Pumpkin Cupcakes with Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting

| October 13, 2009 | 12 Comments


“Honey, those cupcakes were bangin’.” – Shawn

High praise never fails to make me smile all goofy and wide. Seriously, who doesn’t love to hear that something they made was just awesome?

These cupcakes are moist, but dense. The flavor is reminiscent of pumpkin pie, but it has notes of carrot cake too (no carrots though!). The frosting is creamy and, yes, totally dreamy. It has all the good parts of cream cheese, sweetened just right so that it counters the slightly sour note that it carries.

OMG, these are good. Just make them.

Will-and-Paige-Cooking When I made these, it was Sunday morning. I woke up planning on pumpkin pancakes, but decided to eat some muffins instead. Since we needed some dessert to bring to Sunday dinner, these cupcakes ended up being our Sunday baking experiment du jour.

Of course, the kids got to help too. They take turns pouring things into the bowl and then Will gets to sift it with a wire whisk. It’s a great technique, and he’s really good at it. Paige was really into the whole process, alternating between cheering Will on (literally) and trying to climb onto the table.

They could barely wait to try these. And as soon as the first one was frosted, Will did (Paige was sleeping). He couldn’t say enough about how much he liked them …

Sigh. Make these. And with the leftover pumpkin puree, try Perfect Pumpkin Bread or Iced Pumpkin Bundt Cake.


Pumpkin Cupcakes
yields 18 cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 cupcake cups with cupcake liners (I use a 6-cup cupcake/muffin tin and a 12-cup cupcake/muffin tin).

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat together the eggs, brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract and pumpkin puree until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture a little at a time until fully incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake cups, filling them about 3/4 full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow to cool for five minutes and then transfer the cupcakes to a metal rack to cool completely. Then frost the cupcakes with Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows).

Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting
yields enough to frost 18 cupcakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all ingredients and whip until combined and smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag and frost cupcakes (must be completely cooled).

Category: Dessert

About the Author ()

Sarah Walker Caron is a writer, editor and recipe developer who loves to create delicious recipes the whole family can enjoy together. Her work has appeared in countless publications including iVillage, BELLA NYC Magazine, Yum for Kids magazine and more. She lives in Maine with her two food-loving kids.

Comments (12)

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  1. Mangochild says:

    They are beautiful. I wish I could have them, but maybe I will make a batch all the same and surprise a lucky family member anyway!

  2. Angel says:

    Wow, they look scrumptious! I may have to take this recipe from you!!! LOVE pumpkin anything!

  3. I am a true sucker for cream cheese frosting. I’m not even a big frosting person, usually preferring non-frosted cakes, but cream cheese frosting…ahhh…and I haven’t yet tried one with marshmallow fluff yet.

  4. Sarah Caron says:

    Mangochild, thank you!! I hope your lucky family member enjoys them.

    Angel, this is awesome. But be sure to give some away — otherwise it can be too tempting (I gave away 2/3 of the batch).

    Jessica, the fluff gives the frosting a lovely light and fluffy texture.

  5. I just love the sound of a pumpkin flavoured cake that is moist and dense. Delicious!

  6. Patti V. says:

    Those sound delicious, Sarah. I love seeing your beautiful children helping you bake. So cute.

  7. maris says:

    Love pumpkin, love cupcakes. How can you go wrong?

    I love your second photo – what background did you use?

  8. Stacie says:

    Oh, just the recipe I’m looking for, dense and yummy. Do you have a source for this recipe or did you take it from somewhere and make it your own? Thanks!

    • Sarah Caron says:

      Julie, these are so fantastic, I am making them again this weekend for a roadtrip with my kids and friends. Fingers crossed that they survive the car ride!

      Thanks, Patti! It’s fun baking with them.

      Maris, the second photo of the cupcakes was the most unusual of backgrounds — it’s actually just my black stove with the white plastic base of my cake transporter. That lens I was telling you about makes a huge difference — since it focuses so succinctly, the background gets a wonderful blur.

      Thanks for the question, Stacie! Unless otherwise noted, the recipes on this site are mine. In this case, I referenced several cakes that I have made in the past as well as family recipes to get the right proportions for the dry ingredients and then adjusted the spices and other ingredients to get the right flavor and consistency in the batter.

  9. Stacie says:

    Hi again, I made these cupcakes this past weekend and they turned out very good! I liked the densness too them. One thing, there is nothing mentioned about mixing the eggs into the batter in your directions, so I threw them in there after the pumpkin puree was mixed in. I’m glad I didn’t forget about them! You may want to add that to the directions.
    -From one baker to another :)

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