Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

These were a BIG hit and might just be one of the best cupcake recipes I've ever made. I found the frosting recipe here on Cooking Classy, but I wanted to use a different recipe for the cupcakes that didn't use buttermilk or applesauce, which I didn't have at home. I'm not a big Martha Stewart fan, but I have to give it to her that this pumpkin cupcake recipe was DELICIOUS.

The overall process is a little time consuming, though you can do things simultaneously... such as making the frosting while the cupcakes are baking. I don't recommend making the ganache until all cupcakes are out of the oven and cooling because it needs to be put on right after making it.

Cupcake Ingredients and Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
(While the cupcakes were cooling, I poked some holes in the top with a chopstick to help them cool and also allow a little space for the ganache to get into the cupcake.)

Ganache Ingredients and Recipe

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Original directions: "Place chocolate chips in a medium mixing bowl, set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring whipping cream just to a boil. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips and whisk until smooth. Spoon 1 tsp ganache over each cooled cupcake and spread near edges, allow to cool. Meanwhile make spiced cream cheese frosting."

(I always do ganache in a glass bowl set on top of a pan with boiling water that does not touch the bowl's bottom. Just put the chocolate chips in and when they start to melt, add the cream and stir frequently until everything is melted and combined. I then transferred it all into a measuring cup to easily pour onto each cupcake immediately.)

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

"In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, whip together cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add vanilla, salt, powdered sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and whip until smooth and fluffy. Pipe cream cheese frosting over cooled chocolate ganache covered cupcakes."

If you don't have any fancy piping equipment, it's ok! I have a set of the plastic cake frosting tips you can just buy in a 4-pack from the store in the baking aisle (they're intended for those tubes of frosting you can buy) and I cut a hole in the corner of a Hefty ziplock bag and wedge the tip in. Start with a smaller hole and cut more as necessary, you want to try to make it airtight.

I sprinkled some cinnamon over the cupcakes afterwards as a little bit of a garnish, though the original frosting recipe used chopped pecans.


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