Pumpkin Cupcakes

These pumpkin cupcakes are soft, fluffy, and topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting. A wonderful treat to make on crisp fall days and for each of your holiday parties.

Pumpkin cupcakes topped with cream cheese icing and star anise on a white serving tray accented with cinnamon sticks.
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Pumpkin Cupcakes Recipe

Pumpkin muffins are a popular spiced baked good to make during the fall, but what about pumpkin cupcakes? If you've been around this blog for long, you know that I'm a bit partial to a warm muffin.

But I'll be the first to admit that I'm a sucker for a good cupcake. They always have that perfect ratio of cupcake to frosting. And I mean, a cupcake is really the vehicle for frosting, am I right?

These moist pumpkin cupcakes are topped with the most incredible homemade cream cheese frosting. It's flavored with maple syrup and just creates the most cozy fall flavors.

This lovely pumpkin treat is made entirely from scratch, yet the recipe is so easy to make! And fluffy pumpkin cupcakes are something that everyone would enjoy — great for parties!

Strawberry shortcake cupcakes are perfect for summer. But these pumpkin cupcakes with warm spices are the ideal fall sweet treat. So let's get baking!

Why You'll Love this Recipe

You are going to adore this delicious fall recipe.

  • You can get bakery quality cupcakes for a fraction of the cost by baking them from scratch. Affordability does not mean you have to compromise on taste and presentation!
  • Make these yummy cupcakes for bake sales, parties, as a housewarming gift, or just because.
  • Not only does this recipe make tasty cupcakes, but they are also pretty. A great way to spruce up your dessert table!

This recipe is good for any time, but I would also like to give it a vote as a great Thanksgiving dessert that's not pie. Honestly it might be better than pumpkin pie? Jury's out — let me know what you think!

Pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon and anise.

Ingredients

Before you run to the grocery store, check your pantry and fridge to see what ingredients you have in this list. Then add everything else to your grocery list.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Here's everything you need for the best pumpkin cupcake recipe:

  • all purpose flour
  • granulated sugar
  • brown sugar
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • egg
  • coconut oil
  • milk
  • vanilla extract

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

And here's what you're going to need for that amazing maple frosting:

  • cream cheese
  • butter, softened
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • maple syrup

Substitutions and Variations

You can use a gluten-free 1:1 flour substitute, such as King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour, to make this recipe without gluten.

You can enjoy pumpkin season and make homemade pumpkin puree, or use canned pumpkin puree. Either will work great!

Don't have pumpkin spice on hand? Make your own pumpkin pie spice instead!

The cupcakes can easily be made dairy free with coconut milk, almond milk, or oat milk. However, I do not recommend using margarine or vegan butter in the cream cheese frosting. You could try using dairy free cream cheese though!

Reduce the amount of refined sugar in this easy recipe by swapping the brown sugar for coconut sugar. Maple sugar could be tasty in this recipe too, and it would draw in the flavor of the frosting even more.

I prefer to bake with coconut oil, but you can use vegetable oil, canola oil, melted butter or another neutral oil if that is what you have.

Use anything you want as a garnish on the cupcakes. Star anise looks so pretty, but you can also use pumpkin candies, pecans, sanding sugar or a dusting of cinnamon to make a cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

How to Make Pumpkin Cupcakes

Here's how to make this easy cupcake recipe:

Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C), and then line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Hot Tip: If you don't have cupcake liners, check out my post on how to grease a muffin pan. Following my tips and tricks, you should be able to grease a muffin pan really well and then bake as normal!

A bowl of pumpkin cupcake batter with a spoon in it.
Muffin liners filled with pumpkin cupcake batter in a muffin tin.

Whisk together egg, coconut oil, milk and vanilla extract in a medium bowl.

Then mix together flour, white sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and baking soda in a separate bowl.

Once combined, slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Then, using a large cookie scoop or a measuring cup, fill each cup in the muffin tins ¾ of the way full with cupcake batter. Bake your pumpkin spice cupcakes in a preheated oven for 20 minutes. Once done, the top of the cupcakes should bounce back to the touch.

Remove the baked cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pan until they are cool enough to handle. Then move move them to a wire rack to cool completely.

