Cupcake Series: Pumpkin Cupcakes



Yes, yes, I do realize that pumpkin flavored goods are a rather controversial topic this time of year. We have our one camp of enthusiastic pro-pumpkin (spice) everything supporters who will live and die by the pumpkin, and we have our other camp of equally staunch anti-pumpkin protesters who would cheerfully ban all pumpkin products for the rest of the foreseeable future.

And to my anti-pumpkin naysayers, I say this: regardless of your personal opinions concerning a certain beverage popularized by a certain Seattle-based coffee chain, pumpkin flavored treats are the most thematically appropriate Halloween snack. I mean think about it, you’re literally devouring the flesh of the pumpkin people whose (exo)skeletons you are displaying on your front porch.

If that doesn’t say Halloween (and speak volumes of the strange and mildly disturbing inner workings of my mind), I don’t know what does.


(Also they supply a ridiculous proportion of your daily recommended dose of vitamin A. Which requires fat for proper absorption and therefore kind of justifies the cream cheese and oily goodness that supplies the moisture that keeps your cupcakes nice and fluffy? Yay beta-carotene!)

All that aside, this week’s recipe features deliciously fluffy and festive cupcakes, and totally double as a killer muffin, quickbread, or coffee cake recipe (especially if you’re going down the latte route with the coffee-pumpkin pairing). To be perfectly honest and slightly sacrilegious, I actually like these slightly better as muffins without the cream cheese frosting, although they’re still wonderful (and far more adorably photogenic) with!


(Besides, you can’t stick sprinkles to the unfrosted top of a muffin.)

At any rate, whether you’re in the mood for cupcakes or any other vaguely cake-y baked good, get in the Halloween spirit and bake up a batch of pumpkin cupcakes – your eyes will thank you! Hope you enjoy!

Happy almost-Halloween,


Pumpkin Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes


Pumpkin Cupcakes:
150 g (about 1 1/4 cup) flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 oz cream cheese, full fat or low-fat
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

To Serve:
Orange sprinkles


Pumpkin Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ºF. Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, then set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, mix together the oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until well combined.
  4. Beat in the eggs, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract until fully incorporated.
  5. Dump in the flour mixture all at once and whisk until just combined.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners and bake for 20-24 minutes, or until the top of the cupcake springs back when squeezed slightly.
  7. Set aside to cool!

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until fluffy and fully incorporated.
  2. Adding about 1/4 of the heavy cream at a time and beating well between each addition, whip in the heavy cream until the texture of the frosting is fluffy but stiff and holds stiff peaks that don’t bend over when the beaters are lifted out.


  1. Using a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (I used the Wilton 2A!), pipe a large, thick swirl around the top of the cupcake, spiraling from the outside inward. Dust with orange sprinkles and serve. Enjoy!



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