aprons | brown sugar | chocolate | cupcakes | decorations | frosting | halloween | pumpkin | recipe | vanilla

Jessie Steele (inspired) pumpkin cupcakes!

October 17, 2008

Part 2: See this post (part 1) for explanation.

Too lazy to go back and read that? Have ADD? Need a quick explanation? *sigh* Okay:

So for Halloween this year (my favorite holiday in case you live under a rock and didn’t know), the wonderful Jay bought me a little present: the Jessie Steele pumpkin cupcakes apron (and matching oven mitt)! I got it a week or so ago but I had to wait to post it. Yes, I’ve been lusting after it for a while and I finally have it. Yes, he’s very thoughtful for buying it for me. And yes, there’s a reason I’m telling you all this. Upon giving it to me he told me when I posted about it (because he knows me all too well and knew I’d blog about it right away), I had to post cupcakes as well. And those cupcakes had to match the ones in the apron. Hence, me waiting to post it. But I cheated, because I was very excited, and wanted to tell everyone! So stay tuned this week for … *drum roll* Jessie Steele pumpkin-cupcakes!

Cupcakes to match my apron? Easy peasy, Jay! It was obvious to me (and probably anyone else who has full use of their vision) that the little cupcakes pictured on the apron were chocolate, with vanilla frosting, and mellowcreme pumpkins on top. But it seemed a bit boring just to do that. And I am nothing if not the opposite of boring, dammit!

So I decided to really make them pumpkin cupcakes, yet keep the chocolate too. Chocolate enhances the flavor of pumpkin,  yet makes it more subtle, so it’s not in-your-face like pumpkin pie. And they both work amazingly well with cinnamon, which would be another excellent frosting option. Of course, I could’ve used cream cheese frosting on these, but I’m not really a big fan of it to be honest. I opted for regular buttercream. But if you enjoy cream cheese frosting (or cinnamon buttercream, or cinnamon cream cheese frosting for that matter) by all means- use it. It’s great with the chocolate/pumpkin combo. Maple would probably work pretty good too, or even chocolate. But again, I had to make cupcakes that matched the apron. That Jay. Thinkin’ he got me stumped. HA!

So anyway… here we are- Jessie Steele pumpkin cupcakes… also known as…



  • 1 ½ cups cake flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain lowfat yogurt
  • 1 ¾ cups canned pumpkin (15 oz. can)
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups lightly-packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 bag mellowcreme pumpkins (optional, for decoration purposes)


  1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt together; set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together the yogurt, pumpkin, vinegar, and vanilla extract, set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, and using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Alternately beat in the flour and pumpkin mixtures in thirds (for example, beat in 1/3 flour mixture followed by 1/3 pumpkin mixture and repeat until everything is combined). Fold in the mini chocolate chips.
  4. Working quickly, spoon batter into cupcake cups, filling each about ¾ full. Place cupcake pans in the center of the preheated 350° degree oven and bake approximately 25 minutes. Cupcakes are done when they spring back when lightly touched or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool pans on wire racks for 10 minutes then remove cupcakes from pans and let cool completely on the wire racks.
  5. While cupcakes are cooling, prepare frosting (recipe follows). When cupcakes are completely cool, pipe on frosting, then decorate with mellowcreme pumpkins.



  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • food coloring (optional)


  1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla.
  2. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar.
  4. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or frozen for a few weeks.
.(And yes, that is a matching oven mitt on my cut-off hand in that picture… I’m no Annie Leibovitz, what can I say? It’s hard to take good self-portraits!)

This is one muthalovin’ good cupcake recipe. Forreals. The pumpkin is so barely-there, its a great pumpkin cupcake recipe for people who don’t like pumpkin. Like me. Heh. And since pumpkin is a squash, I can enter these in the latest Cupcake Hero challenge! Ya see, what did I say before? Two birds, one stone.

So there you go! Jessie Steele pumpkin cupcakes that match my apron. Which really would only appeal to you in a passionate way if you have the same apron. Which isn’t to say you can’t make these without that apron-  thats not true. You can and I encourage you to. I’m babbling. Sorry. *cough* Moving right along…

And try not to be jealous of my new haircut/color. I know, I know, I’m unbelieveably chic and cool and have great skin and terrific eyebrows… *yawn* tell me somethin’ I don’t know. *pauses* Kidding. Really. I’m a kidder. Please -don’t think I’m that kind of person. Although apparently I am the kind of person who wears bright red lipstick (this one in case you like it that much) with an apron. I’m a living, breathing Vargas girl it seems.

Anyway- there ya go, Jay. Just as you requested. Cupcakes that match my apron. 🙂

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