Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes with Fluffy Vanilla Cinnamon Butter Cream Icing | The Pickled Ginger

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes with Fluffy Vanilla Cinnamon Butter Cream Icing

by Colleen Elizabeth    

Fall is in the air!  Well not really here in North Carolina, not yet anyway.  We’re into September; it’s not even noon, it’s already 86 degrees and we’re anticipating some really muggy weather in the low 90s but a girl can dream, right?

I love fall.  It’s my favorite season of the year.  Crisp cool breezes drifting through open windows, carrying with them the earthy scent of dried foliage mingled with the sharpness of lingering bonfire smoke; a perfect back note to the visual delight of the scarlet, gold and titian-brimmed trees – the combination really invigorates me and gets me motivated… to bake!  (Incidentally, just the thought of the aforementioned climate seems to do the trick as well – who knew?)

Work has been abundant for me lately and while I am very thankful, I find myself a little frustrated because every moment in the past week that I have taken a seat at my desk with the express purpose of writing another blog post, something has come up and I have had to abandon the task.  Knowing this is not a good way to manage a new blog, I wracked my brain last night trying to think of ways to reorganize my current and foreseeable workload to become more efficient, which proved fruitless.  But I did have an idea:  Why don’t I share my first recipe?  To kick off the fall season, I played around in the kitchen with some cake recipes and came up with a treat that was a big hit with my family:  Pumpkin chocolate chunk cupcakes with fluffy vanilla cinnamon butter cream icing!  The aroma alone is enough to make it worth it!  Warm, pumpkin-y, ginger, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon-spicy goodness wafting through the house?  Yes, please!

Let’s make some cake!


For the Cake:

  • 1 ½ cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 stick (8 tsp) of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, also at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup solid canned pumpkin (or if you have homemade, the better!)
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 2 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove & ginger (at your discretion – how much spice do you love in your pumpkin cupcakes?  I use a lot!!)
  • One cup of chocolate chips OR a bar of your favorite chocolate, roughly chopped with a knife

Fluffy Vanilla Cinnamon American Butter Cream:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream, as needed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp popcorn salt
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons of cinnamon, as needed

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, 3 minutes.

Mix flour, spices, salt and baking soda in separate bowl and whisk to remove all lumps.

In small bowl, crack eggs and add vanilla.  No need to mix.  One at a time, add the eggs and vanilla to the sugar/butter mixture and mix until well incorporated.

Whisk together pumpkin and milk in separate bowl.

Turning the stand mixer on low, take turns adding to your butter/sugar/eggs/vanilla mixture, your dry ingredients (in thirds) and remaining pumpkin/milk mixture (by half), mixing each addition just until incorporated.

Take your bowl off of the stand mixer and using a spatula or wood spoon, fold in your chocolate chunks.

Line your muffin/cupcake tins with papers or coat in non‑stick spray and scoop your batter (I love using my ice cream scooper), filling each well only half way and bake between 13 to 17 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly pressed with the tip of your finger.

Remove cupcakes and let them cool completely!

Whip your butter and powdered sugar for 3 minutes.  Add in your vanilla and popcorn salt, as well as your cinnamon.  While still whipping, add in your heavy whipping cream, one spoon at a time until your butter cream reaches the desired consistency.  Top your delicious cupcakes and enjoy!!

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