Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes and Dark Chocolate Ganache {Recipe}

Back when I started this blog in February of 2009, I had set out to share my love of sweet treats with the world as a serious foodie. Yet, to my disappointment (boo hoo, Rhi) not only am I an extremely messy baker who makes far too many careless mistakes in the kitchen, but just one thought of something even remotely fattening or sugary and it’s instant weight gain for this girl. Within a few months of my baking and blogging escapades, I was struggling to get my jeans over my buns; literally. Thank heavens the wedding world came charging full steam ahead into my life, just in time to snap me outta my sugar coma.

While I’ve lost my spark in the kitchen, and hardly have the time or patience these days to Betty Crocker it up, every now and then I get a craving for the most perfectly prepared kinds of treats. And these cupcakes, whipped up by yours truly two fall seasons ago in 2009, are absolutely divine. They fit the mould perfectly for heavenly goodness! I am a huge fan of rich, chocolate ganache whipped into a fluffy frosting, and paired together with moist, spicy pumpkin cake, it’ll be tough not to eat more than one of these incredible cupcakes. Make em tonight for a little snack time. And send me a few too, pretty please?

{Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes}
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice
4 large eggs
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree

{Chocolate Ganache}
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup whole milk or whipping cream
1 tbsp vanilla if needed for sweetness

For the cupcakes, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and in a large bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powders, salt and spices. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine your sugars, eggs, melted butter and pumpkin puree until mixed well. Combine both mixtures together and if you find it hard to get the batter consistently combined, feel free to mix on low speed with your electric mixture just until smooth. Divide evenly among your lined cupcake wells, about 3/4 of the way full. If you love the brown liners I use (I can’t get enough of these) check these out. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. I found 20 minutes was a minute or two too long as I love when my cupcakes are slightly undercooked.

For the ganache, place your chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl. In a saucepan, heat your cream over low heat until small bubbles start to form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for a few minutes. Stir the chocolate consistently until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Add the butter and continue to stir until the butter is completely melted. In a small bowl whisk together your milk (or cream) with the powdered sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt for a less sweet taste. This mixture will be thick and sticky. Add in a bit of vanilla for more sweetness and then combine with the chocolate mixture until perfectly smooth. Keep in the fridge for about 20 minutes until firm and then beat with a mixer to make fluffy. Pipe or frost as desired and cover cupcakes at room temperature. Serve within two days for best taste! Enjoy, bloggies xoxo