Enjoy a small batch of fresh baked fall goodness with this Pumpkin Cupcake Recipe. Topped with Cream Cheese Frosting, these are the perfect treat for harvest parties, fall celebrations, and tea parties.
You only need ¾ cup of pumpkin for this pumpkin cupcake recipe, meaning you will have some leftover to make Pumpkin Dinner Rolls or Spicy Pork Chili with Pumpkin. Time to enjoy all the pumpkin-y things!
Some days you just want a little treat. Nothing big. Just a few bites of sweet to top off a meal or to go with a mid-afternoon coffee break. Pumpkin Cupcakes sound good….
Homemade is best, of course, but do you really want a big batch of yummy baked goods to tempt you all week long?
One of the best pumpkin cupcake recipe makes just enough to satisfy that sweet craving but not too much to have you eating and eating and regretting that you baked in the first place.
This is that recipe.
Why Make This
It makes a dozen. Enriched with flavorful pumpkin and spiced with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, this pumpkin cupcake recipe makes just a dozen. Enough to tide you over until your next baking session without tempting you to eat too many. You can double the recipe easily if you need to. Just move the servings slider on the recipe card.
They’re easy to make. These spiced pumpkin cupcakes are super simple to pull together — from scratch — and just may disappear before you get them frosted.
Pumpkin cupcakes are uber-delicious. The cream cheese frosting takes them over the top, so be sure to take a few extra minutes to mix up the frosting. These pumpkin cupcakes are the perfect treat to enjoy after a day at the pumpkin patch or just any old fall day sitting at home.
Here’s what you need to make a small batch of pumpkin cupcakes:
butter – You’ll need butter for the cupcakes as well as for the frosting. You can use margarine or a plant-based butter if you prefer.
sugar – In the cakes, you can use granulated sugar, but for the frosting, you’ll need powdered sugar. Remember you can Make Powdered Sugar yourself if you run out.
an egg – Since we’re working towards a dozen pumpkin cupcakes, you can get away with just one egg. You can also use Flaxseed Meal Egg Substitute if you want to avoid eggs or don’t have one on hand.
vanilla extract – Vanilla adds flavor to both the cake and the frosting. You can use another extract like almond or maple if you prefer or even use a bit of rum as a substitute.
canned pureed pumpkin – Make sure not to use pumpkin pie filling; you want pureed pumpkin or Butternut Squash Puree. This recipe won’t use the whole can of pumpkin puree. You can freeze the excess or scroll down for more pumpkin recipes to use it up.
spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves) – These spices all add amazing flavor to this pumpkin cupcake recipe. You can substitute pumpkin pie spice if you like.
baking powder and salt – Both of these add lift and flavor to your pumpkin cupcakes. Do not omit them.
flour – I like to use unbleached, all-purpose flour in my recipes. You can also use whole wheat pastry flour if you like. It provides a whole grain without tasting too wheaty.
milk – I use regular dairy milk, but you can also use your favorite plant-based milk such as almond or coconut if you prefer.
cream cheese – Cream cheese makes the best frosting for these spiced pumpkin cupcakes. However, if you’re avoiding dairy, the maple glaze from my pumpkin bundt cake is a nice swap or for a fun buttery twist, try Orange Buttercream Frosting.
Here’s how to make Pumpkin Cupcakes:
Prep step – Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners. I love to use parchment liners because they never stick.
1. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract.
2. In another mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.
3. Add half the milk to the pumpkin mixture and stir.
4. Then beat in half the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Repeat.
5. Spoon the pumpkin cupcake batter into the prepared baking pan, about ¼ cup of batter per cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a tester comes out with a few crumbs attached. Cool on a rack.
6. To prepare the frosting, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and continue to beat until fluffy. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until well combined.
7. Frost the cooled pumpkin cupcakes with the frosting. Chill until ready to serve, up to 3 days.
Pumpkin cupcakes do not need to be refrigerated unless they are filled or topped with a perishable dairy product, such as cream cheese or cream cheese frosting. If so, be sure to store your cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Cupcakes freeze beautifully. The trick is to be sure not to overbake them. Then be sure to cool them completely on a rack before storing them in an airtight container or tiptop freezer bag.
Store them in the freezer for up to six months in a deep freeze, 6 weeks in a refrigerator freezer. To serve: thaw the cupcakes on the counter before frosting.
You can freeze frosted cupcakes as well. Just be sure to enclose them in a container where the frosting won’t get smushed or smashed.
Knowing how much it costs you to prepare a recipe can help you decide if it’s the type of recipe to make regularly or one you might want to save for special occasions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see how this recipe pencils out.
- butter – $0.92
- granulated sugar – $0.11
- egg – $0.15
- pumpkin puree $0.50
- vanilla extract $0.67
- flour – $0.23
- baking powder – $0.06
- spices – $0.10
- milk – $0.10
- cream cheese – $1.00
- powdered sugar – $0.12
While your prices may vary depending on where you shop, you can expect to pay somewhere around $3.96 per batch, just 33 cents per pumpkin cupcake. That’s a whole lot cheaper than what you’ll pay at the bakery!
This recipe isn’t expensive to make, even from scratch. However, there are things that you can do to make your sweet treat even better.
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. When you see a good price on butter, sugar, and canned pumpkin, buy a few extra to stash for later. You know you’ll use them. Stocking up can save you money.
- Stock up on groceries during post-holiday clearance sales. The clearance aisle is a great place to snatch up baking ingredients, especially canned pumpkin.
- Use homemade pumpkin or squash puree in pumpkin cupcakes. Making your own puree can be a great way to save money, especially if you get the pumpkins or squash for free or cheap.
More Uses for Canned Pumpkin
Pumpkin Cupcake Recipe
For the cupcakes:
- ¼ cup butter ½ stick, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree can also use butternut squash puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup milk
For the frosting:
- ¼ cup butter ½ stick, softened
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
To bake the cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
- In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract.
- In another mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with the addition of the milk. Stir to combine.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan, about ¼ cup of batter per cup.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a tester comes out with a few crumbs attached. Cool on a rack.
To prepare the frosting:
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and continue to beat until fluffy. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until well combined.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes with the frosting. Chill until ready to serve.
This post was originally published in October 2011. It has been updated for content and clarity.