Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Emma Star Jensen
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
About 1 1/2 cups sweetened whipped cream
22 chocolate pastilles*
How to Make It
Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat sugar, buttermilk, oil, eggs, pumpkin, salt, and vanilla until well blended.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Gradually add to wet mixture, beating on medium speed until smooth.
Line muffin pans with muffin cups and fill each cup with 3 tbsp. batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 minutes. Cool completely.
Make frosting: In a medium bowl, beat mascarpone, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin, vanilla, and salt with a mixer until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar. Chill until firm, 1 hour. Spread on cupcakes and top each with whipped cream and a pastille. Chill until frosting is firm, about 30 minutes.
*Find chocolate pastilles in the baking aisle at well-stocked grocery stores.
I served these at Thanksgiving and was hoping for more of a pumpkin flavor. Also, there is still a lot of oil so I'm not sure what the purpose of the pumpkin is since you can't taste it. The cupcake is moist but just takes like a chocolate cupcake. I made the browned butter cinnamon cream cheese frosting and that made it over the top.
Really good. Everyone loved them on Thanksgiving and when I saw my brother-in-law a few days later he commented on on how much he enjoyed them. It's fun to share a memorable dessert with family and friends.
I made a quick and easy variation of this recipe by using dark chocolate cake mix and cream cheese frosting instead of making them from scratch. I added about 1/2 cup pumpkin puree to the cake mix, and decreased the oil by 1/4 cup. To the frosting I added 1 spoonful of pumpkin and about 1/8 tsp pumpkin spice. I made mini-cupcakes for a bite-sized dessert and they turned out wonderfully!