Brace yourselves for the greatest cupcakes of all time. I’m a huge chocolate fan, a huge pumpkin fan and a huge cupcake fan, as long as they’re well made. There are two things that will ruin a cupcake for me – dry cake or too much of the standard overly-sweet frosting. This cupcake combats both with an extremely moist cake from the addition of pumpkin and a very light mascarpone frosting.
I have been making these each year around this time for the last five years, and I look forward to them every time. The ingredient list screams fall and the natural color scheme lends itself perfectly to Halloween. Just add some themed cupcake liners or cute garnishes to dress them up for a Halloween gathering.
Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes
Yield: 20 cupcakes
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin purée
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
Bring all ingredients to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350ºF and add liners to muffin tins.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder. In a separate bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sugar, buttermilk, oil, eggs, pumpkin, salt and vanilla on medium speed until well combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, beating until smooth.
Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way with batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just moist crumbs, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
While the cupcakes are baking, beat the mascarpone, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin, vanilla, and salt with a mixer until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.
Spread a thin layer of frosting over each cupcake and top with a dollop of whipped cream (if desired).
Refine Baking Tips
- To ensure ingredients are at room temperature for baking, leave all refrigerated ingredients out on the counter for 4 hours prior.
- If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, use a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.
- This frosting recipe will produce enough for a light layer on each cupcake. Double it if you want a thick, mounded top.