Delight in the cozy flavors of autumn with this easy-to-make pumpkin cupcake recipe. The sweetness of the pumpkin puree melds beautifully with warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, creating a dessert that's as pleasing to the palate as it is to the eye.
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Easy From Scratch Pumpkin Cupcakes
Pumpkin cupcakes are a delightful treat that truly encapsulate the essence of fall in every bite. These delectable little cakes are made with a base of rich pumpkin puree, which lends them not only their distinctive pumpkin flavor but also a satisfyingly moist crumb. The addition of warm autumnal spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg enhances the pumpkin flavor and fills the air with a comforting, familiar scent as the cupcakes bake.
The pumpkin puree also gives the cupcakes a beautiful orange hue, reminiscent of the vibrant fall foliage. It's this combination of taste, texture, and color that makes pumpkin cupcakes so enticing, evoking cozy images of fall festivals, pumpkin patches, and leaves crunching underfoot.
But it's not just the cupcakes themselves that make this dessert so irresistible. It's also the topping – a generous swirl of cream cheese frosting. The tangy creaminess of this frosting perfectly balances the sweet, spiced base, adding another layer of flavor and a luxurious, velvety texture. The frosting can be piped on in a simple swirl or an intricate design for extra visual appeal.
Overall, pumpkin cupcakes are not just a dessert – they're a celebration of all the things that make fall so special. Whether served at a Halloween party, a Thanksgiving feast, or simply enjoyed with a cup of hot apple cider on a crisp autumn evening, they're sure to bring a touch of warmth and sweetness to any occasion.
How to Make Pumpkin Cupcakes
To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
For the cupcakes:
- 1 2?3 cups All-purpose Flour: This is the foundation of the cupcakes, providing the necessary structure. Gluten proteins in the flour give the cupcakes their crumb texture and help them rise in the oven.
- 1 1?2 cups Granulated Sugar: The sugar adds sweetness and also plays a role in the browning and caramelization of the cupcakes when baked.
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda: This is a leavening agent that helps the cupcakes rise and become fluffy. It reacts with the acidic ingredients (like pumpkin puree) in the recipe to produce carbon dioxide, which creates air pockets in the batter.
- 1?2 teaspoon Baking Powder: Another leavening agent, baking powder helps the cupcakes to rise and gives them a light and airy structure. It contains its own acid and therefore does not need an acidic ingredient to react with.
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon: A classic fall spice, cinnamon adds warmth and depth of flavor, enhancing the taste of the pumpkin.
- 1?2 teaspoon Salt: Salt enhances the flavors of the other ingredients and balances out the sweetness of the cupcakes.
- 1?4 teaspoon Nutmeg: This spice, like cinnamon, complements the pumpkin and contributes to the overall flavor profile of the cupcakes.
- 2 Eggs: Eggs contribute to the structure of the cupcakes, giving them stability and height. The egg yolks add richness and the whites help with leavening.
- 1 1?2 cups Pumpkin Puree: The star of the recipe, pumpkin puree gives the cupcakes their distinctive pumpkin flavor and a moist, dense crumb.
- 1?2 cup Canola Oil: Oil adds moisture to the cupcakes and helps keep them tender. Canola oil is a neutral oil that won't interfere with the flavors of the pumpkin and spices.
- 1?4 cup Water: Water is used to thin the batter slightly, making it easier to mix and ensuring that the cupcakes bake evenly.
For the frosting:
- 1?2 cup Unsalted Butter, softened: The butter adds richness and creaminess to the frosting. It also provides structure once the frosting is chilled, allowing it to hold its shape when piped onto cupcakes.
- 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened: This is the primary ingredient that gives the frosting its name. Cream cheese lends a distinctive tangy flavor that complements the sweetness of the powdered sugar and contrasts nicely with the flavors in the cupcakes.
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract adds depth and complexity to the flavor of the frosting, rounding out the tanginess of the cream cheese and the sweetness of the sugar.
- 4 cups Powdered Sugar: This sweetens the frosting and, importantly, helps to thicken it. The fine texture of powdered sugar ensures the frosting is smooth and not grainy.
After you've gathered your ingredients, we will use this process:
For the pumpkin cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, prepare a 12-count cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg with a whisk.
Add the eggs, pumpkin puree, canola oil, and water. Mix with a hand mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed until completely combined.
Fill each liner about 2?3 of the way. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.
Allow the cupcakes to cool while making the frosting.
For the cream cheese frosting
Beat the softened butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar until completely combined.
Pipe onto the cooled cupcake and top with a marzipan pumpkin.
Tips and Tricks to Perfect Pumpkin Cupcakes
Use Quality Pumpkin Puree: The flavor of your cupcakes will largely depend on the quality of the pumpkin puree you use. Choose a puree that's 100% pumpkin, with no added sugars or spices.
