Pumpkin Pie Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes (+ salted caramel cream cheese frosting and chocolate ganache)

Go big or go home.

I live in Texas now, so I can adopt that motto, right?

Lately, something’s changed. I need complications in my life. The thought of baking a tray of Toll House chocolate chip cookies or a pan of plain chocolate brownies bores me. (Maybe you can sense this from my experimentation with pancake flavors like tarte tatin, peanut butter carrot and cornbread…) This is not a good thing, since those are what I find myself craving most often (aka, right now. I could really go for a cookie).

On the other hand…what excites me are Momofuku creations. Four or six recipes within one cake recipe! Yes please! Cookies that use three separate recipes and four ingredients that I’ve never heard of? Sign me up! (Forget the calories! The extra effort exerted makes up for the extra shortening, butter and corn syrup, right?)

But sadly, I can’t Momofuku creations all day. And if I blogged about them every week, you’d probably kill me. But, um, I managed to create another creation that also has four components! And is super tasty.

Does this cupcake look unassuming? Crack it open.

Ohhhh yeah. Pumpkin pie-stuffed chocolate cupcakes. Topped with salted caramel cream cheese frosting and chocolate ganache. (In case you missed the title.)

I’ll be straight with you–it was meant to just be topped with the salted caramel frosting. Unfortunately, I have a history with runny cream cheese frosting and it seems I still haven’t learned my lesson. The secret to cream cheese frosting is to use perfectly room temperature ingredients, both cream cheese and butter. In this instance, my cream cheese was the perfect temperature…but I forgot to set out the butter. So I tried to warm it up quick over the still-warm stove, but it ended up being too runny, rendering my frosting more of a glaze than a pipe-able frosting. So Laura sadly puddled it over the cupcakes for me while I whipped up a ganache to pipe on top instead.

So pumpkin pie-stuffed chocolate cupcakes might not sound like the most natural pairing and I’ll admit that they are a little odd. But in the best way possible. Once you delve past the thick and incredibly rich chocolate ganache, through the silky, caramel-y-sweet-salty-tangy cream cheese frosting and the impossibly dewy chocolate cake, you’ll run right into a pocket of pudding-like pumpkin pie filling. Uh yes, I would like to eat my pumpkin pie like this for the rest of my life. Encased in chocolate cake. Thank you.

How about you? Sometimes I feel like I’m crazy, with this longing for XTREME ELABORATE DESSERTS! But do you feel the same? Or are you happy knocking out those delicious, tried-and-true recipes in the kitchen?



This chocolate cake is extremely delicate–they almost squished when I tried to fill them with pumpkin. To avoid this, I would recommend chilling or even freezing the cupcakes before trying to stuff them.

These cupcakes are not especially high-domed, but don’t be tempted to overfill the cupcake tins or add more baking powder like I did. They’ll have a slight dome when baked, but when I tried to compensate with the above tricks, they only sunk in the middle slightly. Phooey.

I made a triple batch of these cupcakes (yes, they were for other people), and still had a ton of pumpkin pie filling and chocolate ganache leftover. Whatever will you do with those leftovers? πŸ™‚ Fair warning.

Pumpkin Pie-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate Ganache

Make the pie filling first, and let cool for at least two hours, or overnight in the fridge. While pie is cooling, make the ganache, then the cupcakes and the cream cheese frosting while the ganache chills.

To assemble the cupcakes, take one cooled chocolate cupcake and carve out a cone shaped portion out of the top with a butter knife. Cut off the point end of the cone so that you have a little cake “lid” to place over your filling (warning: this part can get messy and crumbly). Plop about 1/2 tablespoon of pumpkin pie filling in the hollow you just made and place the cake lid on top. (If you have no idea what I’m saying, Annie’s Eats has a great tutorial.)

Spread with cream cheese frosting and finish with a piped swirl of ganache. I use a Williams-Sonoma’s frosting applicator similar to this and I would highly recommend getting a similar type of frosting applicator if you want pretty, professional-ish looking cupcakes! You can use disposable decorating bags (with tips), but saving the environment is cooler, right?

Pumpkin Pie Filling
From The Cupcake Project

Yield: 1 9″ crust-less pie (or enough to fill at least 3 batches of cupcakes)

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice, if you prefer)
2 large eggs
15 ounces canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
12 ounces evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 425 F.

  1. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Stir in sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. Mix in pumpkin, then add evaporated milk.
  3. Pour into 9″ pie plate or any other baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake for another 40-50 minutes (depends on the size of your pan), until a toothpick comes out dry.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool for two hours before use. Before using, use an electric mixer to beat the filling to evenly distribute the moisture or stir by hand.

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup heavy cream (can take this down to 3/4 cup if you want extra-thick ganache)
1 cup chocolate chips (or better quality chocolate, chopped)

Heat the heavy cream until boiling, either in the microwave (about a minute or two) or on medium-high over a stovetop. Pour in the chocolate chips and let sit for a minute. Then stir until smooth. After a minute, the mixture should start to look glossy. If there are still a few lumps, that’s good! Keep stirring until the lumps have melted and mixture is completely smooth.

If the mixture starts to look grainy and dry, that’s not good. Stick it in the microwave for another 15 seconds, then try stirring again. Be careful not to scorch the chocolate in the microwave, so err on the side of smaller microwaving increments.

You can either drizzle this over the top of your cupcakes or pipe, as I did. To pipe, refrigerate the ganache for at least 45 minutes, or until thoroughly chilled. It should be super thick and no longer remotely pour-able. Use an electric mixer to beat chilled ganache to a fluffier, looser consistency. Add to a frosting applicator and pipe away to your heart’s desire.

For more instructions on ganache, check this out.

Chocolate Cupcakes
From Handle the Heat

Yield: 12-15 cupcakes (mine made closer to 13, but the original recipe said it makes 18-20!)

1 scant cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
7 tablespoons cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup milk (I used almond breeze)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

Sift the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and beat on medium speed with a stand or hand mixer for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir until just combined. Do not over mix. Batter will be extremely runny.

Fill each cupcake liner two-thirds full with cake batter. Bake until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin pans to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely before frosting.

Salted Cream Cheese Frosting

The reason my frosting failed is probably because I didn’t really use a recipe. I based it loosely off of one I can’t even remember–a 1:1 ratio of room-temperature cream cheese and butter (around 6 tablespoons), and then as much caramel as I thought tasted good (maybe 1/2 cup), a sprinkle of salt, and around 3 cups of powdered sugar until I realized adding more sugar was not going to help the runniness.

If you don’t want to try your hand at my vague directions (why ever not?!), I suggest using something like this.

Phew! I had one tired cupcake after all of that!

Cupcake faceplant.

58 responses to “Pumpkin Pie Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes (+ salted caramel cream cheese frosting and chocolate ganache)

  1. Pingback: Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers | The Pancake Princess and the Protein Prince·

  2. This looks amazing! LOVE the salted cream cheese…and the pumpkin…and the chocolate…can you send me one of these air mail?
    Great pics, too πŸ™‚

    • Haha…for sure!! Are you participating in the great cookie blogger swap by any chance? Wouldn’t it be funny if we got matched? I proooobably will not be sending cupcakes (ha) but I am so excited to FINALLY mail someone baked goods! (I never have before!)

      Oh man just clicked on your blog and it looks familiar…probably because I stalked it after seeing your name also on Christina of SmallKitchenChronicles’ award list! I ❀ your Monday Coffee Breaks πŸ™‚

    • Haha definitely true! Even half of one was super satisfying! But I also definitely stood at my fridge eating the pumpkin pie filling out of the container with a spoon afterwards…haha. Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

  3. WHAT?! Pumpkin pie stuffed chocolate cupcakes?! I had to re-read that title. Looks AMAZING. You have a lot of patience girl… those look perfect!

    • Lol thanks Melissa! I know the title was sooo long…but it really did have all those things, I couldn’t leave em out!

      And thanks. It was a fun project πŸ™‚

      • Oh yes it needs to be a long title.. I just had to re-read it because it there were just too many amazing things happening at once… brain overload πŸ™‚

  4. Pingback: Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies | The Pancake Princess and the Protein Prince·

    • Haha that would be great! Or lickable screens? Maybe not…

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! I’m looking forward to learning more about Zen and Genki!

