make these cupcakes heavenly.  They are infinitely better than your average chocolate cupcake due to their decadent density, and they are far better than pumpkin pie because they do not have the consistency of baby food/I-lost-my-dentures-and-have-to-eat-paste.  
The perfect amount of chocolate, the perfect amount of pumpkin, and the perfect hint of cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves/ginger/allspice lead to the best fall treat ever created.  Even my absolutely phenomenal niece who only eats quesadillas, hot dogs, mac and cheese, goldfish, and skinless apples thought they were great!

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes:
Loosely inspired from this recipe.

For the Cupcakes…

  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoonof  vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cup (heaping) of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

For the Frosting…

  • 4 ounces of 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup better, softened
  • 3-5ish cups of powdered sugar (depends on your consistency preference)
  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 tablespoons of milk

To Make the Cupcakes…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line your preferred size muffin tin with liners–my favorite are the mini-sized.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the sugar, buttermilk, oil, eggs, pumpkin, salt, vanilla, and pumpkin spice until blended.
  3. Turn off the mixer and add the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder.  
  4. Turn your mixer on to the lowest speed until things begin to combine, then turn the speed up.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. Fill a gallon-sized ziploc bag with the batter.  Cut a centimeter-ish wide hole in one of the corners of the bag.
  7. “Pipe” the batter 3/4 of the way full into the lined muffin tins.
  8. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  This will vary based on the size of your muffin tins.  At 15 minutes, I would start to keep a very close eye on them.
  9. Cool on a wire rack.

To Make the Frosting…

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. 
  2. Add the milk and again beat until fluffy.
  3. Add the pumpkin spice.
  4. Add the sugar, about a cup at a time.
  5. Beat on high until your desired consistency is reached.
  6. Fill a gallon-sized ziploc bag with the frosting.  Cut a centimeter-ish wide hole in one of the corners of the bag.
  7. “Pipe” the frosting onto the cupcakes.
  8. Lightly cover with sprinkles if you want.
  9. ENJOY!

Beat cream cheese and sugar then add powdered sugar pumpkin pie spice and milk and mix until fully blended together and fluffy.

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