Pumpkin Cupcakes

5 from 1 vote
Jump to Recipe

This post contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

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.

baked pumpkin cupcake frosted with cream cheese frosting and topped with a marzipan candy pumpkin
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week – and be sure to tag @sweetcsdesigns on social media – I love to see your creations!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Don’t want all the extras in a recipe post? We provide a skip to recipe button in the top left corner, as well as a clickable table of contents, just below, to help make this page easier to navigate.

We add lots of tips in our recipe – so you can make this dish, understand why it works and what each ingredient means to the flavor of a recipe. I also answer questions my friends and family have asked about my recipes, to help home cooks of any skill level better understand the processes we use and why!

baked pumpkin cupcake frosted with cream cheese frosting and topped with a marzipan candy pumpkin

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.

baked pumpkin cupcake frosted with cream cheese frosting and topped with a marzipan candy pumpkin

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.

baked pumpkin cupcake frosted with cream cheese frosting and topped with a marzipan candy 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.

FAQs

Can I use homemade pumpkin puree instead of canned?

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.

Can I use pumpkin pie spice instead of the spices listed?

Yes, you can substitute the cinnamon and nutmeg with pumpkin pie spice which usually contains a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.

How can I keep my cupcakes moist?

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.

Can this recipe make a cake instead of cupcakes?

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.

Can I freeze unfrosted cupcakes?

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.

My cream cheese frosting is too runny. How can I fix it?

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.

Can I use gluten-free flour in cupcakes?

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.

Can I make this recipe vegan?

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.

Why did my cupcakes sink in the middle?

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.

Can I add ingredients to these cupcakes?

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.

baked pumpkin cupcake frosted with cream cheese frosting and topped with a marzipan candy pumpkin

What to Serve With Pumpkin Cupcakes

Beverages:

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.

Desserts:

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.

Savory Foods:

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.

Try these delicious cupcakes next:

baked pumpkin cupcake frosted with cream cheese frosting and topped with a marzipan candy pumpkin

Pumpkin Cupcakes Recipe

If you love this easy recipe please click the stars below to give it a five star rating and leave a comment! Pease also help me share on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!

Follow on Instagram

Follow
baked pumpkin cupcake frosted with cream cheese frosting and topped with a marzipan candy pumpkin

CONNECT WITH SWEET C’S!
Be sure to follow me on social media and get in on all the fun!

Only have 30 minutes to get dinner on the table? Sign up for my 30 minute dinner plans direct to your inbox!
Find and shop my favorite products in my Amazon storefront here!

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week – and be sure to tag @sweetcsdesigns on social media – I love to see your creations!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
pumpkin cupcake iced with cream cheese frosting and a marzipan pumpkin candy on top
Print

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Moist, fluffy cupcakes loaded with flavor and frosted with cream cheese frosting!
Course Cupcakes
Cuisine American
Keyword baking, cupcake, desert, fall, halloween, pumpkin, thanksgiving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 15 cupcakes
Calories 473kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • Pumpkin cupcakes
  • 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups pumpkin puree 1/2 cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract softened 4 cups powdered sugar
  • marzipan pumpkin for decoration

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 473kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 248mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 55g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

You May Also Like

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating