These chocolate cupcakes from Hungry Happenings are rich and delicious with an intense chocolate ganache frosting. They are even better with a surprise miniature Cheesecake Pumpkins stuffed in the middle. The orange pumpkin really sets off the dark chocolate cupcake and the cheesecake, well, we all know cheesecake and chocolate are made for each other.
Chocolate Cupcakes Stuffed with Cheesecake Pumpkins
22 Mini Cheesecake Pumpkins (recipe below)
3 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ounce (1/3 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup hot coffee*
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup (4 1/8 ounce) bread flour**
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
*These cupcakes will not taste like coffee; it just intensifies the chocolate flavor.
**Definitely use bread flour. If you use all purpose flour, the cupcakes won’t hold together as well. You need the extra gluten in the bread flour to keep the structure of the cupcake.
ganache frosting and decorations:
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Halloween sprinkles or candy
22 Halloween cupcake wrappers
2 large pastry bags
TIP: if you bake the cupcakes in two liners instead of one, the inside liner will protect the outer liner from getting dark so you’ll actually be able to see the design. Plus the outside liner will have conformed to the shape of the cupcake. It looks great.
Make Mini Cheesecake Pumpkins (recipe below) and keep them frozen until needed. When you paint in the green filling, be sure to fill the entire stem area, so that when you cut into the cupcakes you have a nice pumpkin shape.
Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes until they are set around the edges and puffed in the middle. As the cupcakes cool, they will sink a bit in the center. Allow them to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the chocolate ganache frosting.
Pour ganache into a mixing bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, then remove and stir. Refrigerate for 15 more minutes. Then use an electric mixer to beat the ganache until it’s lighter in color. The frosting will not hold stiff peaks at this point, it should fall off the beaters. Allow it to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, but no more. Beat for 5 more seconds and it should now hold stiff peaks
Immediately spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe big swirls over cooled cupcakes. This frosting is rather stiff and will actually harden slightly much like a chocolate truffle. You can easily bite into it and it has an intense chocolate flavor, but it is not soft like a butter cream style frosting.
Decorate with Halloween sprinkles or candy, if desired. I found it helpful to just sprinkle the front side of each cupcake. That way when I went to cut into them, I knew which direction the pumpkin would be facing. Keep cupcakes stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving so that the ganache frosting and the cheesecake are smooth and creamy and will melt in your mouth.
Mini Cheesecake Pumpkins
butter, to coat the inside of your pumpkin molds
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
orange and green food coloring – you can use natural food coloring, if you prefer
food processor, optional
2 Wilton Mini Pumpkin Molds with 24 cavities in each
2 baking sheets
food use only paint brush
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter the cavities in your pumpkin molds.
Combine cream cheese, sugar, heavy whipping cream, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor, pulse until smooth.
Alternatively, mix cream cheese and sugar together until well blended. Add whipping cream, eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Remove about 2 tablespoons of filling and color it green. Color the remaining filling using orange food coloring.
Paint the green filling into the stems of 40 cavities. The filling is pretty thick and should stay in place nicely, but just to be safe, pop these filled molds into the freezer for 5 minutes before filling with the orange cheesecake.
Set silicone pumpkin mold on a baking sheet. Fill the pumpkins with orange cheesecake filling. Leave a small amount of room in each mold for the filling to expand while baking (about a 16th of an inch.)
Bake 12-14 mins until the tops look set but the cheesecake pumpkins are still jiggly. Allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature, then place in the freezer for at least 1 hour. You can, at this point, wrap the mold well and store them in the freezer for up to several weeks
Remove the molds from the freezer, turn the mold upside down and press the pumpkin cheesecakes out. I set mine on a non-stick baking mat just to be sure they wouldn’t stick later once they thawed.