Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pistachio-Pumpkin-Chocolate Halloween Cupcakes

This year I decided to do somewhat crazy cupcakes for Halloween! I made three cupcake batters - pistachio, pumpkin, and chocolate - and then combined two flavors in each cupcake. So, there were three options for folks: pistachio-chocolate, pumpkin-pistachio, and chocolate-pumpkin. Each flavor was really yummy on its own, and the combinations were very tasty as well. This was a fun idea and looked really cute.

The pistachio batter was delicate and nutty, although it exploded more than a little bit when baked! Luckily, cream cheese frosting covers all flaws. The pumpkin batter was perfectly pumpkin-y, with a perfect light touch of pumpkin pie spice. Finally, the chocolate batter is an old standby of mine from Martha Stewart, which always comes out perfectly. I used gel food coloring to pump up the colors, although of course you could leave these natural as well. The recipe made quite a bit more than anticipated - I thought I was using three recipes for 12 cupcakes, which should have made 36, right? Yet somehow there was a lot more batter than that...not that I'm complaining! The cupcakes were enjoyed by our guests and all got eaten up! Yum.

Halloween Cupcakes (adapted from Sally's Smorsels and Martha Stewart)
Makes 36 cupcakes, 24 minis, and 1 8-inch round cake (eek!)

Pumpkin Dough
½ cup oil
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin
Orange gel food coloring

Stir the oil and sugar together. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Mix well. Add the pumpkin.

Pistachio Dough
1 cup de-shelled pistachios
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
¾ cup butter, softened
3 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup milk
Green gel food coloring, to your color liking

Place the pistachios in a blender, pulse until fine. (It does not need to be ultra fine, texture is good.) Add to the pumpkin pie spice, flour, baking powder, and baking soda; mix together.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure each is fully mixed before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Alternatively add the pistachio mixture and the milk, until all of the pistachio mixture and milk has been added. Add the green food coloring. Mix on low just until combined.

Chocolate Dough
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 c + 2 T Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 c sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 heaping tsp baking powder
1/2 heaping tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 c +2 T milk
1/4 c plus 1 T vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c warm water
Black gel food coloring

Put the dry ingredients into a big bowl (flours, cocoa, sugar, soda, b. powder, salt). Whisk together, then add the eggs and yolk, milk, oil, vanilla, and water. Beat with electric mixer on low speed until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.

Making the Cupcakes
Line muffin tins with paper liners. Spoon 2 flavors into each muffin cup, and then swirl gently with a toothpick or knife.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely, and then frost with cream cheese frosting.
Here's a photo of me with all my housemates in our costumes - we all dressed up as characters from the Wizard of Oz! I'm Glinda in the pink dress. Some of our guests joined in the theme too: we had the Wicked Witch of the East, William Jennings Bryant, and the Man Behind the Curtain!


  1. Hi. What a great idea to combine that flavors! I wanted also to make some special cupcakes for Halloween but I found only few recipes on the internet for classical cupcakes with some special Halloween decoration. So, I decided to make chocolate cupcakes with skeletons. Fortunately, everybody liked them. Next time I'll try your recipe. Thanks for sharing it.

    Good luck,

  2. What a great combination of flavors! Looks like it was a really fun party too!

  3. Gorgeous sounding cupcakes! And I love everyone's outfits too! :D

  4. Cute costumes and what a great dessert!