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These easy Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes have a light, fluffy texture and are loaded with pumpkin spice flavor. Top them with cream cheese frosting for the ultimate fall and Thanksgiving dessert.
🧁Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
When you’re in the mood for a pumpkin dessert but don’t want to commit to a whole pumpkin cake, give these pumpkin cupcakes a try! They’re wonderfully moist (but not at all dense!) and LOADED with pumpkin spice flavor.
One of the best things about baking with pumpkin puree is that it can compensate for small mistakes. Over-mix or over-bake your dessert a bit? Pumpkin puree to the rescue! The moisture in pumpkin puree keeps desserts from drying out and also helps extend their shelf life. Just another reason to love fall baking!
Speaking of fall baking, after you try these cupcakes, keep the pumpkin party going with some of our reader’s favorite recipes, like Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, Pumpkin Chocolate Mousse Cake, and Pumpkin Bread Pudding!
🧾 What You’ll Need
If you are a seasoned baker, you almost certainly have most of what you need on hand already. One of the few things you may need to pick up is the pumpkin puree. Here’s what to keep in mind as you gather ingredients: (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)
- Cake flour: Cake flour helps keep these cupcakes light and fluffy. If you don’t have cake flour, you can use a combination of all purpose flour and cornstarch (see details in the FAQ or recipe card below).
- Pumpkin pie spice: Pumpkin pie spice is pumpkin’s best friend. This blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice adds the perfect touch of warmth and coziness to the recipe. See the FAQ below for tips on making you own pumpkin pie spice.
- Milk: I prefer using whole milk, but you can use other varieties if you prefer.
- Canned pumpkin: Be sure to use pure pumpkin puree, rather than pumpkin pie filling. The cans are often next to each other at the store and look very similar.
- Cream cheese:Allow the cream cheese to soften at room temperature before using.
All you need are very standard baking tools to make these cupcakes. (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)
- Cupcake pan: One of the few things you absolutely need for this is a simple cupcake pan to bake the cupcakes in.
- Stand mixer: A stand mixer can make mixing batter and icing very easy. A hand mixer can also be used.
- Piping bag and tips: You can use a plain piping bag and round tip, or get a little fancy with a larger star tip.
New to cupcake making? Here’s a step-by-step tutorial to help you through it. For complete printable instructions, see the recipe card below.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- As it heats, line a cupcake pan with paper liners and then set it aside for later.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt, then set aside for a moment.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy.
- Next, add in eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
- Gradually mix in the flour mixture with the milk. Continue mixing for about 30 seconds.
- Whisk in the pumpkin. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to be sure everything is well-mixed.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared liners, filling about ⅔ full.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched.
- Once they’re cool, frost the cupcakes and finish them off with a sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg.
💡 Tips and FAQs
Variety is the pumpkin spice of life! Here are a few variations you can try:
- Use the brown sugar glaze from this Pumpkin Pound Cake.
- Try it with the spiced frosting from Pumpkin Spice High Hat Cupcakes.
- Use a simple vanilla buttercream frosting or cinnamon buttercream.
- Add mini chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, or butterscotch chips to the pumpkin batter.
- Embellish the top with Chocolate Leaves or Chocolate Feathers.
🍂 More Fall Flavored Desserts You’ll Love
Pumpkin Spice Hi-Hat Cupcakes
Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream
Don’t miss the step-by-step tutorial showing how to make Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes – check out the web story here!
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 8 oz cake flour, (2 cups), see Note below for substitutes
- 1 TBSP baking powder
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- .5 tsp salt
- 4 oz unsalted butter, (1/2 cup), at room temperature
- 8.75 oz granulated sugar, (1.25 cups)
- 2 large eggs
- 8 fl oz milk, 1 cup
- 8 oz pumpkin puree, 1 cup, not pumpkin pie filling
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 12 oz cream cheese, (1.5 packages), at room temperature
- 3 oz unsalted butter, (6 TBSP), at room temperature
- 1 TBSP vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 24 oz powdered sugar, (6 cups)
- 1 TBSP ground cinnamon, or nutmeg
To make the cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a cupcake/muffin pan with 24 paper liners, then set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside for a moment.
- Add the butter and sugar to a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat both on medium speed until lightly and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, and mix until fully combined.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add a third of the dry ingredients, then when that is mostly mixed in, add a third of the milk. Continue to alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients until both have been added to the batter.
- Finally, add the pumpkin puree, and mix just until it's incorporated. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl well with a spatula to make sure everything is well-mixed.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared liners, each filling about 2/3 full (about 1/4 cup batter for each one.)
- Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes, until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let them cool completely before frosting.
To make the cream cheese frosting:
- Combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat them together until smooth and creamy.
- Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency for frosting. You may not want to use all of the powdered sugar if you like a looser, creamier frosting. For piped designs, you may want to add a touch more to get it stiffer.
- Frost cupcakes with simple swirls, and then sprinkle with ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.
About Elizabeth LaBau
I’m Elizabeth, but you can call me SugarHero! I’m a former pastry chef turned blogger, cookbook author, and baking instructor, and I consider myself sugar’s #1 fan. Learn more from my About page, or connect with me on social media:
I never get tired of pumpkin spice. It goes perfectly with that cream cheese frosting, yum!
I totally agree! 😀 Thanks Erika!
These pumpkin spice cupcakes look super cute. My kids are going to love them.
Thanks Beth! My boys basically devoured them. 🙂 Please let me know how they turn out for you!
These pumpkin spice cupcakes are a great alternative to pumpkin pie for a Thanksgiving desert. They are easy to make and my kids love them!!
Agreed! I’ll always pick pumpkin cake over pie. 😀 Glad you liked them!
What a great recipe! These tender cupcakes are filled with the flavors of pumpkin spice and everything nice. The cream cheese frosting is divine! Another winning recipe from Sugar Hero.
Eliza, you’re the best! Thanks so much!
My cupcakes came out super fluffy and yummy! thanks for the recipe!
Yay! I’m so glad they turned out well, thanks for sharing!
Looks so so good! A delicious recipe to use up leftover pumpkin puree.
Definitely! You won’t regret trying these guys!
These are the perfect bites of fall! Delicious spices and the best cream cheese frosting!
Thanks Chenee! They are a great Fall treat!
These look great and sound delish! I am not a seasoned baker and love that this is easy enough for even me to make!
Absolutely! You can make these no problem, I hope you enjoy!