I struggled to figure out what to call these cupcakes. They’re actually just chocolate cupcakes, frosted with vanilla buttercream to look like pumpkins. But chocolate pumpkin cupcakes – that’s a different thing altogether. And it actually sounds delicious, despite what some people might think about the pumpkin/chocolate combo. And so, I settled on “fall fun,” because they were fun to make.
As you can see in the photo below, Tucker was quite impressed with them – but as they’re chocolate, they are absolutely not dog friendly. Next time, I’ll go with more vibrant colors for my frosting – these shades are quite muted. I’ll also use a different piping tip for my pumpkin stems, because these ended up looking more like the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter than I’d like. Regardless of how they look, they’re quite tasty. I hope my brother Andy and nephew Roman, who were in town from North Carolina this weekend, will enjoy them.
For the cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
For the frosting
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Orange, green, and brown food coloring
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; this recipe yields 14 cupcakes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix until well-blended, then make three wells for the wet ingredients.
Place vinegar, vanilla, and vegetable oil into the wells; add water and mix until the batter is smooth. The mixture will bubble up slightly when you add the water, so just keep mixing until you get a smooth consistency in the batter, which will be fairly thin.
Using a 1/4 cup measure, divide batter among your cupcake wells. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, then remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on wire racks.
To make frosting, in a mixing bowl, beat butter for about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until all of the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter; this will take a few minutes. Add vanilla extract and almond extract, beating well to combine completely. Divide into three portions; two small portions of just a few tablespoons each for your stems and leaves, then the remainder for your pumpkins. Tint the largest portion orange, then the smaller portions green and brown. Fit a large piping bag with a Wilton M1 tip and pipe swirls of frosting onto each cupcake to create your pumpkin shape. Fit a small piping bag with a star or plain tip and pipe stems; fit another small piping bag with a leaf tip and pipe leaves. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. Makes 14.
Tucker was very interested in these, but remember – chocolate can be deadly for dogs. Never feed your pup chocolate!