Pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes with molasses cream cheese frosting

I love Halloween. We get one day a year to be whatever it is we wanna be, no holds barred. For this glorious holiday, I usually love to go all out with homemade costumes. But I also love thinking and cracking up about the silly memories I’ve had of Halloween throughout my life.

I’ve been a Native American, Cleopatra, a gypsy, a half leopard/mouse/cat thing, a flower pot, a hippie, Snow White, a cop (college), Lucille Ball, and a treasure troll, to name a few. What an assortment. I used to go Trick or Treating religiously and still wish it was socially acceptable for a 26 year old to knock on people’s doors and beg for candy.

This year, a group of friends and I decided to go to Salem, Massachusetts. We painted our faces like crazy calavera skeletons and wandered around Salem. It was so cool! I never in my life expected to be there. Before going, we ate delicious pumpkin stew cooked in pumpkins and had these cupcakes for dessert.

They were a hit. These cupcakes are moist, full of spices, and (the best part) so easy to prepare. I made the executive decision to add molasses to the frosting and that was a positive thing as well. We all know I’m a sucker for some molasses, especially if it’s paired with chocolate and cream cheese.

Today I will not be doing anything Halloween-ish, unfortunately, because my day is packed with school related endeavors. But that’s okay, it will give me some time to prepare for the years ahead. Which, I hope, will consist of dressing up in clever costumes and being the oldest kid on the block holding a plastic pumpkin purse thing who rings the doorbell and says those three infamous little words.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts (absolutely amazing cookbook)

Makes 12 cupcakes


For Cupcakes

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1/2 canned pure pumpkin

1/3 canola or vegetable oil

1/4 cup buttermilk

2/3 cup mini chocolate chips (you can also use a mix of nuts and/or dried fruit)

Candy corn, for decoration, optional

For Frosting

(I doubled this recipe because I love extra frosting, but it was a little too much)

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature

2 oz (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons molasses


Make Cupcakes

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with paper liners or grease it well with spray, butter, or shortening. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt together in a medium bowl.

Whisk the egg in another large bowl, then whisk in pumpkin, oil, and buttermilk. Stir in the flour mixture until it’s just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon batter evenly into the muffin tin. Bake the cupcakes until golden brown around the edges and a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from pan, and transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to ¬†cool completely.

Make Frosting

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until light, then beat in sugar, vanilla, and molasses. Pipe or spread frosting over cupcakes. Decorate with candy corn if you wish.


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