Happy Halloween! I made these treats last night and they were mostly a success. The cupcake recipe comes from Dessert for Two, which is a great blog specialising in small-batch baking. The pumpkin chai batter was amazing, but the chocolate batter came out very rubbery and not very chocolatey. I keep thinking, was it the espresso powder I used? Did I forget to put in the baking soda? We will never know went wrong, but I encourage you to try this recipe and see if your chocolate batter comes out better than mine did!
The ghosts are made from a marshmallow fluff frosting recipe and it is quite different, but delicious! First, the consistency of the meringue-based frosting allowed me to pipe large mounds for the ghosts. Second, unlike a buttercream, this icing is less sweet and rich so it works well in a large serving size, and pairs well with the pumpkin cake.
Makes 6 cupcakes (double quantities for a full dozen)
Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes
Ingredients for the Chocolate Batter:
1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. instant espresso powder
4 tsp. neutral-flavoured oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 large egg yolk
Ingredients for the Pumpkin Batter:
7 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 large egg white
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp. neutral-flavoured oil
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 176C, and line 6 cups in a muffin tin.
Make the chocolate batter: whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and espresso powder. Set aside.
Whisk together the oil, vanilla, brown sugar, buttermilk, and egg yolk. Set aside.
Next, make the pumpkin batter: whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
Whisk together the egg white, pumpkin, brown sugar, oil, and granulated sugar. Set aside.
Mix the dry ingredients for the chocolate batter into the wet ingredients. Then, mix the dry ingredients for the pumpkin batter into its wet ingredients. You have two separate batters.
Layer the cupcakes beginning with a dollop of chocolate batter, followed by pumpkin, chocolate, and ending with pumpkin.
Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes.
Let them cool in the muffin tin a few minutes before cooling on a rack.
Marshmallow Fluff Frosting
This recipe comes from Spend With Pennies, and I halved the recipe (I still had loads of frosting leftover).
1 1/2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tbsp. caster sugar
3/8 cup golden corn syrup
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.
Add 1 tbsp. of sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Set aside.
In a saucepan, add 1/6 cup water, corn syrup, and 1/3 cup sugar.
Cook over medium heat while stirring until the mixture reaches firm ball stage. This is 248C on a candy thermometer and should take about 15 minutes. *Note I couldn’t get the hard ball test in a glass of cold water to work so I just went by my thermometer.
Once the mixture is at the firm ball stage pour it in a slow steady stream into the beaten egg whites. Beat on high for 5 minutes (the mixture should whiten and turn glossy).
Add the vanilla and beat again for 1 minute.
I piped the ghosts with a large-tip nozzle (I think mine should have been even wider). The ghost eyes are chocolate chips.