Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting - A perfect fall treat! | browneyedbaker.com

[This recipe was originally posted in November 2009; I have revamped the recipe, as well as taken new photos. These amazing cupcakes deserved an upgrade!]

I first made pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting nearly five years ago, and I have been loving that flavor combination ever since. While I loved the old cupcakes, I thought that they were a bit too heavy on the spices, causing them to overpower the pumpkin, which I wanted to shine. This updated recipe tastes almost like pumpkin pie in cupcake form – a lot of fabulous pumpkin flavor with some subtle spice undertones. Throw a dollop (well, a little more than a dollop) of cream cheese on top, and you have one utterly fantastic fall dessert.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting - A perfect fall treat! | browneyedbaker.com

I mentioned it the first time I made pumpkin cupcakes, and it bear repeating – if you’re looking to add another flavor profile to these cupcakes, adding some maple syrup to the frosting would absolutely take them over the top. I used a similar filling for the pumpkin whoopie pies that I made four years ago. The maple is an awesome complement to both pumpkin and cream cheese, so if you’re a fan, go on ahead and throw some syrup (make sure it’s pure maple syrup!) into your frosting. I’d probably use 2 to 3 tablespoons to start, and taste to see if it’s flavored to your liking. If the consistency is a little too soft, add another ½ to 1 cup of powdered sugar.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting - A perfect fall treat! | browneyedbaker.com

If you’re a pumpkin fanatic, a cream cheese frosting fanatic, a fall fanatic, a Thanksgiving fanatic, or any combination thereof, you will absolutely, positively, without a doubt adore these cupcakes.

Make sure you have some folks to share them with, or you might just want to eat them all yourself. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting - A perfect fall treat! | browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Sweet Onion and Parmesan Dip
Two years ago: Apple Fritter Doughnuts
Three years ago: Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
Four years ago: Homemade Cracker Jack

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 18 to 22 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Slightly-spiced pumpkin cupcakes piled high with cream cheese frosting.


For the Cupcakes:
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
¾ cup canned pumpkin
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar


1. Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, both sugars and the vegetable oil until completely combined, making sure to break up any chunks of brown sugar so no lumps remain. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour mixture in two additions, folding with a rubber spatula until no flour pockets remain.

4. Divide the batter between the baking cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

5. Make the Frosting: With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese, vanilla and salt and continue to beat for an additional 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar gradually and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

6. Using a decorating bag and tip (I used the Ateco #827 tip) or an offset spatula, frost the tops of the cupcakes. (If you like the frosting piled high as pictured, this is the perfect amount of frosting. If you prefer less, you can scale the frosting down.) The cupcakes can stay at room temperature for a few hours, but should be refrigerated for longer-term storage up to 4 days.


271 Responses to “Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting”

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  1. Jessica @ How Sweet It Is on November 2, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Oh delish! I love, love, love pumpkin cakes and muffins. I just made some pumpkin cupcakes this wknd, too. I am so embarrassed that they are GONE and I ate them all. My hubby doesn’t do pumpkin. Ooops! Great recipe!! :)


  2. sherri on November 2, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    They sound perfect! Simply delicious.


  3. Peterson Patricia on November 2, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Those look so good!!!


  4. Angie on November 2, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Those look so good, great Halloween treat!


  5. Chelsea on November 2, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I love how you are blogging everyday-I am new to your blog and check for updates everyday and now there will be! Yea! So far I have tried your chicken Alfredo, Chili, and chicken and dumplings-we have loved all of them. keep up the good work!


  6. theUngourmet on November 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I have a hard time picking a favorite pumpkin recipe. I love them all! These cupcakes look positively scrumptious and the frosting looks so creamy! Wonderful!!


  7. lululu on November 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    nothing could go wrong with pumpkin baked good plus cream cheese frosting!
    your cupcakes looks so irresistible!


  8. Alicia Louwerse on November 2, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I just made the Apple Spice Cupcakes from the same book…now I’ll have to try the Pumpkin ones! The fall flavours are so yummy!


  9. Liz Brooks on November 2, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Love pumpkin cake!


  10. Kerstin on November 2, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    These do look like the perfect treat to bring to a party! I can’t get enough pumpkin recipes!


  11. stephchows on November 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    you are always making me hungry hehe


  12. wasabi prime on November 2, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Adorable! I love candy corn as decoration. We have so much of it leftover from halloween I need to figure out a way to incorporate it into something… other than my afternoon snack!


  13. Julia on November 2, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Your pictures are incredible. They make me want to curl up on the couch with a pumpkin spice latte…and of course a pumpkin cream cheese cupcake.


  14. Christy on November 2, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    LOVE to hear that you’ll be posting everyday! I look forward to seeing all the delicious posts to come! These cupcakes look amazing and I love the frosting…mmmm irresistable.


  15. Pam on November 2, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Wholly yum and beautiful!



  16. Chris on November 2, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Love the candy corn decorations.


  17. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on November 2, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Cute cupcakes… I love using seasonal candy to decorate cupcakes!


  18. Hanaa on November 2, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Very cute cupcakes!! Great idea on adding maple syrup to the cream cheese frosting next time. I’ll have to try that. I did something similar where I added molasses to my cream cheese frosting. It was great! Highlighted the caramel undertone in my pumpkin cake (http://hanaaskitchen.blogspot.com/2009/11/hcb-pumpkin-cake-with-molasses-flavored.html).


  19. Sarah L on November 2, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    those look delish! i just had a super yummy pumpkin muffin this weekend at a wedding shower… i asked for the recipe and was shocked by how simple they are: a spice cake mix, 1 can pumpkin, 1 bag cinnamon chips… stir together and bake in a muffin tin… not sure how long… so.good.


