I know it’s January and pumpkin desserts were so last fall, but I think I get a pass because these vegan caramel filled pumpkin cupcakes are so good they’re really the best dessert for any season. The cake stays light and moist from the pumpkin, while this amazing, thick dark chocolate ganache adds a little decadence that we’re all craving this time of year. The best part of these vegan cupcakes is definitely the salted caramel filling. You get a delicious gooey surprise when you bite into one! Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you, these cupcakes aren’t a super simple recipe, but none of the steps are particularly difficult— they’re actually a lot of fun to make!
The best vegan chocolate ganache
The one in this recipe is my all time favorite chocolate ganache. It’s just so thick and smooth and creamy. If there’s any extra I definitely recommend saving because this stuff is pure gold. I modified the recipe from Minimalist Baker, the only changes being the addition of dark cocoa powder for some extra richness and a few tweaks to the method. She recommends refrigerating the frosting before adding the powdered sugar for 1-2 hours, but I’ve found that 20 minutes in the freezer works just fine. Because this ganache recipe calls for semisweet chocolate, which is solid at room temperature, there’s no need to refrigerate it before frosting the cupcakes. I’ve found that it actually becomes too hard and difficult to work with after refrigeration.
Since this recipe has a lot of steps, I recommend doing it in this order:
- Make the cupcakes
- While the cupcakes cool, make the caramel
- Make the ganache right before you’re ready to fill/frost
- Fill and frost the cupcakes
How to fill the vegan caramel filled cupcakes
This is my favorite part of the whole process. You got all your ingredients ready, the cupcakes and caramel have cooled, now you just need to fill them! I don’t have a cupcake corer, so I like to use a small pairing knife instead. For each cupcake, just cut in a circle at a slight angle and remove the cone from the center. To make more room for the caramel, you can use your finger to gently widen the sides, shaping the cavity into more of a cylinder shape. Trim off about 1 inch from the part you removed so it’s easier to put back into place. Drop a couple tablespoons of caramel into the hole, press the tops back into place and you’re done!
How to store the cupcakes
After they’ve been filled and frosted, the easiest way to store these is in an air tight container in the refrigerator. You may want to let them come to room temperature before eating so the frosting and caramel can soften. In the fridge, they’ll keep for around 5 days or so. Without the filling and frosting, the pumpkin cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container the freeze for up to three months. Just make sure you let them cool completely before freezing.
Want more cupcakes? Try these:
- Vegan banana Sunbutter cupcakes w/ chocolate ganache
- Vegan cookie dough cupcakes
- Vegan chocolate chip pumpkin muffins (not technically cupcakes but still good)
Vegan Pumpkin Caramel Filled Cupcakes with Chocolate GanacheCourse: Dessert, VeganDifficulty: Moderate
Decadent, vegan pumpkin cupcakes filled with gooey salted caramel and topped with a rich chocolate ganache, these cupcakes are the perfect treat for any time of the year!
- For the cupcakes
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dairy free milk
1/4 cup olive oil or vegan butter
2 tbsp apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
- For the vegan caramel sauce
1/2 cup vegan butter (such as earth balance)
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tbsp coconut cream
1 tsp salt
- For the chocolate ganache
1 1/4 cup dairy free semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup dairy free milk
1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
- For the cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a muffin tin with wrappers
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
- In another mixing bowl, beat together pumpkin purée, sugar, milk, oil, apple sauce and vanilla extract.
- Fold the wet into the dry, mixing just enough to combine. Using a cookie scoop or measuring cup fill wrapper about 3/4 of the way.
- Bake for 22-26 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting and filling.
- For the caramel sauce
- In a small sauce pan, melt the vegan butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, salt and coconut cream.
- Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
- Allow to cool completely before filling the cupcakes.
- For the chocolate ganache
- In a large mixing bowl, microwave the milk for one minute. Immediately add the chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted and has homogenized.
- Whisk in the melted butter until the mixture is silky and smooth. Place in the refrigerator to thicken for at least one hour or the freezer for around 20-30 minutes.
- Remove from the fridge/freezer and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer (this can also be done in the same bowl with a hand mixer). Sift in the powdered sugar, a 1/2 cup at a time. Add in the cocoa powder and beat again until light and fluffy.
- If the frosting isn’t thick enough add more powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. If it’s too thick, add a tbsp or two of milk.
- To assemble the cupcakes
- Use a pairing knife to cut on an angle to remove a cone out of each cupcake (don’t eat them!). Use your fingers to gently press the sides to make more room for the filling.
- Spoon about 1-2 tbsp of caramel sauce into each and gently press the tops back into place. You may need to cut them down a bit so the caramel doesn’t squelch out.
- Frost with the chocolate ganache and serve!
Made this recipe? Tag @wandering_chickpea on Instagram!