Chocolate-Pumpkin Cupcakes w/ Pumpkin Swiss Meringue Buttercream


Today, we are celebrating my husband, Ben’s birthday!  What better reason than to make cupcakes!


I won’t turn this post into a long, mushy, confess my deepest feelings for my husband sort of post. I do however, want to take a minute to tell you, that not only is Ben my best friend, my teammate, the absolute love of my life, etc., my list is endless, but he has been the biggest supporter in the creation of this blog. Ben is the most patient person I know. I just want to express, how grateful I am to him, and for all of his help and support with getting this blog up and running. He has encouraged me to get my voice out there, which has turned my inspiration switch on to a whole new level. So Ben, if you are reading this, thank you for everything my love!

For this recipe, I did not do a lineup of ingredients, as you may have seen I’ve done in previous posts. The cake itself calls for so many ingredients, that I figure you would get the list in the recipe list of ingredients down below anyway. I eventually want to keep the posts consistent in appearance, so you can come here and know what to expect, but for now, while I am finding my groove, you might see different styles of blog posts.

chocolate7In a large bowl, beat the sour cream, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract until well combined.

chocolate3Add the pumpkin and sugars to the same bowl and stir until combined.

chocolate5Stir in flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until combined. The batter will be VERY thick. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full of batter, bake 20-22 minutes.

chocolate2Real life. I swear I must use every spatula, spoon, measuring cup I own every time! I secretly love these kind of messes 😉

chocolate9Let cool in muffin tin about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. While cupcakes are cooling, is a good time to prepare your buttercream!

chocolate4When buttercream is ready (see directions below), pipe onto your cupcakes however you like! I used a medium-large round piping tip, but you can use any tip, as Swiss meringue buttercream is a very piping-friendly frosting as I like to call it. Meaning it holds it’s shape very well. You can also snip the corner of a ziplock bag to achieve a similar look as the round tip.

chocolate8The buttercream…. ooooh the buttercream! Might be one of my new favorite flavors!

chocolate13Time to celebrate! Let’s light those candles and party! Happy birthday my amazing husband! I love you!

Chocolate-Pumpkin Cupcakes w/ Pumpkin Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Makes 16-18 cupcakes



1/2 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup pumpkin puree (such as Libby’s canned pumpkin)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder (not dutch processed) – I used Ghirardelli Natural Unsweetened Cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


5 egg whites

1 & 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 & 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), almost room temp but still slightly cool

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice bakery emulsion

pinch of salt

*It is important to have a candy thermometer on hand when making this buttercream to ensure your egg whites reach an edible/safe temperature.



  • Preheat oven to 350° and put 16-18 cupcake liners in muffin tins.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla with an electric mixer on low until combined.
  • In same bowl, stir in pumpkin, granulated sugar and brown sugar until combined.
  • Stir in flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until well combined.
  • Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full of batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let cool in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack until completely cool.


  • Cut your butter into cubes, set aside.
  • Make a double boiler with either a heat safe bowl or a stand mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add egg whites and granulated sugar, whisking constantly but gently, until sugar has completely dissolved and your candy thermometer reaches between 150° and 160°.
  • With the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the meringue on high speed for about ten minutes until the meringue is thick and glossy. The bottom of the bowl should feel neutral, not warm. If your meringue is ready, but the bowl feels a bit warm still, place your bowl of meringue in the freezer for about 2 minutes.
  • With the paddle attachment, and mixer on low speed, add the butter cubes one at a time until incorporated. Once all the butter cubes are added, mix on medium speed until you have achieved a silky, smooth texture. If you see curdles, don’t panic, just keep mixing until it looks smooth.
  • On low speed, add vanilla extract, pumpkin spice emulsion, salt, then the pumpkin puree and continue beating on low speed until well combined.
  • Fill your piping bag with your choice of piping tip and pipe those cupcakes!


Cake recipe adapted from Picky Palate

Vanilla-Pumpkin Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting


Last fall, I made these Vanilla-Pumpkin Cupcakes just because, and then did the usual taste test of course! I immediately thought, oh man, if I don’t get these out of my house, I will sit here and eat every single one! I wouldn’t really, but the temptation was there! I ended up taking these cupcakes over to our local coffee shop to share them with our favorite Baristas, and oh my goodness, were they a hit!

I knew these would become an annual “must make” recipe, and here they are a year later! This time these went to work with my husband. I only ate one, or two…

These cupcakes are so moist, and the vanilla-pumpkin ratio is very complimenting. Then you add the cinnamon cream cheese frosting on top, oh my! These will not disappoint you, I promise!

This recipe starts with a “doctored up” cake mix. What I mean by that is, other ingredients aside from what the box cake calls for, is added to the cake mix, to make it more moist, dense, and homemade/from scratch tasting.

vanilla-pumpkin bakeforcoffee.comThe line up of ingredients.

vanilla pumpkin cupcakes bakeforcoffee.comWhisk together the cake mix and spices.

vanilla10In the same bowl, add the pumpkin, sour cream, vegetable oil, and eggs. Mix on low until combined, then beat with electric mixer for about two minutes. After all of the ingredients are combined, lean your nose to the bowl and inhale. You won’t regret it!

vanilla12Fill your cupcake liners and pop your pan in the oven! Bake about 20 minutes.

vanilla13Let cupcakes cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. This is a great time to make your frosting. When cupcakes are completely cool, pipe the frosting onto them however you like.



Vanilla-Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting



1 box French Vanilla cake mix

1 & 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1 (15oz.) can pumpkin

1 (8oz.) container sour cream

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs


8 oz. cream cheese at room temp.

