Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting - Mondomulia

Lately, my Pinterest feeds have been invaded by pumpkin-related recipes: soups, curries, pies, cupcakes…it doesn’t stop! I noticed that here in UK or in US (unlike Italy) pumpkins and squashes are a very traditional autumn vegetable, used in savoury and sweet dishes. As far as I know and experienced at home in Italy, pumpkins (zucche) are used mainly in soups, pasta and risotto, so the idea of using pumpkin in baking got me very curious and I decided to give it try over the weekend.

Here are my Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting: an official welcome to the autumn season.

All the recipes I found required canned pumpkin puree; not just any type, specifically Libby’s Pumpkin Puree. While searching for this product online, I stumbled upon a recipe for Pumpkin and Cinnamon Cupcakes by Maison Cupcake.

In her blog, Sarah explains that pumpkin puree can be found in London in selected branches of Waitrose (or online at Ocado) only in this time of the year, ie. in the leading up to Halloween. Unfortunately my local Waitrose didn’t have it and a trip to Wholefoods in Clapham also proved unsuccessful. I finally found Libby’s pumpkin puree in a different branch of Waitrose, for only £1.36 a can (450g).

I used Maison Cupcake recipe to bake Pumpkin Cupcakes last Friday evening. I prefer to take photos of my recipes in day light, so I waited until the next morning to make the frosting and decorate the cakes. The cupcakes looked so pretty without the frosting, and smelled so good, that we couldn’t resist having one for breakfast! ;) After tasting the cake, me and my husband agreed that it would pair well with chocolate, so I made a last minute decision to replace the cinnamon buttercream of the original recipe with a chocolate frosting.

The end result was good, although the chocolate was covering up too much of the pumpkin taste. Also, I found that the pumpkin puree makes the cakes very moist and thick, so in my opinion it doesn’t work well for cupcakes, which should be soft and airy. Perhaps this recipe would work better to make a cake, with crushed nuts to add texture and served with a mascarpone cream to enhance the pumpkin flavours! :) Nonetheless, these cupcakes tasted very nice and made for a nice treat to have over the weekend.


Makes around 18 small cupcakes.

* 110g unsalted butter, softened
* 240g soft light brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* 75g canned pumpkin puree
* 125g self-raising flour, sifted
* 120g plain flour, sifted
* 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp ground ginger
* 110ml milk
* juice of half lemon

For the frosting

* 85g unsalted butter, softened
* 400g icing sugar
* 40ml milk (additional milk if required)
* 25g unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 tsp vanilla extract


Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a muffin tray with cupcake paper cases.

Using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree until combined. Add ground cinnamon and ginger.

In a small jug, stir the lemon juice into the milk (for the cake mix).

Sift one-third of the flour over the cake batter and stir until combined. Add half of the lemon juice/milk mixture. Add another third of the flour, then the second half of the lemon juice/milk and finally the last third of the flour.

Spoon the mixture into the cases, filling them to two-thirds full. If using full size muffin cases, bake for 25 minutes; for smaller cases, bake for around 18 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave the cupcakes to cool down in the tray, before transferring them to a wire rack.

To make the chocolate frosting, cream together the butter and cocoa powder. Add half of the icing sugar and mix until well incorporated. Add the milk and vanilla, beat until well mixed and then add the remaining sugar. Add extra milk if required.

When the cupcakes have cool down completely, decorate them with chocolate frosting, using a piping bag.

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8 Comments on "Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting"


[…] was desperately looking for canned pumpkin puree a few weeks ago, when I made these pumpkin cupcakes. Several people told me to buy a pumpkin and make the puree myself, but I thought it would be a […]

28th October 2012

[…] was desperately looking for canned pumpkin puree a few weeks ago, when I made these pumpkin cupcakes. Several people told me to buy a pumpkin and make the puree myself, but I thought it would be a […]

Maria Cristina
15th October 2012

Puoi usare la purea di zucca rimasta per fare un sacco di cose: oltre alla pasta e al risotto che già conosci, puoi pensare ad una lasagna al forno oppure ad una torta rustica, una torta dolce con gli amaretti o, semplicamente, un purè come quello di patate!! Quale ti solletica di più?

15th October 2012

Una bella minestra alla zucca, fatta per cena stasera! :)

Maria Cristina
16th October 2012

Insomma, nessuna delle mie suggestions!!! Io sono molto incuriosita dalla lasagna: se tu riuscissi a trovare quelle fresche e pronte di Giovanni Rana, un mezzo litro di besciamella e un bel po’ di parmigiano, sarebbe fatta!!!!!

15th October 2012

I’m feeling the need to make something pumpkin-y too – so many lovely looking recipes out there. Shame that these didn’t turn out exactly as you wanted, but they look lovely!

Sam Revel (@yoursamrevel)
15th October 2012

After my very unsuccessful attempts to find Pumpkin puree I’ll be driving the 15 miles to the nearest Waitrose in hope of getting some for Pumpkin Pie!

15th October 2012

Can you share your Pumpkin Pie recipe please? I have 3/4 of pumpkin puree can left and need ideas to use it up!



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