Yeah, so last week. I mean, doesn’t the presence of Thanksgiving alone provide enough craziness? But oh no, the universe apparently decided that I needed so much more. The week began with a water main break in my city, and our water was off for two days. When it (weakly!) returned, it came with a boil notice that city officials probably lifted a tad too soon, because I got very sick on Thursday!
So in all the mayhem, I ended up neglecting the blog. I totally meant to share this superlative little dessert last week – pre-Thanksgiving, when it’s still socially acceptable to blog pumpkin desserts, but this recipe is so spectacular that it simply can’t wait another year. A small food blogging faux pas will likely be forgiven once you taste these.
I actually made these cupcakes mostly on a whim. A couple years ago I made and blogged a pumpkin cupcake with chocolate cream cheese frosting, which were quite lovely; so this year I impulsively decided to reverse the cupcakes and see if a chocolate cupcake with pumpkin buttercream worked just as well.
Possibly even better, I must say! I’ve made this three times in the past week, to overwhelming raves each time. The cupcakes are chocolate-y and tender and soft, with a not-too-sweet and earthy frosting capping them off. So delicious, and I personally think it’s still an acceptable time of year to enjoy these.
A note about the frosting. The first time I made them, I piped on the frosting with a plain pastry bag tip (not the star tip), and two problems emerged. One, they were over-frosted in the sense that I ran out on cupcake #19 (of 24), and two, the frosting looked like the poop emoji. So I used a small spatula to smooth it out and it looked much nicer. When I made it again, I skipped the pastry bag and had plenty of frosting for all 24 cupcakes. If you want the frosting piled high on all 24 cupcakes, I’d increase the recipe by 1 ½.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup cocoa powder
2 large eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ tsp ground cinnamon, plus a little extra for garnish, if desired
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
First make the CUPCAKES: preheat your oven to 350 F. Line 2 (12 cup) muffin tins with liners and set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa in a medium bowl. Add the egg, oil, and sugar to a large bowl and whisk briskly until thick and creamy, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the vanilla and milk. Add the dry ingredients, and whisk until just combined.
Evenly spoon the batter into the prepared tins. Bake until a metal skewer or cake tester comes out clean, 15 to 17 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 2 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting them.
When the cupcakes have cooled, make the FROSTING: place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat until airy and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, and vanilla extract; beat until well combined.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly sprinkle in one third of the sugar. Beat until well combined. Stop the mixer, and scrape down the sides. Repeat with the remaining sugar. Once all of the sugar has been added, beat the frosting on high speed for 2 minutes.
Frost the cooled cupcakes, and if desired, sprinkle each cupcake with a tad bit of ground cinnamon.