Recipe // Pumpkin Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache + Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello, my name is Abby Barstow and I am about to change your life. With cupcakes.

These are the


 pumpkin cupcakes topped with

the best possible

 pairings for pumpkin. Seriously, dark chocolate and cream cheese frosting topped with cinnamon, it doesn't get better than that. The pumpkin cupcakes are made using my

pumpkin bundt cake recipe

. I just


 the way that cake turned out. The cake is delicious, light and fluffy, and full of flavor and made



I'm not going to lie. I've been watching a lot of Cupcake Wars reruns on Netflix. That's where I got the idea to not just top a cupcake with frosting but also with a rich chocolatey ganache. And I am so happy with the results. And I know you will be too. Thank you, Cupcake Wars.

Get ready to wow your friends and family this perfect Thanksgiving season treat.

Oh, and don't let the idea of a ganache scare you into skipping that step. Making ganache is super, super easy, it only takes two ingredients, and it makes this cupcake wonderfully unique.


 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes          

Prep Time:

 1 hour          

Bake Time:

 20 minutes          

Total Time:

 1 hour 20 minutes



2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp salt

pinch of ground cloves

1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree


8oz dark chocolate chips

1 cup heavy whipping cream


16 ounces cream cheese

(two 8oz blocks)

2 cups butter, room temperature

2 tsp vanilla

8 cups powdered sugar

3 Tbsp milk 

2 tsp cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350° and line muffin tins.

2. Prepare the cupcake ingredients according to the directions from the

Pumpkin Bundt Cake recipe

. Fill each muffin tin about 1/2-3/4 full and bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes outs clean. Once cupcakes are cool enough to touch, pull out of the tins and let cool on wire cooling racks.

3. While the cupcakes cool, prepare the cream cheese frosting. First, place the butter into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until butter is smooth and creamy. Add in cream cheese and continue to beat until combined and creamy. Switch the paddle attachment to a whisk and add in vanilla and mix again. Add in half the powdered sugar and do short bursts with the whisk so that powdered sugar does not fly everywhere and mix until just incorporated. It will not mix correctly until all of the ingredients are added, right now you just want each ingredient to be semi-incorporated so that it does not fly around with each addition. Add in the other half of the sugar and do more quick bursts with the whisk attachment until just combined. Add in cinnamon and do the same. Add in milk and mix until the frosting has become creamy and light. Add more powdered sugar or milk if you do not have a consistency that you are happy with.

4. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, prepare the ganache. Place the chocolate chips in a mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream to a simmer, stirring occassionally. As soon as it starts to simmer remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips, being sure to cover all of the chips (if not all of the chips are covered, swirl the bowl until all are covered). Then, place a lid over the mixing bowl to trap the heat and let sit, without touching, for 5 minutes. After five minutes, whisk, starting in the very center, and slowly the ganache will form. Continue to whisk until the ganache looks velvety. Now, let sit, uncovered, at room temperature, for at least fifteen minutes. The ganache is ready for use once it leaves a nice covering when a spoon is dipped in.

5. Frost the cupcakes. Dip just the tops of the cooled cupcakes into the fresh ganache. Sort of swirl the tops very slowly and gently in the ganache. You don't want to cover the entire surface with ganache because while it sets it will run and continue to cover the rest of the top. Let the ganache set for at least fifteen minutes. It will set faster in the fridge if you are in a hurry.

6. Scoop the cream cheese frosting into a piping bag and swirl the frosting on top of the ganache as seen in the photos above. Keep the cupcakes in a cool area, preferably the fridge until ready to serve. Just before serving, top with a sprinkling of cinnamon. 

*I only frosted one dozen and I froze the rest. To freeze, wrap


 cupcakes in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer bag. Freeze up to one month and then frost with fresh ganache and cream cheese frosting.

**You will have extra cream cheese frosting. But it's best to have too much cream cheese frosting than too little, am I right? Basically, there's more for snacking.