These Ultimate Cheesecake Stuffed Halloween Cupcakes are one of my favorite Halloween recipes. The decadently rich chocolate cupcakes are topped with chocolate ganache frosting and have a pumpkin shaped cheesecake hiding inside.
In my last post, I promised you I’d share a surprising way to use the Mini Cheesecake Pumpkins that I made using silicone molds. Did you have any idea I would stuff these creamy little bites of Halloween goodness into a cupcake? I just know you are going to love these Ultimate Cheesecake Stuffed Halloween Cupcakes.
What’s not to love?
Each cupcake is rich and chocolatey and has a cheesecake pumpkin inside.
As soon as I popped the tiny cheesecakes out of the pumpkin molds, their size and shape made me think of all the Halloween reveal cupcakes I’ve seen on Pinterest lately. You know the ones where you cut open the cupcake to find a ghost, bat, or a pumpkin hiding inside.
All of those Halloween cupcakes are created by making a cake, cutting it into slices, then cutting it into the shape of a ghost, bat, or pumpkin. Then those shapes are arranged in a cupcake tin and cake batter is poured around the them. Once baked, the shape inside remains intact and surprising also remains moist and tender.
I wondered if my small pumpkin shaped cheesecakes would fare as well. To my delight they did.
After waiting for my cupcakes to bake and cool, I finally got to cut into one, and I got a little giddy when I saw that the pumpkin still looked like a pumpkin. The texture of the cheesecake was still creamy and smooth. At that point I was so happy that I decided to go all out and use Cooks Illustrated’s Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake recipe, because something so pretty surely needed to taste just as wonderful.
The recipe calls for stuffing chocolate ganache inside the most amazingly chocolatey cupcake, but I wanted to put a cheesecake inside instead, so I decided to put the ganache on top in a big heaping swirl. This is a seriously decadent cupcake.
If you don’t like incredibly rich desserts, walk away now, forgetting what you’ve seen here. But, if you are like me and you can’t get enough of rich, creamy, chocolatey, desserts, then go into your kitchen and give these a try. You’ll definitely thank me for it.
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes Stuffed Halloween Cupcakes(makes 11)
Cupcakes: recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
3 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ounce (1/3 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup hot coffee*
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup (4 1/8 ounce) bread flour**
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
*These cupcakes will not taste like coffee, I promise. If they did, I wouldn’t like them. It just intensifies the chocolate flavor.
**Definitely use bread flour. If you use all purpose flour, the cupcakes won’t hold together as well. You need the extra gluten in the bread flour to keep the structure of the cupcake.
ganache frosting and decorations:
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
optional: Halloween sprinkles or candy
22 Halloween cupcake wrappers
2 large pastry bags
optional: food processor
large star pastry tip
Note: if you bake the cupcakes in two liners instead of one, the inside liner will protect the outer liner from getting dark so you’ll actually be able to see the design. Plus the outside liner will have conformed to the shape of the cupcake. It looks great.
Make Mini Cheesecake Pumpkins (click here for recipe) and keep them frozen until needed. When you paint in the green filling, be sure to fill the entire stem area, so that when you cut into the cupcakes you have a nice pumpkin shape.
Make cupcake batter. Pour finely chopped chocolate and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl. Add hot coffee and stir until chocolate melts. Place in the refrigerator to cool for about 20 minutes.
Once cooled, whisk in oil, eggs, white vinegar, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. Add it to the chocolate bowl and whisk until smooth.
Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan. Pour a thin layer of batter into each of the cupcake liners.
Remove the Mini Cheesecake Pumpkins from the freezer. Un-mold them, and stick 2 cheesecakes together (put their backsides together) then place them in the center of each cupcake liner.
NOTE: It is very important that you know which way your cheesecake pumpkins are facing. Later when you cut into a cupcake to reveal the pumpkin, you want to cut across the front not the side.
Fill the cupcake liners up over the cheesecake pumpkins. I felt it was easiest to put my batter in a large disposable pastry bag and pipe it into the cups. Once all the cups are filled allow them to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. While you are waiting, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes until they are set around the edges and puffed in the middle. As the cupcakes cool, they will sink a bit in the center. Allow them to cool completely.Meanwhile, make the chocolate ganache frosting.
Place chopped chocolate in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until chocolate is fine crumbs.
Heat heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir often until it just comes to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, put lid on the food processor bowl, and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Pulse for 3 seconds. Remove lid and scrape down the sides and bottom of the food processor bowl. Return lid and pulse for 5 more seconds or until the mixture, which is called ganache, is smooth. Dont’ over-mix your ganache or it will turn grainy as it sets up.
Note: A food processor makes easy work of creating a chocolate ganache. If you don’t have one, finely chop your chocolate and put it in a microwave safe mixing bowl. Boil cream as above and pour over chocolate and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Use a whisk to create an emulsion.
Begin by stirring just in the center of the bowl, then slowly bring the whisk out to the edge of the bowl. Stir just until combined and the ganache is smooth. If you have chunks of chocolate remaining, place entire bowl in microwave and heat on high for 10 seconds. Stir until melted.
Pour ganache into a mixing bowl and chill in the refirgerator for 15 minutes, then remove and stir. Refrigerate for 15 more minutes. Then use an electric mixer to beat the ganache until it’s lighter in color (left photo.) The frosting will not hold stiff peaks at this point, it should fall off the beaters. Allow it to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, but no more. Beat for 5 more seconds and it should now hold stiff peaks (right photo.)
Immediately spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe big swirls over cooled cupcakes. This frosting is rather stiff and will actually harden slightly much like a chocolate truffle. You can easily bite into it and it has an intense chocolate flavor, but it is not soft like a butter cream style frosting.
Decorate with Halloween sprinkles or candy, if desired. I found it helpful to just sprinkle the front side of each cupcake. That way when I went to cut into them, I knew which direction the pumpkin would be facing.Keep cupcakes stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving so that the ganache frosting and the cheesecake are smooth and creamy and will melt in your mouth.
When you cut into them, use a sharp knife to cut across the front of the cupcake about 1/4th of the way into the cupcake for the best results.
These pumpkin stuffed cupcakes would also make a wonderful Thanksgiving dessert. Just decorated them with fall colored sprinkles or candies instead.
Be sure to check out all the Halloween recipes here on Hungry Happenings.
Items used to create this project that are available on Amazon.com (commission earned for sales)
A few more Halloween recipes from Hungry Happenings.