Cocoa Pumpkins

I recently read on the Cupcake Project that because I have a food blog, I can do whatever the heck I want involving food. Given this permission, I thought it’d be a good time to start the pumpkin season (I’m aware it’s only August, but I love pumpkin the way I love peanut butter…and also, I can do whatever the heck I want involving food). I also prepared pumpkin pancakes for our guests last weekend, and I couldn’t bear to let the remaining pumpkin puree go to waste. I had a small portion of chocolate ganache left over from my Peanuts cake so I figured I’d try a little experiment-cocoa and pumpkin.

No, no, that’s Coco and pumpkin.

This is cocoa and pumpkin. Two fabulous ingredients blended together into one delightful little cupcake…that I hated. As you can see from the picture above, the cupcakes look lovely, and they’re moist and fluffy and pumpkin. Something was just off for me….

Mmm chocolate!

…I even dipped them in chocolate ganache…

Ooh whipped cream frosting!

…and topped them with a fabulous cinnamon whipped cream cheese frosting…

…and still nothing. I just couldn’t fall in love with these. Why am I still posting them, you ask? Because someone once told me that just because I don’t like it, it doesn’t mean it isn’t good. I thought some of the more adventurous bakers out there may enjoy this because surely I do not. Anyway, I’ll pumpkin-up in the next few months with some fabulous, delicious things 🙂

Cocoa Pumpkin Cupcakes

Stuff You’ll Need

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

For the Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 batch of chocolate ganache

For the Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

How to Do It

  1. Line two muffin pans with paper liners, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a small mixing bowl, and set aside. Lightly whisk the pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl, and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugars together using the whip attachment in a stand-mixer or whip with an electric hand mixer. Gradually add the eggs one at a time, and add the yolk. Once the eggs are blended, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Add approximately 1/3 of the flour mixture to the bowl, and whip at low speed. Alternately add 1/2 of the pumpkin mixture and 1/3 of the flour mixture until all the ingredients are combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  5. Use and ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into the prepared pan, filling each liner no more than 2/3 full. Bake the cupcakes for 28 minutes, rotating the pan once at the halfway point, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
  6. While the cupcakes are baking, make the frosting. Whip the heavy cream and granulated sugar at high speed until stiff peaks begin to form, and the whipped cream is heavy and thick. Set the whipped cream aside. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese with the paddle attachment of a stand-mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon in a small bowl, and begin adding the mixture to the cream cheese 1/4 cup at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary, and when the ingredients are fully combined, remove the bowl from the mixer and begin to fold the whipped cream in with a sturdy rubber spatula. Chill the frosting in the refrigerator in a stainless steel bowl while the cupcakes finish baking and cooling.
  7. Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and let them cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling. When the cupcakes are cool, dip the tops in chocolate ganache. This is easiest when you dip the cupcakes upside down into a shallow bowl of chocolate ganache, and spin them until they’re completely covered. Chill the dipped cupcakes for 15 minutes or until the ganache layer has hardened. Top with cream cheese frosting, and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from

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  1. these look awesome, bet they taste great too.

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