What better way to embrace the season than with a batch of delectable pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting? Trust me, this recipe is the epitome of fall goodness, and you won't be able to resist the warm, cozy flavors of these Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes.
There is something about the changing leaves and cooler temperatures of fall that bring out the baker in me. Much like the rest of the country, I am obsessed with pumpkin spice. Lattes are tasty, but sometimes I prefer something a little less caffeinated, especially in the afternoon.
Moist and fluffy pumpkin spice cupcakes are infused with pumpkin puree and an aromatic blend of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add that velvety cream cheese frosting on top and it's the perfect balance of sweet, tangy and luscious without the added caffeine.
Not only are these fluffy pumpkin cupcakes with luscious cream cheese frosting absolutely divine, but they're also a fantastic dessert for any fall gathering. They are the perfect fall treats to satisfy any pumpkin lover but really good any time of year.
Hosting a Halloween party? Serve these cupcakes along with my candy corn cupcakes and captivate everyone with their seasonal charm. Or imagine serving them as a delightful finale to your Thanksgiving feast. No matter when you serve them, they are the ultimate autumnal dessert!
- Butter – Softened, unsalted butter provides richness and moisture to the cupcakes. If using salted butter, reduce the added salt in the recipe.
- Sugar - Granulated white sugar sweetens the cupcakes. You can use brown sugar for a slightly different flavor and color.
- Egg Whites - Egg whites give structure and lift to the cupcakes but help to reduce the fat and cholesterol compared to whole eggs. You can use whole eggs instead of just egg whites, but the texture may be slightly different.
- Flour - We used all-purpose flour, but you can use cake flour for a lighter texture or whole wheat flour for a nuttier flavor. You can also use a 1-to-1 gluten free flour.
- Baking Powder - Helps the cupcakes rise and become fluffy. Be sure to replace your baking powder at least once a year, especially if you don't bake often.
- Salt - I use Kosher or sea salt. A little salt enhances the flavors in the cupcakes.
- Vanilla - Vanilla extract adds a warm, aromatic flavor.
- Pumpkin Spice - The quintessential fall spice blend with cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and cloves. Make your own warm spices blend by combining cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and a pinch of ground cloves.
- Milk - Milk adds moisture to the cupcakes. Substitute with any non-dairy milk as desired.
- Vegetable Oil - Oil adds moisture to the cupcakes. Use any light, neutral-flavored oil like canola oil or sunflower oil.
- Pumpkin Puree - This gives the cupcakes their pumpkin flavor and moisture. Don't use canned pumpkin pie filling which has added ingredients.
- Butter – Unsalted butter provides a rich base for the frosting. Substitution: See the cupcake section for butter substitutions.
- Cream Cheese - Adds a tangy and creamy flavor to the frosting. You can use mascarpone cheese for a slightly different flavor.
- Salt - Balances the sweetness and enhances the flavors.
- Vanilla - Enhances the overall taste of the frosting.
- Powdered Sugar - Sweetens and thickens the frosting. You can use powdered erythritol or other powdered sweeteners for a sugar-free version.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Prepare the cupcake batter in a large bowl with an electric mixer or using a stand mixer until it is free of any lumps.
2. Use an ice cream scoop or large cookie scoop to spoon batter into a prepared cupcake pan and bake at 350 degreed F for 14-16 minutes.
3. Mix the frosting ingredients to a smooth consistency that forms stiff peaks.
4. Allow the cupcakes to cool then pipe on the frosting and serve.
Hint: I used a pastry piping bag with a star tip to frost the cupcakes. You can also use a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off.
- Gluten Free - Replace the flour with a 1-to-1 gluten free blend.
- Vegan - For a vegan-friendly adaptation, use dairy-free substitutes. Replace the butter with vegan butter or coconut oil, the egg whites with aquafaba (the liquid from canned chickpeas), and the milk with almond milk or any other plant-based milk. For the frosting, opt for a vegan cream cheese and use powdered sugar that is certified vegan.
- Chocolate Pumpkin Spice - For the chocolate lovers out there, add some cocoa powder (about ¼ cup) to the cupcake batter for a delightful chocolate-pumpkin fusion. You can also sprinkle mini chocolate chips into the batter for extra decadence.
- Maple Frosting – Add pure maple syrup or maple extract to the frosting.
- Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting - Add one teaspoon ground cinnamon to the homemade cream cheese frosting.
You can use metal or stone muffin tins or cupcake pans as desired. This recipe will make 12 standard cupcakes, 24 mini cupcakes or 6 extra large ones. You may need to adjust the baking time accordingly.
Cupcake liners make cleanup easy and make individual cupcakes portable. Look for seasonal cupcake liners for a fun and festive presentation.
Leftover cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days in the fridge.
To freeze cupcakes, I recommend freezing them without the frosting. Cool completely then wrap tightly or store in an airtight container. Defrost overnight in the fridge or on the counter for a few hours. Top with a fresh batch of frosting before serving.
- Allow the butter, eggs, and any dairy ingredients (like milk and cream cheese) to come to room temperature before starting the recipe. Room temperature ingredients mix better and result in a smoother batter.
- Replace ingredients such as spices and baking powder regularly as they lose potency over time.
- Don't overmix the batter which can lead to dense cupcakes. If using a mixer, for best results use low speed.
- Use cupcake liners for easy cleanup and a pretty presentation.
- Only fill cupcake liners abut ⅔ full.
- Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of a cupcake. If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, the cupcakes are ready.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting to avoid melting the frosting.
Pumpkin pie filling includes additional sugar and flavorings that could alter the texture and flavor of the cupcakes. If you can't find pumpkin puree, you can use sweet potato puree.
Absolutely! You can bake the cupcakes a day ahead of your party and store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Frost the cupcakes on the day of the event to keep the frosting fresh and prevent any potential condensation from affecting the decoration.
More Pumpkin Treat Recipes
If you are looking for more pumpkin recipes to spice up your season, try some of these tasty goodies:
If you like this Pumpkin Cupcake recipe, please leave a 5-star rating.
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 6 egg whites
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- ¼ c. vegetable oil
- 1 - 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in your cupcake pans, set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the softened butter and the granulated sugar until lighter in color and fluffy looking.
- Add in the pumpkin spice, salt, baking powder, vanilla, milk, oil, pumpkin puree and egg whites. Mix again until well combined.
- Lastly, add in the all purpose flour and mix very well. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides when needed and mix again. Mixture should not contain any bumps or lumps.
- Using an ice cream scoop or small measuring cup, scoop out enough batter to fill each cupcake cavity about ⅔-¾ full. The batter will rise slightly during bake time.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 14-16 minutes or until set and edges are just slightly browned.
- Allow to cool completely before attempting to remove from the pan.
- To make the frosting: Mix together the softened butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the vanilla and salt. Finally add in the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Mixture should be stiff peak consistency and creamy.
- Transfer a few scoops of frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and twist the end to keep the frosting contained. Gently pipe a dollop of frosting on each cupcake. Sprinkle with additional pumpkin spice to garnish.
- Fresh eggs are preferred over carton egg whites. Keep the discarded yolk to make creme brulee or custard, if desired.
- Only use pumpkin puree for this recipe - NOT pumpkin pie filling.
- We used a pastry bag fitted with a star tip - both of which can be found at local craft store or online. In a pinch, you can also use a ziploc bag with the tip cut off.
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