When it comes to fall flavor, these light and fluffy Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting don’t mess around. Or if they do, they’re very discreet.
Fall is my favorite season… well, next to summer. Not just because it’s finally the season for all of the Pumpkin Spice Latte memes, but also because everything starts to get a little spooky. Whether you’re waiting until October to make all your pumpkin-flavored everything for Halloween or you’re starting now, these easy pumpkin spice cupcakes should make your fall baking list.
And, if you need a little more inspiration, head over to Cake Over Steak’s Virtual Pumpkin Party for dozens more pumpkin recipes!
How to Make Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Sometimes — ahem, Starbucks, ahem — when companies make pumpkin spiced things, they’re pretty sweet. So sweet that you miss out on any flavors other than sugar. And, it’s not that I don’t love sugar, but when I made this recipe for pumpkin cupcakes, I wanted to make sure you could really taste all of the different spices and the pumpkin flavor.
That said, while too little pumpkin spice is bad, no one wants to feel like they’re taking the cinnamon challenge eating a cupcake. Or, possibly, ever.
So, here’s how to make the best pumpkin spice cupcakes that have cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar, and pumpkin… that, essentially, taste like a cake version of pumpkin pie.
- First, preheat your oven to 350°F and line your muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
- Then, cream brown sugar, sugar, and butter together in large bowl and mix them for 3 minutes on medium-high speed.
- While your mixer is blending these ingredients, combine your spices. Place cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and pumpkin pie spice in small bowl and stir together. If you’re used to tasting dry spices, go for it and adjust the ratios to fit your palate. If you are not a weirdo like us, then simply use the amounts indicated below.
- Then, combine the rest of your dry ingredients (the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a medium bowl. Add the spice mix and whisk to combine.
- Add the two large eggs one at a time to the butter mixture. Let the mixer do its magic on the first egg for 30 seconds before you add the second one.
- Add the pumpkin puree, followed by the vanilla extract. Mix until these are fully combined.
- Turn the mixer down to low speed and add half of the flour mixture. If you do this on high speed, you’ll get flour all over you and and kitchen. Which is delicious… but not conducive to actually making cupcakes.
- Let the ingredients mix until just combined. Beating them too much will lead to stiff cupcakes.
- Add half of the sour cream. Add the remaining flour mixture, let it combine with the rest of the ingredients as before, and then add the rest of the sour cream.
- Fill the cupcakes liners in your prepared muffin tin with pumpkin batter using a size 12 ice cream scoop or a 1/4-cup measure.
- Bake the pumpkin spice cupcakes for 20-25 minutes or until tops bounce back when pressed lightly or when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cupcakes from the oven and place the tin on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin and let them cool completely and reach room temperature before adding the cinnamon cream cheese frosting.
How to Make Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
To take these pumpkin spice cupcakes to the next level, you’ve got to add the the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. It adds a touch of heat, and really helps these cupcakes epitomize the feeling of fall.
If you’ve ever struggled with making cream cheese frosting, here’s how to make sure it doesn’t get runny on you: Add the sugar last, and don’t overdo it.
I used to think that adding more powdered sugar would solve the problem. Nope. It just dissolves and makes the frosting even runnier.
To make the cream cheese frosting with the perfect consistency, place your mixing bowl in the fridge for ten minutes. While it’s cooling, combine the confectioner’s sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Then, place your cold butter in the cold mixing bowl and then mix it using your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 30 seconds on medium high. Add the cold cream cheese and beat it for 90 seconds on medium high. Add the vanilla extract and sour cream and beat it for 30 seconds.
Finally, add the confectioner’s sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon mixture and beat it for 10 seconds on low to allow the ingredients to come together, then turn the speed up to high and beat it for 80-90 seconds. Transfer the cinnamon cream cheese frosting to a piping bag and decorate your pumpkin cupcakes.
Want more pumpkin recipes? Try these!
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese FrostingPrint Recipe
- ½ cup brown sugar (packed)
- ½ cup sugar
- 6 Tbsp. butter (room temperature)
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch freshly-ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- ¼ tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. coarse kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup 100% pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup sour cream (divided)
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1¼ cup confectioner's sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 5 Tbsp. butter (cold)
- 8 oz. cream cheese (cold)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
- Cream brown sugar, sugar, and butter together for 3 minutes on medium-high speed.
- Meanwhile, create spice mixture. Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and pumpkin pie spice in small bowl. Adjust to taste if needed.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Add spice mix. Whisk to combine.
- Add eggs, one at a time, to butter mixture. Let each combine for 30 seconds.
- Add pumpkin puree. Add vanilla extract. Mix until fully combined.
- With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix until just combined. Add 1/4 cup sour cream. Repeat.
- Fill the prepared muffin tin with pumpkin cupcake batter using size 12 ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measure.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops bounce back when pressed lightly. Remove from oven and place on cooling for 10 minutes.
- Remove pumpkin cupcakes from muffin tin and let cool fully on rack.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Chill mixing bowl in fridge for 10 minutes.
- Combine confectioner's sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl.
- In mixer, beat butter for 30 seconds on medium high. Add cream cheese and beat for 90 seconds.
- Add vanilla and sour cream and beat for 30 seconds.
- Add sugar mixture and beat for 10 seconds on low to allow mixture to combine, then 80-90 seconds on high.
- Transfer cream cheese frosting to piping bag and decorate pumpkin cupcakes
My background is in publishing (I've worked at Parade, Men's Journal, Us Weekly, Stuff, Blender, Beachbody, and more), mostly with a focus in health, fitness, and entertainment. I've also run my own baking company and competed on Cupcake Wars, so hit me up with your baking questions!
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