  20. Jackie on November 3, 2009 at 1:49 am


    How much maple syrup to add to cream cheese frosting and what grade of maple syrup Grade A, Grade B etc.


  21. Michelle on November 3, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Hi Jackie,

    I would use 3-4 Tablespoons of maple syrup – Grade A.


  22. Steph on November 3, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Your decorating skills are amazing. I love the way you did your swirl.


  23. Michelle on November 3, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Thank you Steph! :)


    • Hillery on July 7th, 2010 at 1:49 am

      What tip # did you use to get that swirl? Thanks


  24. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite on November 3, 2009 at 11:34 am

    These look amazing and I bet they taste pretty good too!


  25. Alta on November 3, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I too am jealous of your decorating skills! These look wonderful, and I can imagine the smell of pumpkin and spice now!


  26. Bibiana Bailey on November 3, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    These look and sound absolutely delicious.

    I didn’t care for pumpkin muffins till I had one at Starbucks few months ago and I was hooked.


  27. Rachel on November 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Great pictures! I’ll have to try these.


  28. bridget {bake at 350} on November 3, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Can’t.Get.Enough.Pumpkin! These look scrumptious!


  29. Tracey on November 3, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    I made these recently too and loved them! I could easily eat that cream cheese frosting with a spoon – yum!! Yours look wonderful. I love that you decorated them in a couple of different ways.


  30. Lydia on November 4, 2009 at 8:07 am

    These look wonderful. They’re making me hungry!


  31. Carol on November 4, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Wow! Those look yummy! I just froze 5 pounds of pumpkin that I steamed so I’m looking for some good recipes.

    One of my favorites that always gets raves is Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie. It’s a little involved but completely worth it!! I do cheat on the crust though… http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pumpkin-Butterscotch-Pie-350490


  32. Jessica on November 4, 2009 at 9:42 am

    I love pumpkin, but a lot of recipes, such as this, calls for buttermilk. Can I substitute whole milk?


  33. Ali on November 4, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Adorable! And I love the cute decor!

    I made some pumpkin cupcakes last weekend, and added some cinnamon to the cream cheese frosting. Definitely a fun fall dessert! :) http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/pumpkin-cupcakes-with-cinnamon-cream-cheese-frosting/


  34. Kris on November 5, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    I made these cupcakes but found that in the recipe it did not mention where to incorporate the flour & spice mixture…


  35. Michelle on November 5, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Hi Kris – Thanks for catching that! I left out the words “flour & spice mixture” but it is added at the end, with the buttermilk, before the pumpkin. I have edited the recipe so that it is now correct.


  36. Mr. P on November 6, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    They look amazing. You are very good with a piping bag, I have to say. Mine always look rubbish!

    I love the Martha book by the way. I have Cookies as well, and think she gives great inspiration.

    I’ll be back. I love the blog. Nice design and great content. A+!!


  37. Patricia on November 6, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Two Girls Cooking loves your website. We love your photos and your food always looks amazing. We have a little something posted on our site we’d like for you to stop by and get!
    Let us know when you have seen it.
    Two Girls Cooking


  38. Michelle on November 9, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Hi Jessica,

    You could use whole milk, but if you don’t want to buy buttermilk just for the sake of one recipe, you can easily make your own buttermilk. Take 1 Tablespoon of either white vinegar or lemon juice and put into a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk to fill it to the 1 cup line. Let it sit for 5 minutes, and then use as much as you need.


  39. Lucy on November 21, 2009 at 1:03 am

    I am trying this recipe for thanksgiving, can’t wait! One clarification, am I supposed to use 1.5 cups of pumpkin purée or 1.5 cans? If it’s cans, what size can (ie 14 ounces)? Thanks!


  40. Jaylene on November 22, 2009 at 7:55 am

    if i wanted to add the maple syrup to the frosting do i still add the vanilla extract as well?


  41. Michelle on November 23, 2009 at 12:16 am

    Hi Lucy,

    You will just love these, they are fabulous! You will want to use 1.5 cups of pumpkin (pumpkin puree) – not 1.5 cans. Enjoy!!


  42. Michelle on November 23, 2009 at 12:19 am

    Hi Jaylene,

    Yes, I would still include the vanilla extract in addition to the maple syrup. Enjoy the cupcakes!


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  46. Courtney (Pancakes and Postcards) on September 16, 2010 at 2:59 am

    omg. pancake batter cupcakes? i am making this immediately!!!


  47. Dorothy on September 29, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    I live in Alaska, bush Alaska, so our stores don’t have any cake flour. Will it turn out if I use all-purpose flour? Thank you, I will order my cake flour from King Arthur soon but I can’t wait until then! :)


    • Michelle on September 29th, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      Hi Dorothy, You can actually make your own cake flour in a pinch! Combine 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (sift it if you can) and 2 tablespoons cornstarch for every 1 cup of cake flour called for.


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  49. Karen @ Planet Books on October 2, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    I am totally digging your blog! It looks great, your writing is fun and wonderful and the pics make me want to dive right into the screen and eat, eat, EAT. Re: the frosting for these cupcakes and your idea of adding maple syrup to the buttercream next time; how much syrup would you add to not make the buttercream too sticky but just get a hint of maple flavor? Thanks in advance!


    • Michelle on October 3rd, 2010 at 10:59 am

      Hi Karen, You’re so sweet! I’m so happy to hear how much you’re loving the site! Thank you! Now about that frosting – anywhere from 2 to 5 tablespoons of maple syrup. I would add 2, then taste, see what you think, and add more a tablespoon at a time until you get the taste you want. It won’t get sticky with those quantities.


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