chocolate pumkpin cupcakes with meringue frosting

This recipe is clearly inspired by the colors and flavors of the season. To be honest, on a day filled with candy and chocolate, pumpkin cupcakes are almost too much. So while these were inspired by and for Halloween, I would skip it and try them for Thanksgiving instead.

I used a rich chocolate recipe to stand up to the heavy pumpkin recipe. I was half hoping the layers would stay fairly even, but somewhat expected that they wouldn’t. It looked like the chocolate batter was desperately trying to rise to the top with the pumpkin doing its best to keep it down. What resulted was evidence of the struggle with a wave pattern along the side of the cupcake and just a touch of chocolate poking through the top. The pumpkin batter (adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe) is nicely spicy with a pleasant moistness. It was a nice partner to the chocolate and the overall result has a spicy outcome. The frosting provides some added sweetness and visual interest.

These recipes work well for doing a two layered cupcake. One is mixed with an electric mixer and the other by hand. I can’t stress enough that you should pre-measure all ingredients and have them ready to go. Yes, you will dirty up a bunch of little bowls or plates, but it’s really the only way to ensure success. I measured out everything for both cupcake recipes and set them aside in order of use. I then mixed up the chocolate cupcake batter as it takes the longest. The pumpkin batter takes no time at all once everything is measured out. Just whisk together dry, whisk together wet, and whisk it all together. And don’t forget to preheat your oven to 375!

Chocolate Cupcakes

100 gram bar of Valrhona 61% cacao (or any bittersweet chocolate)
1-1/2 sticks butter
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Chop chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. Add butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate melts and butter is combined.
3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
4. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
5. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each
6. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into the mixture, return to the electric mixer, and mix until blended.

chocolate pumkpin cupcake

Pumpkin Cupcakes

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. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, eggs, and pumpkin puree.
3. Add dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth.

Meringue Frosting

5 egg whites
1-1/4 cups sugar

1. Combine egg whites and sugar into the mixing bowl of your stand mixer and set over a bain marie (water bath)
2. Whisk by hand for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved or preferably until the mixture reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit
3. Transfer bowl to electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 10 minutes
4. Beat on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form, about 5 to 10 minutes more.

frosting cupcakes

Baking and Assembly
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Scoop chocolate batter to fill cupcake cups 1/3 full.
3. Cover with the pumpkin batter up to 2/3 full.
4. Transfer to the oven, turn the oven down to 350 F, and bake for ~22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a baking rack.
6. Once fully cooled, frost with meringue frosting and toast with a blow torch. Toasting is optional.
7. Top with candy corn, candy pumpkin, or whatever you wish.

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