Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dirt-Cheap Self-Filling Pumpkin Cupcakes

Waaaaay back in August, when I reviewed The Frugal Foodie Cookbook: Waste-Not Recipes for the Wise Cook, I said that I planned to try the recipe for Dirt-Cheap Self-Filling Cupcakes as soon as the weather was cooler. Well, it is ... and I did.

Since I was in the mood for fall baking--and because Lisa had announced her Fall Fruits Festival--I decided to try the pumpkin variation first.

These cupcakes are moist and tender, and the cream cheese filling bakes into a creamy center. With the chocolate chips in the filling, the flavor is like a combination of pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and dark chocolate. My family liked these a lot. The only hard part was waiting for them to cool completely. They taste good warm, but were even better at room temperature.

Special thanks to author Lara Starr for graciously granting me permission to share this recipe with you! If you get the book, you'll also get the recipes for the chocolate and gingerbread versions of these cupcakes. :)

Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (homemade [cooked] or canned)

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 cup flour

  • 1 recipe Cream Cheese Filling (see below)

  • 12 fluted paper muffin cups

Preheat oven to 350F.

Insert muffin cups in a muffin tin and set aside.

In a bowl, mix the oil, milk, egg, and pumpkin puree. In another bowl, mix the sugar, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour.

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Top each cupcake with 1-2 tablespoons of the cream cheese filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool before serving.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 egg

  • pinch of salt

  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Cream the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.

Add sugar, egg, and salt and mix thoroughly.

Stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon.

(Never mind my old, stained cupcake pan. I think I've had this for about 20 years!)

This is what it looked like before baking. I expected that they would overflow the papers during baking, but the overflow wasn't major. Still, being the overly analytical type that I am (and having the rest of the can of pumpkin in the refrigerator), I decided to try again the next day. This time I used a bit less filling on each cupcake:

And here they are after baking:

I couldn't waste the "leftover" filling (is there such a thing as leftover cheesecake?). I broke a graham cracker to fit the bottom of a ramekin, added the filling, and baked it with the cupcakes. I probably overbaked it--it's very firm--but it still tastes yummy.

I used "1/3 Less Fat" cream cheese, which may be why the centers sank. I'm not a cheesecake expert, but it seems feasible.

As I mentioned, we liked these more when they were completely cooled. I wouldn't want to keep them around for more than a day or two without refrigeration; the moist filling might not keep well. But if your family is like mine, well, you won't have to worry about that!

I'm linking this to the Fall Season Recipe Round-Up at The Krazy Kitchen!


  1. Wow this book looks really interesting. Would like to see the Stone Soup recipe!

  2. Oh Melissa, those look REALLY good. In my book...if it's got cream cheese in it...it's just gotta be good! :)

  3. Oh wow!! These look great! I love how the filling just cooks right in! And chocolate chips - how can you go wrong - LOL? Super YUM! Thanks for sharing it!

  4. WOW!!! I love the cream cheese in this recipe. YUMMY!!! YUM!!!

  5. Love the combination of ingredients! I'm going to have to give these a try! Yummy!

  6. Glad you linked these - such a fabulous recipe! And I do love the addition of the chocolate chips. I think I'd like to try it with mini choc chips for cuteness.

  7. amy guillaume lindermanOctober 24, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    mmmmm takes me right back to a favorite recipe of my grandmother's! i am going to try this at thanksgiving!

  8. This Dirt-Cheap Self-Filling Pumpkin Cupcakes looks like great recipe. I going to make it with my kids kids this eek. Thanks.

  9. What a great recipe! I'm going to give it a try.


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