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Lovely & moist Pumpkin Cupcakes with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting are the perfect Fall treat! They are quick and easy dessert to share with friends and family for any of the Fall holidays or just because it’s pumpkin season!

When you start feeling that nip in the air and the leaves begin changing color, it’s time for all things pumpkin! Some of our other favorite pumpkin recipes are a classic Pumpkin Roll, Pumpkin Ice Cream, and a yummy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie that’s great for when you have a partial can of pumpkin puree leftover!

rows of pumpkin cupcakes baked in white paper liners next to candy pumpkins.

How can you resist a cute little handheld treat topped with one of those adorable candy pumpkins? You don’t need any fancy decorating skills if you just make smart choices about how to accessorize a cupcake.

Why this recipe works

  • The pumpkin cake batter is made from scratch with real pumpkin puree and spices for better flavor and texture than any box mix.
  • The batter is made in one bowl in all of 10 minutes, and that includes time spent opening a can of pumpkin puree. It’s super, dupe simple and no-fail thanks to the pumpkin which adds moisture to avoid the problem of cupcakes drying out.
  • Did I already mention the cinnamon cream cheese frosting that I could basically eat with just a spoon? Yeah, that stuff is gooooood.
  • I have noticed that even folks who generally turn up their noses at pumpkin desserts can’t resist them in cupcake form.
moist pumpkin cupcakes surrounded by candy pumpkins and cinnamon sticks.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Pumpkin: You can make homemade pumpkin puree (actually a really fun project that will have your kids oohing and ahhing) or just use the canned kind from the store. Just be sure it’s pumpkin puree and not pumpkin filling which has spices and stuff added to it.
  • Dark brown sugar: If you only have light brown sugar, that will work, but I like the extra depth and molasses flavor of the dark brown sugar for this recipe.
  • Warm Spices: There’s cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger in these pumpkins, although you could just replace them with pumpkin spice if you have a jar of it on hand. But I rarely have pumpkin pie spice in my cupboard since it’s just one more jar and I only use it for a couple months out of the year.

How to Make Moist Pumpkin Cupcakes

  1. Mix the wet ingredients: Beat the pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla together in a large bowl until smooth and combined. You can do this with a hand mixer, stand mixer, or even a whisk.
  1. Add dry ingredients: Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir just until combined.
  2. Add in the milk: Stir in the milk until the batter is smooth and combined.
  1. Fill cupcake liners and bake: Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan and fill them each about 2/3 to 3/4 full. You don’t want to overfill or the cupcakes will spill out over the top as they rise. Bake for 16-18 minutes until the tops bounce back to the touch without leaving an indentation. Cool completely before frosting.
  1. Frost and decorate: Make the frosting by beating cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, beating until combined. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip or a heavy-duty Ziploc bag with one end snipped off and pipe generous swirls of frosting onto the tops of each cupcake. Press a candy pumpkin into the center of the frosting to finish.

Recipe FAQ’s

Do these cupcakes need to be refrigerated?

Because they are made with a cream cheese frosting, yes, you should store these cupcakes in the refrigerator. They will last for about 4-5 days in the fridge.

Can I make this into a layer cake?

The recipe will need to be doubled to make a 2 layer cake, but could then be baked in two 8-inch or 9-inch pans to make a layer cake.

Can these cupcakes be frozen?

You can freeze the bottom cake part of the cupcakes, but I don’t recommend freezing cream cheese frosting. The cake part will last for at least 2-3 months in the frozen though.

Can I make mini cupcakes with this recipe?

Sure! Just fill them about 3/4 full and bake for 11-14 minutes until they are done. Everybody loves little bite-size cupcakes!

Recipe Tips

  • Using room temperature ingredients gives the best results when baking cakes and cupcakes. They combine together better, which results in a more even bake.
  • Don’t overmix the cupcake batter. Mixing the batter too long can result in denser cupcakes instead of the light, wonder crumb we are striving for.
  • Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven or consider rotating the pan partway through baking so they rise evenly.

Variations

If you want to change things up, these pumpkin cupcakes would be delicious with chocolate frosting, the graham cracker frosting from my s’mores cupcakes, or eggnog frosting. Or make it Halloween themed with a black and orange version of this homemade rainbow chip frosting.

Another idea would be to add mini chocolate chips or chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter or the frosting. Or drizzle the cupcakes with caramel!

a pumpkin cupcake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting next to a striped linen napkin.

More Pumpkin Recipes

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Pumpkin Cupcakes

Lovely & moist Pumpkin Cupcakes with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting are the perfect Fall treat! They are quick and easy dessert to share with friends and family for any of the Fall holidays or just because it's pumpkin season!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cake
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes
Servings: 12 -14 cupcakes
Calories: 418kcal
Author: Amy Nash

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup salted butter softened to room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pumpkin candy corn for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  • In a large bowl, beat the pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla until combined.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger, mixing just until combined. Mix in the milk.
  • Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full with batter, then bake for 16-18 minutes until the tops bounce back when you press them with a finger.
  • Remove and cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Then add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, beating well. Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes, then top with a pumpkin candy corn for decoration.

Notes

Unfrosted cupcaked can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw before frosting and serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 326mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 3722IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 1mg
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