Halloween and Chocochip Pumpkin Cupcakes

That time of the year when adults turn into kids, dressing up in crazy crazy costumes. Though the festival has its origins elsewhere, it is celebrated with as much enthusiasm as any other festival in India. For me, though, it was just another weekend. I didn’t head out to any Halloween parties. Just a normal evening with friends. I did want to bake something Halloweeny for them. So I planned to bake “Mummy” Chocochip Pumpkin Cupcakes.
But Halloween had different plans for me. After carefully making everything ready (even the batter for the cupcakes) guess what happened?

Power Cut!!
Power Cut!!

I was just about to place the moulds into the oven to bake them! Now when things like this happen, any normal person would lose their cool, and that was precisely what happened to me! I refused to look past the the power cut, at the fact that, had the power failed after I’d placed the cupcake moulds in the oven, they’d have ruined for sure. After a few deep breaths, I realised I’d to act quick in order to save the batter. Without further delay, I put the prepared batter into the refrigerator! (Reason- once baking powder/soda comes in contact with water, they react and you have to bake them ASAP. else your cakes will taste bitter!). Even without electricity, my fridge was a safe place for the batter.

The power failed at 12.30 pm. Every other minute I was eagerly waiting for it to be restored. The minutes turned to hours! I’d given up the entire idea. I was supposed to take the cupcakes over to my friends’. I called them up and told them it is not happening. Guess they detected the emotions in my tone! They didn’t pry as to the ‘why’ and the ‘what’!! 😀 I had a movie to catch that eve. Till 4.30 pm, there was no sign of the power being restored and I was ready to head out for the evening! Just when I had made peace with the fact that there would be no cakes for the eve, look who decided to show up! Electricity or Power or call it whatever you please!! Time to get the cakes baked real fast!!

Here is the recipe for Chocochip Pumpkin Cupcakes (adapted sparsely from Joy of Baking)-

Pumpkin Puree:

In Indian, you do not have to worry about getting good fresh pumpkins. They are available all year round. Halloween without pumpkins is like Diwali without lights. So, though the actual recipe that I referred to called for canned pumpkin puree, I went on to prepare my own puree from fresh pumpkins! Not a very difficult task, I tell you. Here’s how to go about it-

For a cup of pumpkin puree-

  • Take 350 gm fresh pumpkin
  • Cut them into long strips, and place them, cut-side down on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake them at 180°C for 45 mins to an hour (depending on the size of your strips).
  • You will know they are done when a wonderful fragrance wafts from the oven!
  • But the best way to check them is to see if they are easy to cut with a knife.
  • Once they have cooled, deseed them, and also remove the stringy parts.
  • Then grind them to a fine puree.You’ll have to drain away excess liquid so that you have a thick paste.
  • You can do so by passing the puree through a sieve lined with muslin cloth.
  • Your pumpkin puree is now ready!

Pumpkin Chocochip Cupcakes-

Silicone moulds are a thing of beauty! And you know, a thing of beauty is a joy forever! And these moulds are really a joy to work with. No more messy post-baking cleaning! I have used silicone moulds for normal cakes, but this is the first time that I am using them for baking cupcakes. They come in delightful bright colours and are priced at nominal rates. Do get them if you don’t have them already.

Ingredients (For 12 cupcakes) –

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup ground oats
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda½ tsp salt

Method-

  • Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  • Line the silicone moulds/muffin tray with cupcake liners.
  • Alternately, you can just butter them.
  • Mix together the wet ingredients (pumpkin puree, eggs, buttermilk, and oil) in a bowl and set aside.
  • In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients (wheat flour, powdered oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt). It is better to sift them together to avoid the formation of any lumps.
  • Now, slowly add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just combined.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips. Take care not to over mix. Your cupcakes will get go tough on you then!
  • Scoop in two spoonsful of batter into the prepared moulds.
  • Bake for about 18 -20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool them before frosting them.
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cupcakes!!
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cupcakes!!

Frosting-

Now, I never got to this part.. 😦 There was simply no time left. I had everything for the frosting ready. But then with electricity playing a truant, getting it ready was not possible. Here’s the recipe for a simple buttercream frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted, powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

Method-

  • In the bowl beat the butter until smooth. with a hand mixer.
  • Then beat in the vanilla extract.Then, beat in the sugar on low speed.
  • Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  • Add about 1 tablespoon of the cream and beat to combine.
  • Then, on high speed, beat frosting until it is light and fluffy.
  • Add more cream or confectioners sugar if necessary to get the right piping consistency.

Once the cupcakes are cooled down to room temperature, you can create your Mummy faces on them.

  • Fill a piping bag with the prepared frosting, and use a basketweave nozzle to make the bandages of the mummy. You can do so by drawing horizontal lines.
  • For the eyes, leave a small strip uncovered. Pipe two small circles in that gap and top them with a chocolate chip apiece. The mummies are now ready!!

This is a very healthy and lite cupcake. What with pumpkin and wheat and oats and vegetable oil, you’ll not feel guilty digging into one.. or two.. 😉 The chocochips are a forgivable addition.. 😛 Happy Halloween guys!! 🙂 🙂

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