A Match Made in Fall Flavor Heaven: Pumpkin & Gingerbread

chocolate gingerbread cupcake pumpkin cream cheese frosting fall flavors cupcake recipe Trader Joe's

Last Halloween, my husband and I hosted a themed dinner party, with a menu full of rich foods like aged french mimolette cheese, lemon-mascarpone stuffed dates wrapped in prociutto, and lacquered short ribs.  For dessert, I wanted to finish with something a bit lighter and more refreshing, and opted for gingerbread cookie ice cream sandwiches, filled with smooth and delectable Dreyer’s Pumpkin Ice Cream. This year, since the pumpkin-gingerbread combo was so delightful, I’ve scoured my cookbooks and favorite websites to put together this gingerbread cupcake with pumpkin cream cheese frosting.

This recipe is not for the faint of heart – the flavors in this cupcake are strong and decadent.  If you prefer something a bit more mild in terms of molasses, or maybe you’re a busy mom and want something a little easier, try Trader Joe’s boxed Gingerbread Mix and top with the same pumpkin cream cheese frosting.  Most of these ingredients were purchased at Trader Joe’s, which makes for nice, one-stop shopping! Enjoy!

chocolate gingerbread cupcake pumpkin cream cheese frosting fall flavors cupcake recipe Trader Joe's

Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes (a combination recipe adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts and Martha Stewart’s Cookies):

makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c unsulphured molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 TB freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 c unbleached flour
  • 1 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c boiling water
  • about 6 oz dark chocolate, cut into 1/4 inch chunks

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cocoa powder.
    chocolate gingerbread cupcake pumpkin cream cheese frosting fall flavors cupcake recipe Trader Joe's
  3. In an electric mixer, beat pumpkin puree, sugar and fresh ginger until well incorporated.  Add molasses and egg and beat until smooth.
  4. In a separate cup, dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water.
  5. Add half of flour mixture to mixer, mixing just until combined. Beat in baking soda mixture, then finish with the other half of the flour mixture. Stir in chocolate pieces.
    chocolate gingerbread cupcake pumpkin cream cheese frosting fall flavors cupcake recipe Trader Joe's
  6. Use scoop to portion batter into cupcake liners.  Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating once, until the cupcakes are slightly springy to the touch.  Cool for 3 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack.

Note: the original Moosewood recipe calls for 1/4 c of butter, which I completely omitted and substituted canned pumpkin for in an attempt at a slightly healthier version.  You don’t miss the butter at all, and the canned pumpkin really keeps things moist.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cold
  • 5 TB Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter
  • 1 TB softened butter
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (measure, then sift into bowl)

Directions:

  1. Have the cream cheese cold. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, pumpkin butter, and regular butter until blended. Add sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat just until smooth and the desired consistency. If frosting is too stiff, beat for few seconds longer. Do not overbeat.
    chocolate gingerbread cupcake pumpkin cream cheese frosting fall flavors cupcake recipe Trader Joe's
  2. To finish, use a piping bag to frost cupcakes.

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