    • Are you really?? Not a Houstonian Texan are you? I love your blog and just figured out yesterday how to comment on it (before I was having trouble leaving comments for some reason!) Anyway, thanks πŸ™‚

    • Really?? SWEET! Maybe I’ll just indulge all my fantasies for a week and do a week of Momofuku posts–now that I know I’d have at least one enthusiastic reader! πŸ™‚

    • Yes I do πŸ™‚ And I love them!!!! Ahh going to read about your cinnamon scones now. They look so great!! And thanks for the comment–I was so excited to see your name pop up! πŸ™‚

  5. These are gorgeous – GORGEOUS!!! And yes, I often have the urge to bake wild, over-the-top, multi-step baked goods. The sad thing is that I just haven’t had the time to do more than make one-bowl goodies. For now, I’ll just live vicariously through you and drool over your masterful creations. Thanks for the tips too – very helpful for when I do eventually have a full day to make these πŸ˜‰

    • Haha yay I’m glad you feel the same way πŸ™‚ I hope you do end up having a day to try making these or some other elaborate creation!

    • Haha thank you!! I was trying to photograph the inside of the cupcake and while I was adjusting my camera, the cupcake literally slumped over as if it was too tired to hold itself up. Poor thing–exhausted by the photoshoot! πŸ™‚

  6. I absolutely love these!! Love the pumpkin filling and chocolate! I love your blog and recipes so much!

  7. These pictures are stunning! Like, lick the screen stunning. I also get bored with the usual baking suspects sometimes, which usually just means I’ll make something fancy and take it somewhere else. Cause really all I ever want is a good old fashioned chewy chocolate chip cookie. Ah the trials of a food blogger. πŸ˜‰ Also wanted to let you know I responded to your question about the apple dumplings. The full answer is on the site, but suffice it to say, I think apple cider sounds wonderful! Thanks for stopping by Bake. Eat. Repeat!

    • Thank you!! Haha, I so feel you. Now I’m REALLY craving a chocolate chip cookie!

      And cool, thank you! You are awesome and I love your recipes πŸ™‚

  8. These are stunning! Absolutely Gor-Gious πŸ™‚
    I Need chocolate cupcakes now! And you’ve have inspired me to use pumpkin in cake πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Kiran!! I would LOVE to see your take on pumpkin in cake–I’m sure it would be absolutely stunning! And delicious, of course πŸ™‚

  9. I completely know what you mean about not wanting to bake boring things like chocolate chip cookies or plain brownies. I’m so excited this recipe turned out for you, even with the cream cheese frosting mishap! The next recipe I’ll be posting is a blondie with three components. It’s got a very long name too, but hey, as long as it tastes good who cares?

    • Oooh I’m excited to see your blondie!!! Yup, I’m totally in your camp of taste over appearance/name πŸ™‚ We should start an #insaneamountofcomponentsWednesdays πŸ™‚

      • Awww you’re so sweet, thank you so much πŸ™‚ I can relate! I over do it sometimes with sugar..it’s like a drug that is hard to control….Halloween is in a week …oh boy!!!! lol

    • Lol thanks Bam! But seriously. I have the same problem (snacking at night). Perhaps it would help if I put the five gallon carton of ice cream away right?

  10. oh… my… gosh… you have quite literally outdone yourself. These look beyond AMAZING. I’m so impressed – Hands down, my favorite post of yours!! I’m definitely pinning this and can’t wait to try the whole post from top to bottom when I have a lazy Saturday πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Leah! You are always so nice! I hope they turn out awesome for you if you make them!! (a lazy Saturday sounds like the best time ever to make them :))

  11. Wow. Just wow. I bake almost on a daily basis so they often end up being relatively straightforward, tried and tested recipes. But then I do have days where I just want to go all out. You certainly did here. These look incredible. More than incredible. I feel like I need to make more of an effort now iv seen these!! Amazing photography too. X

    • Do you really bake on an almost daily basis?? That makes me feel so much better about how often I bake! (i often feel like it’s excessive. Kind of like these cupcakes.) Hey, as long as you like what you’re baking, I think you should put in how ever much effort you feel like! There are certainly days when I’m tempted to just…buy a cookie. Horror!

      And thank youu πŸ™‚

      • sadly yes I do! it is a great way for me to relax and unwind after a day at work. I do love that you push the boat out more though. I will be tryimg some more diffcult recipes soon seeing as you have motivated me! I might have to leave it until the weekends though when I get a little more time!

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