Spice It Up: While the recipe calls for cinnamon and nutmeg, you can add other spices such as ginger or cloves for additional depth of flavor.
Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure your eggs, pumpkin puree, and butter are all at room temperature before you begin. This ensures that the ingredients blend together smoothly and evenly.
Avoid Overmixing: Mix the ingredients just until they're combined. Overmixing can lead to cupcakes that are dense rather than light and fluffy.
Check for Doneness: Oven temperatures can vary, so start checking your cupcakes a few minutes before the suggested baking time is up. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
Cool Completely: Make sure your cupcakes are completely cool before you frost them. If the cupcakes are still warm, the frosting will melt and slide off.
Piping the Frosting: For a professional-looking finish, use a piping bag and a decorative nozzle to apply the cream cheese frosting.
Storage: Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days, or frozen for up to three months. Frosted cupcakes should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for up to a week.
Serving: Bring refrigerated cupcakes to room temperature before serving for the best flavor and texture.
Add a Garnish: Consider garnishing the frosted cupcakes with a sprinkle of cinnamon, a whole or crushed pecan, or even a small marzipan pumpkin for a festive touch.
Absolutely, homemade pumpkin puree can add a fresh and unique flavor to your cupcakes. Just make sure it is well-drained so it doesn't make the batter too wet.
Yes, you can substitute the cinnamon and nutmeg with pumpkin pie spice which usually contains a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
Using oil instead of butter can contribute to a moist texture. Also, the pumpkin puree adds moisture to these cupcakes. Just be careful not to overbake them, as that can dry them out.
Yes, this recipe can be adapted for a cake. You may need to adjust the baking time based on the size and type of your cake pan.
Yes, unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 3 months. When you're ready to use them, let them thaw at room temperature, then frost as usual.
The cream cheese and butter may have been too soft when you started, or the frosting might need more powdered sugar. If your frosting is runny, try chilling it for a bit to firm it up.
Yes, you can substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend. However, each blend is different so you may need to adjust the amount of liquid in the recipe.
Use a flax or chia egg instead of regular eggs, and find a vegan substitute for the cream cheese and butter in the frosting. Also, make sure your sugar is vegan.
This can happen if your oven is too hot, causing the cupcakes to rise quickly and then collapse. It can also be a sign of too much baking soda or powder. Make sure you measure these ingredients carefully.
Absolutely, feel free to customize your pumpkin cupcakes with add-ins. Just be aware that adding too many extras can affect the texture of the cupcakes.
What to Serve With Pumpkin Cupcakes
Hot Apple Cider: This is a classic fall drink that pairs wonderfully with the spiced flavor of pumpkin cupcakes.
Chai Tea: The spices in chai tea pair perfectly with the spices in pumpkin cupcakes.
Coffee: Whether it's a pumpkin spice latte or a simple black coffee, the bitterness contrasts nicely with the sweet cupcakes.
Milk: A classic pairing for any sweet treat, milk can help balance the sweetness and spices in the cupcakes.
Vanilla Ice Cream: The creamy, mild flavor of vanilla ice cream serves as a refreshing counterpoint to the rich, spiced cupcakes.
Pecan Pie: If you're serving a dessert spread, pumpkin cupcakes go well with other classic fall desserts, like pecan pie.
Caramel Apples: The tartness of the apples and the sweet, sticky caramel complement the flavors of the pumpkin cupcakes.
Cheese Plate: The creaminess and saltiness of cheese, especially cream cheese or brie, can balance the sweet and spicy flavors of the cupcakes.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds: If you're serving these cupcakes for a fall party, you might also have some roasted pumpkin seeds on hand. Their salty crunch can be a nice contrast to the soft, sweet cupcakes.
Spiced Nuts: Spiced nuts can add a nice crunch and extra flavor that complements the cupcakes.
Pumpkin Cupcakes Recipe
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Moist, fluffy cupcakes loaded with flavor and frosted with cream cheese frosting!
- Pumpkin cupcakes
- 1 2⁄3 cups all-purpose flour 1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 1 1⁄2 cups pumpkin puree 1⁄2 cup canola oil
- 1⁄4 cup water
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, softened 4 cups powdered sugar
- marzipan pumpkin for decoration
- For the pumpkin cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, prepare a 12-count cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg with a whisk.
- Add the eggs, pumpkin puree, canola oil, and water. Mix with a hand mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed until completely combined.
- Fill each liner about 2⁄3 of the way. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool while making the frosting.
- For the cream cheese frosting
- Beat the softened butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar until completely combined.
- Pipe onto the cooled cupcake and top with a marzipan pumpkin.
Amount Per Serving Calories 473Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 58mgSodium 248mgCarbohydrates 69gFiber 1gSugar 55gProtein 4g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.