Monday, 25 November 2013

Spiced Pumpkin and Chocolate Cupcakes

I am inordinately proud of these squidgy little mounds for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the taste - they're intensely chocolatey and lightly spiced which makes them perfect for this time of year. Secondly, the texture - you think they're going to be quite dense but actually these are celestially light and wonderfully moist. Thirdly, they last really well, indeed they taste even better the day after baking. Finally, they're a cinch to make. Last year I made a chocolate and pumpkin full size cake but made everything from scratch, including the pumpkin puree. Luckily, since then, I've been able to find tinned pumpkin puree in the local supermarket and it not only makes the whole thing so much easier, I actually think it's better because it's not so watery.

Contrary to expectation, I also feel that these little cakes can almost be classed as healthy. That wasn't my intention but as taste has definitely not been compromised, I look on it as an added bonus. There's no butter at all and only a scant amount of sunflower oil. There's a fair bit of sugar I know but come on, these are cakes after all.

In the Italian tradition, these little cakes (or muffins I suppose) are ideal for breakfast and as they're easy to eat (no icing to contend with), perfect for 'breakfast to go', this month's Breakfast Club Challenge, hosted by Utterly Scrummy Food for Families, created by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours.

As these are baked and vegetarian, I'm also entering them into Bake Fest, hosted by Cooks Joy.


They're also off to Family Foodie Challenge, created by Lou at Eat Your Veg and hosted by Vanesther at Bangers and Mash where the theme is lunchbox ideas. I think these would be perfect.


95g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
half a teaspoon bicarb of soda
half a teaspoon ground cinnamon
half a teaspoon ground ginger
a pinch of salt
125 ml sunflower oil
2 large eggs
210g pumpkin puree (half a can)
100g granulated sugar
90g light brown sugar

12-bun muffin tin lined with 12 cupcake or muffin papers

 Pre-heat the oven to 180°C

Start by sifting the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb of soda, salt and spices into a bowl.

In another bowl, whisk together all the other ingredients (oil, eggs, pumpkin and sugar). Gently fold in the flour mixture until combined. 

Scoop the mixture in to the cases, filling each case as equally as possible (I use an ice cream scoop for this).

Put in the oven and bake for about 20-25 mins or until a cake tester comes out clean. 

Remove from the oven. Take the cakes out of the tin as soon as you can and leave to cool on a wire rack.


  1. Wow - these look fantastic on so many levels! Great taste, great texture, last well and easy to make - all that and they're good for you too! My kids are so going to love me when I make them a batch of these for their lunchboxes. A brilliant entry for this month's Family Foodies challenge. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Thanks - I was really pleased with these and they would definitely enhance any lunchbox!

  2. They look delicious!
    I'm a fan of tinned pumpkin purée and stocked up on a few tins of it recently. I'm always on the lookout for new ways to use it and these look like an absolute must!
    (Especially as my OH recently announced that the only cake he really likes is chocolate or ginger.)
    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. It's the first time I've used it but it certainly won't be the last - what great stuff!

  3. These sound delicious Katharine and I really like the look of the texture - squidgy but light sounds perfect. Will have to see if I can find tinned pumpkin puree as none of our winter squashes came through this year.

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    1. I have just revisited this post and the recipe....had totally forgotten about it. I feel a baking session coming on