I don’t usually bake a lot of cupcakes. Frosting and decorations take time and since no one in my family really likes all the glazes, frostings, etc, it really makes me lazy about putting in the extra effort. But for the holidays I try to do at least one decorated dessert.
So here they are, my Halloween cupcakes. Pumpkin cupcakes with a chocolate ganache filling and topped with chocolate ganache frosting and ghost meringues.
These little ghost toppers caused much amusement in my house. I got the idea here. It was an interesting sight to see them all lined up on a baking sheet. I like that they taste like marshmallows. I actually debated and tried a few versions before settling on the meringues. First I tried a whipped cream frosting, but they just didn’t look right to me. I thought about a swiss meringue buttercream frosting which I think has the consistency I was aiming for, but that would require creating two frostings. In the end I chose the meringues because I thought these meringues would be more sturdy and fun to eat.
The cupcakes are very light and moist which is what I was going for. I’ve baked a lot of pumpkin muffin/bread recipes which I adore, but they have a much firmer and denser texture. The chocolate ganache in the middle is a nice surprise.
Pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate ganache filling and topped with meringue ghosts
Yield: 12 cupcakes
For the filling and frosting:
8 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
For the meringue:
1/2 cup powder sugar
2 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
mini chocolate chips for eyes
For the cupcakes:
3/4 cup of sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
1. First make the chocolate ganache. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil and then pour over a bowl with the chopped chocolates. Mix and stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Place in fridge to chill until ganache is firm enough for piping, about 1 hour.
2. Next, make the meringues. Preheat oven to 200F. In a clean mixing bowl, whip egg whites at high speed until foamy. Add in the cream of tartar and sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. You should be able to turn the mixing bowl upside down without your egg whites falling out. Using a piping bag, pipe ghosts onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use mini chocolate chips, insert two to form eyes for each ghost. Bake for about 1 hour until meringues dry out and are firm.
3. To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F. Combine the sugar, oil, pumpkin and eggs in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix on high speed for about 5 minutes until batter is smooth and no clumps of flour remain.
3. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Spoon batter in each cupcake liner until about 1/2 full. Using the 1/2 tbsp measuring spoon, scoop out about 1/2 tbsp of firm chocolate ganache and drop in the middle of each cupcake. Spoon more batter into each cupcake liner so that the ganache is covered and cupcake liners are about 2/3 full.
4. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes or until tops are firm and a toorthpick inserted on the side comes out clean. If you insert it where the ganache is, only melted ganache should cling to the toothpick and not uncooked batter crumbs.
5. After cupcakes have completely cooled, pipe a layer of chocolate ganache frosting with the remaining ganache. Place a meringue ghost in the center of each cupcake.