Monday, November 7, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

Yesterday, thousands of runners hit the streets during the New York City Marathon. Every year, I watch in awe and for a brief moment feel inspired to run it myself. Then I take another few steps towards my friends apartment, out of breath, and I'm over it. 

I'll be the first to admit, the only way you'd ever get me to run a full marathon would be to pay me a hefty amount of money. I have done two half marathons in the past, but that was more than enough running for me.

While you will never find me running for an extending period of time, you can be sure that I'll be the first to bring delicious baked goods to any party. And that I did. Every marathon day, we gathered at our friend Matt and Meg's place for a Marathon Party. They have an amazing terrace with a great view of the race. We gladly enjoy the sights of the race with a cold beer and tasty treats in hand. 

With my fall spirit still running high (pun intended), I whipped up a batch of chocolate pumpkin cupcakes. This may sound a bit odd, but don't fret. The cake only has a subtle cocoa kick but is bursting with pumpkin flavor. They were an instant hit.

Cupcake Recipe:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup veggie oil
4 large eggs

Whipped Frosting Recipe:
2 1/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1) To make cupcakes, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside. 
2) In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir together and set aside.In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, sugars and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. On low speed, slowly add flour mixture until just incorporated.
3) Fill the cupcake liners until about three-quarters full. (I use a three-tablespoon ice cream scooper. It's easy and consistent.) Bake for about 18-20 minutes, until the cakes are golden. Move to a cooling rack and let them sit until completely cooled. This may take some time, but the whipped frosting could melt if not cooled completely.
4) To make the frosting, put heavy cream in the bowling of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increase to high speed. Gradually, blend in confectioners' sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over-beat. (It can be tricky to tell when it is ready, but if you over-beat the cream and sugar will become a buttery consistency.) Pipe directly onto the cooled cakes. 

I topped mine with a bit of shaved chocolate as a little hint to what's inside. Enjoy!

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