Fluffy and perfectly spice pumpkin cupcakes frosted with milk chocolate cream cheese frosting and topped with a drizzle of homemade salted caramel sauce and sea salt flakes.
Friends!!! I say this a lot but I am SOOOO EXCITED about this recipe. It’s my last pumpkin recipe of the year and I definitely saved the best for last (actually I came up with it in bed the night before I made them but same thing). I introduce you to pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting and salted caramel. I’m drooling, I know you’re drooling, we’re all drooling.
Some may be skeptical of my flavor combination but fear not. Cream cheese frosting goes with EVERYTHING! We talked about this in a previous post as well but literally it goes with basically all spiced fall flavors, which includes pumpkin pie spice.
Cream cheese frosting even goes with chocolate cake so naturally, cream cheese goes with chocolate. You know what else goes amazing with chocolate? Salted caramel. You know what else goes amazing with pumpkin? Salted caramel. You know what else goes amazing with cream cheese? Salted caramel.
Did I forget to tie pumpkin and chocolate together? Well just trust me, they go. It’s basically a circle of love.
How to make pumpkin cupcakes?
Sooooo I may or may not have just stolen this pumpkin cupcake recipe from my pumpkin sheet cake. LOL. I did change two things. I used all granulated sugar in place of brown sugar (because I was lazy but it works both ways) and I put them in muffin cups and only baked for 25 minutes instead of 35 minutes.
You basically just whisk together all the dry ingredients, combine all the wet ingredients, including the pumpkin puree, give it a good mix and then add the dry to the wet. Mix JUST until combined, no more. Bake for 25 minutes and let them cook completely before frosting.
How to make chocolate cream cheese frosting?
Cream cheese frosting is just as easy to make as traditional American buttercream. I like to use a little butter in this frosting as well, because it will help it hold it’s shape a little better since butter is more firm than cream cheese.
Give the butter and cream cheese a good beating before adding the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt. This is best done when they’re both at room temperature. Once you’ve added these, let the mixer run for 5-10 minutes, it will make it extra fluffy and make sure everything is fully dissolved and not grainy. At this point, I add the vanilla extract and melted chocolate.
That’s right, I use cocoa powder and melted chocolate for chocolate cream cheese frosting. That’s because I like the color and richness from the cocoa powder but I like the texture and flavor from the melted chocolate.
I opted for milk chocolate just to change things up since I never really use that but I think dark chocolate would be just as good, if not better. I’m not the biggest fan of bittersweet chocolate, not sure why, but you can always use that too.
How to make homemade salted caramel?
This is the simplest recipe ever and you don’t even need a candy thermometer.
Begin by melting the sugar, don’t stir, just swirl the pan every so often. Once it’s melted and starts to look the color of a light caramel, remove it from the heat. It continues cooking because the pan is still hot so don’t wait any longer or it will burn and you will have a dark, smokey caramel. Once you remove it from the heat, add the butter and stir continuously, then add the milk or cream, stirring until fully combined.
UPDATE: for more details, check out my post on homemade salted caramel sauce.
What kind of milk to use for salted caramel?
I’ve made this with dairy milk, oat milk and heavy whipping cream. I’m sure it would also work with a nut milk. The consistency will depend on the amount of milk or cream you add. In this recipe, below, I did not add a lot of milk because I wanted it thick enough to sit on top of my frosting without blending into it so if you want it thinner and easier to work with, add a tiny bit more milk (not more than double). As for salt, I like a salty salted caramel but if you want a more neutral caramel, use 1/2 teaspoon salt instead of a whole teaspoon.
So if you find the time to make these chocolate and salted caramel frosted pumpkin cupcakes before tomorrow (American Thanksgiving!) then do it. If you have to stay up all night to make them, I promise YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT & it won’t take all night, lol. Also, you can make these into mini cupcakes if you want!
Seriously though, I’m willing to keep an extra 2 pounds of my baby weight for these pumpkin cupcakes. I mean just look at them…OK I’m going to hit publish now so you can make these ASAP and then tag me @baranbakery on instagram. As always, have a blessed day, happy baking & HAPPY THANKSGIVING LOVEBUGS!
- 2 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp ginger
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp vanilla
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup milk chocolate
- 8 oz (1 package) cream cheese
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned and leveled
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F/177C convection (or 325F/162C conventional) and line two muffin tins.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger in a medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
- Combine the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, pumpkin puree, and vanilla in a large bowl until everything is fully combined.
- Fold in the dry ingredients just until they are fully incorporated.
- Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a small bowl, melt the milk chocolate and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, cream the cream cheese and butter until it is light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and beat for 5-10 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Scrape the bowl to make sure all the sugar and cocoa powder is fully dissolved.
- Add in the vanilla, salt and melted milk chocolate. Beat until everything is fully combined and fluffy. If it's too soft, refrigerate it for a few minutes before frosting.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar over medium heat, swirling every 30 seconds but not stirring. Once it is a light amber color, remove it from the heat (it will continue cooking because the pan is hot so do this immediately).
- Stir in the butter and whisk continuously. Once that's combined, stir in the heavy cream and then the salt.
- Allow the caramel to cool a little before drizzling.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 336Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 269mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 1gSugar: 30gProtein: 6g