Gratitude & Turkeys: Cupcakes Two Ways

Same yummy cupcake, two different toppings. And darn cute ones if I do say so myself. Half pumpkin and half chocolate, the cupcake itself is so freakin’ good it almost needs nothing else. But yes, I had to holiday them up and I turned half the batch into colorful turkeys with chocolate frosting and candies, and topped the other half with a chocolate ganache and piped on messages of gratitude. Gobble!

THE PUMPKIN AND CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE

This batter is unbelievable, just to give myself a shout out. I made two separate batches of batter: one with pumpkin puree and walnuts, and the other with chocolate and peanut butter. Um ya, I told you these suckers are delicious! Add a scoop of each into a lined 12-cupcake tin and bake.

DECORATING WITH CHOCOLATE FROSTING

Here’s the first of two ways to decorate those cupcakes. The plan is to pipe chocolate frosting in a swirl for the turkey’s body, and then add a maltball head, candy eyeballs, a fondant beak, and a lollipop for the tail feathers.

I didn’t have any orange fondant on hand so I dyed Satin Ice White Fondant with Americolor orange soft gel paste. Add a few drops and knead — gloves will save your hands from an unwanted dye job.

I made a trip to Dylan’s Candy Bar for tons of great options for the tail feathers like candy tape, ropes or different types of chewy candy.

Start with piping on the chocolate frosting in a swirl. Hack tip: buy Duncan Hines ready-made frosting off the shelf. Or you can use the recipe I’ve included in the post. Start with the maltball (mmmm Whoppers). Use a dab of frosting to add a triangle of the fondant for the beak, and another bit of frosting for the eyeballs. Lastly, for the tail feathers use a lollipop with the stick cut off so it will easily insert into the cupcake.

Gobble gobble!

DECORATING WITH GANACHE

This ganache is so rich, it pairs perfectly with the pumpkin chocolate cupcake base. Ganache is so easy to make! Just three ingredients: semisweet chocolate chips, heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar.

On top of the ganache, I used frosting with orange coloring to pipe on a Ding Dong design, and added other messages of gratitude.

I’ll have these on my Thanksgiving dessert table, I’m sure they’ll be a hit with my own little turkeys.

OUR FAVES 

Photos by: Maria Hedrick Photography

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes Two Ways

By TheSweetNerd  

November 14, 2018

Ingredients

PUMPKIN CUPCAKES

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup), room temperature

1 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 stick butter, room temperature

6 tbsp sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

2.5 tbsp sour cream

1 tbsp melted chocolate, cooled

Chocolate Ganache

1 1/4 cup semisweet choco chips

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Frosting

1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature2

3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder

3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Decorations

White Fondant or orange fondant

Orange food coloring

Candy eyes

Whoppers candy

Lollipops from Dylan's Candy

Directions

PUMPKIN CUPCAKES

1Preheat the oven to 350º F.

2Line a muffin pan with 12 muffin liners.

3In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well to combine.

4In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar and butter, beat together using an electric mixer until creamy, 1-2 minutes.

5Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture after each one.

6Add in the pumpkin puree and walnuts, mixing by hand with a spatula.

7Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, do not dump it in, rather take spoonfuls of the flour mixture and gently shake it over the wet ingredients, as if you were sifting in the flour. Fold in the mixture until no flour remains. Repeat with the other half of the flour, folding it in and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate everything.

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

1In a small mixing bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently mix using a spoon.

2In a larger mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla, lightly beat.

3Add in the sour cream and melted chocolate, mix by hand using a spatula.

4Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, do not dump it in, rather take spoonfuls of the flour mixture and gently shake it over the wet ingredients, as if you were sifting in the flour. Fold in the mixture until no flour remains. Repeat with the other half of the flour, folding it in and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate everything.

5Begin to add the batter into the pan, alternating between chocolate and peanut butter. Fill the cupcake liners almost completely full with batter.

6Place the pan in the middle of the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7Allow the cupcakes to cool for about 3 minutes in the pan, then move them to a cooling rack.

8Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before adding the frosting.

Chocolate Ganache

1Put chocolate chips in a large heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat heavy cream until steaming and bubbles form around the edge. Pour over chocolate and let sit 5 minutes. Then whisk until completely melted and combined.

Frosting

1With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 2 full minutes.

2Add up to 1/2 cup more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick.

3Cover tightly and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw in the refrigerator then beat the frosting for a few seconds so it's creamy again.

4Decoration: Pinch off a piece of orange fondant and shape into a triangle for a nose. Ice cupcakes. Start by adding whopper candy as the head. Attach formed fondant nose to whopper candy with frosting. Next add the eyeballs on to the whopper candy and finish decorating off with adding the turkey body using a lollipop with the stick removed.

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12 Comments

  • Tessa
    2 months ago

    I’m so making those turkeys with the littles – they look for any opportunity to go to Dylan’s Candy Bar. Super cute.

  • Kendall
    2 months ago

    I love how darn cute these babies are! It’s a perfect way for us vegans to get our turkey in ;D

  • 2 months ago

    Such a fun recipe. Love the combination of chocolate and pumpkin together. Great Fall baking project.

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      2 months ago

      Stephanie, I appreciate the combo compliment.

  • What a brilliant idea for Thanksgiving. So cute. Perfect for children and delicious for adults too.

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      2 months ago

      Thanks Helen. They are a great combo.

  • 2 months ago

    These cupcakes are so cute! Plus the flavor combination and different ways to make them sound so good.

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      2 months ago

      Sharon, I appreciate the compliment.

  • 2 months ago

    These are sooo cute!!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      2 months ago

      Thanks Karly – I think they are adorable too!

  • 2 months ago

    Adorable! And so fun for kids and adults alike.

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      2 months ago

      Thanks Lorna! Hard to believe that Thanksgiving came and went!

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