How to Make Maple Frosting

Once the unfrosted cupcakes are cool, you can make the homemade cream cheese frosting. Here's what to do:

A cake with butter and a whisk next to it.
A bowl of frosting and a whisk next to a cake.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Make sure to mix well so that you don't have lumpy frosting.

Once smooth and creamy, spoon the maple frosting into a piping bag and pipe it onto the top of completely cooled pumpkin cupcakes.

Garnish with a whole star anise, and serve!

Pumpkin cupcakes topped with cream cheese icing and star anise on a white serving tray accented with cinnamon sticks.

How to Store Pumpkin Cupcakes

It can be kind of difficult to store frosted cupcakes. If you know that you will have some leftovers, just leave the cupcakes unfrosted for easier storing.

However, frosted cupcakes will last for 3 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

A pumpkin cupcake with icing on a plate.

You can store unfrosted cupcakes using the same method listed in my blog on how to store and freeze muffins. But to save you some time, here’s the gist:

Store unfrosted fluffy pumpkin cupcakes in an airtight container, lined with paper towels to help collect condensation from residual heat. Make sure they are completely cooled for best results.

The best way to store cupcakes depends on how soon you want to eat them: 

  • Within 3 days of baking them: Store them on the countertop at room temperature. 
  • In the next few days: Store them in the fridge, but with the risk of a change in texture. Alternatively, store what you’ll eat in the next few days using the countertop method, then freeze the rest. 
  • Within the next 3 months: Store them in the freezer — thaw when you are ready to frost them and serve.
A serving tray with pumpkin cupcakes on a marble countertop.

Tips for Success

Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe:

  • Test the doneness of these yummy pumpkin desserts by poking a toothpick in the center of a cupcake. If it comes out clean, your cupcakes are done!
  • Be careful not to overfill each cupcake liner. You want a nice top on each cupcake to easily pipe the maple cream cheese frosting.
  • Add a star piping tip to your piping bag for a beautiful and uniform look to the frosting on each cupcake. If you do not have a piping bag, you can either use a plastic bag with a corner snipped off or use a knife to spread frosting onto each of the perfect cupcakes.

FAQ

Why are my cupcakes tough?

Tough cupcakes are typically a result of over-mixed dough. Make sure you are mixing the cupcake batter until it is just combined.

How do you frost cupcakes without a piping bag or tip?

There are two ways to frost cupcakes when you don't have a piping bag. Scoop frosting into a plastic ziplock bag and snip the corner off, and pipe as you would with a piping bag. Alternatively, you can scoop a big dollop of frosting onto each cupcake and then use a butter knife or spoon to smooth it out around the cupcake.

Three pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing and star anise on a wooden plate.

More Pumpkin Recipes

Did you make this recipe?

If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

Pumpkin cupcakes topped with cream cheese icing and star anise on a white serving tray.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

These light and fluffy pumpkin cupcakes are topped with a rich and creamy maple frosting. The best fall dessert and an easily shareable treat!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Author: Madison Wetherill

Ingredients

Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Maple Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ cup butter softened
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Place cupcake liners in a muffin tin and set aside. 
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg, coconut oil, milk and vanilla. 
  • In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugars, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until just combined. 
  • Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.
  • Fill each liner ¾ of the way with batter. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  • In a medium bowl cream together cream cheese, butter, powdered, sugar, maple syrup and vanilla until smooth.
  • Pipe on frosting or spread on with a knife.

Notes

  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow to come to room temperature before eating. 
  • You can use homemade or store bought pumpkin pie spice. 
  • Garnish with anise stars, pumpkin candies, or pecans. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 366kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 253mg | Sugar: 39g

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4 Comments

  1. I love anything with pumpkin so I had to try these and they did not disappoint. They were perfectly moist and full of flavor! I will definitely make them again!

  2. This was our Thanksgiving dessert and they didn't disappoint! The texture was perfect and we're all obsessed with the frosting. Several people asked for the recipe. Thanks so much!

  3. Every year I get so excited for pumpkin pie spice coffee, but I hadn't ever thought to try it in cupcakes. I loved it, especially with the maple-y frosting.