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temp.

3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

1-2 Tablespoons milk


-Preheat oven to 350°. Line 22 cupcake pans with liners.

-Whisk together the cake mix and the spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves)

-Add remaining ingredients (pumpkin, sour cream, vegetable oil and eggs). Mix on low until combined, then beat with an electric mixer on medium about two minutes.

-Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

-Let cool for ten minutes in pan, then place cupcakes on a cooling rack until completely cool.

-To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter until combined, about 4 minutes on medium speed or medium-high speed.

-Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. adding more when completely combined. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.

-Beat in the vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon. Add milk until you’ve reached desired consistensy.

-Fill piping bag with frosting and pipe however you like! I used a Wilton 1M tip.

-Sprinkle with sanding sugar.


Cake recipe from Bake at 350

Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits

photo 1

For the past year or so, I have been making changes to live a much healthier lifestyle. I know, I know, TOTALLY contradicts what my site is all about, but I love to bake! And life is about balance right? So, you might sometimes see recipes on here that include ingredient substitutions. Example: “Light” or “low fat” in place of full fat ingredients, Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, coconut oil in place of vegetable oil, low fat cream cheese in place of regular cream cheese, TruWhip in place of CoolWhip, etc.

With that being said, I changed this recipe from a full fat to a low-fat version. You can find the original, more natural and better portioned recipe here.

What I like about this recipe, is that it’s not overly sweet, it’s light, yet rich in flavor. You can control the layers of fluffy goodness and the portions. This can also be dangerous, being I doubled the recipe, made two generous parfaits, and let’s just say that was dinner for Ben and I. Hey… I didn’t say finding balance was easy!  😉

This is a great, quick no-bake recipe you can whip up within 15 minutes.

photo1The line up of ingredients. Now if I was real good, I would have used low-fat graham crackers.

image2Crush up the graham crackers in a food processor and set aside. OR… if you’re having a bad day, put the graham crackers in a ziplock bag, and pound them on the counter with your fist or a rolling pin 😉

photoaBeat the cream cheese until smooth with an electric mixer. It is important that the cream cheese has time to soften on the counter prior to beating it. You do not want any chunks, so it needs to be very soft to achieve the creamy and smooth texture.

image3Add the pumpkin, vanilla, brown sugar, and spices to the bowl with the cream cheese. Beat until combined and creamy.

photo pUsing a spatula, fold in 1-1/4 cups (10oz.) of the whipped topping until no more streaks appear. I used CoolWhip Lite. Make sure the CoolWhip is thawed and not frozen prior to mixing. You do not want frozen chunks in your creamy mixture.

image6image5image4Build your layers! You can put your pumpkin mixture in a ziplock bag, snip a hole in the corner, and pipe it in your dish, or use a round piping tip with piping bag. I started the parfait with a good amount of graham crackers, then CoolWhip, then the pumpkin mixture. Repeat. Build your layers however you like!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfait - bakeforcoffee.comPlace in refrigerator about an hour to chill. THEN… dinner is served! No but really, had I portioned this a little better, it would have been dessert for the next three nights. Now all I have are pictures to remember it by.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfait-1 - bakeforcoffee.comEnjoy! And remember, it’s all about balance.


6 whole graham crackers

8 oz. 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened

1 cup pure pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 Tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

16 oz. light whipped topping (I used CoolWhip Lite)


-Crush graham crackers in a food processor, set aside.

-In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.

-Add pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, dark brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg and cinnamon to the bowl with the cream cheese. Beat until combined and creamy.

-Using a spatula, fold 1-1/4 cups (10 oz.) of the whipped topping into the pumpkin mixture until no streaks appear.

-Place the pumpkin mixture in a piping bag with large round tip, or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off.

-Pipe your layers in whatever order you choose, in the dishes of your choice.

-Place in refrigerator to cool until ready to serve. I would give it about an hour.

Serve chilled. Enjoy!

*Makes 2-1/2 – 3 measuring cups.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

I am a list maker. I write lists for everything, everyday. My Fall baking list is so long, it’s overwhelming. I have looked at this list every day since I made it two weeks ago, and have not baked a single thing on it because I just don’t know where to start! Kinda the story of my life ha!

So I decided to kick off my Fall baking with an easy, quick recipe. Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts!

The line up of ingredients.

Combine the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking powder into bowl. Beat until smooth.

Add the flour, stir just until smooth.

Fill the wells of the doughnut pan about 3/4 full. Bake doughnuts 15-18 minutes.

Stir cinnamon and sugar together.

After doughnuts have been removed from oven, let cool about 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack. While doughnuts are still warm, coat in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

There you have it… quick and easy “first pumpkin of the season” recipe! Crossed off the list!

Enjoy, and HAPPY FALL!

Recipe – makes 12 doughnuts

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 plus 2 TBS all-purpose flour

Cinnamon-Sugar Coating:
5 TBS granulated sugar
1 1/2 – 2 tsp cinnamon

-Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans.

-Beat together vegetable oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking powder until smooth.

-Add the flour and stir until just smooth.

-Fill the wells of the doughnut pans about 3/4 full. Use scant 1/4 cup batter in each well.

-Bake the doughnuts for 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Mine took exactly 15 minutes.

-Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl. Set aside.

-Remove doughnuts from oven. After about 5 minutes, loosen edges and transfer to a cooling rack.

-While the doughnuts are still warm, gently coat entire doughnut in the cinnamon-sugar coating.

Recipe from: King Arthur Flour