Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting are a family, fall favorite. These fluffy cupcakes are full of fall flavors and the maple cream cheese frosting perfectly compliments the pumpkin and spices without over-powering them.
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Pumpkin Cupcake Recipe
Pumpkin cupcakes are the only cupcakes I make from scratch because they are totally worth the small, extra effort. I’m just not big on baking but these are super yummy so I make them once or twice every fall.
We love these cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting but you can eat them without. These actually started out as a muffin recipe so we’ll still grab a frosting-free one for a quick breakfast. You can also make the frosting without maple as well, but it’s quite delicious so give it a try.
Pumpkin Cupcake Ingredients
You might not have all off these ingredients on hand but it’s worth a trip to the store for them. Before I started baking some of my fall favorite recipes, I didn’t have the spices that were needed. Once they’ve been bought, you’ll be able to use them for other fall recipes.
Here’s what you’ll need:
For the cupcakes
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree – one 15 oz can is perfect
For the frosting:
- 2 8oz packs cream cheese
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
I know it seems like a lot of ingredients but I’m telling you these cupcakes are worth it! Here are a couple questions you might have after reading those ingredients.
Can I use pumpkin pie spice instead of all those other spices?
The answer is yes! Personally, I like to have each spice so I can use them in other recipes but buying pumpkin pie spice could save you money. Use two tsp of pumpkin pie spice when substituting.
Do I have to use cake flour?
No, but your cupcakes won’t come out as fluffy. Cake flour is finer and softer than regular flour and produce less gluten. This make cupcakes come out with a much lighter texture. You can use all-purpose flour to make this recipe but cupcakes will be more dense and chewy.
Can I use whole milk instead of buttermilk?
Nope! You need the acid in the buttermilk to react with the baking soda to create light and tender cupcakes. Using regular milk will make dense cupcakes and that’s not what we want here.
I have pancake syrup at home. Can I use that instead of pure maple syrup?
I have used pancake syrup before and it turns out ok but not nearly as good. If you want to use it then go for it but pure maple syrup will give you much better flavor.
If you can make it past that list of ingredients then you are in for an amazing treat. Get ready for some fantastic smells in your house. Let’s get baking!
How to Make Pumpkin Cupcakes
You are going to want soft butter and cream cheese for these recipes. It makes mixing easier. I try to remember to set my two sticks of butter and two packages of cream cheese out on my counter about an hour before I start making my pumpkin cupcakes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I also like to get my cupcake liners in the tin so I’m totally ready to go.
2. You can use a hand or stand mixer to make this recipe. Start by beating one stick of butter and both sugars on medium until fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes.
3. In a separate bowl, sift cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. If you don’t have a sifter it’s not a big deal. I think this extra step helps mix the dry ingredients really well but it’s not a must.
4. Mix eggs into butter/sugar. Add the vanilla to your buttermilk.
5. Now, slowly add in half of flour/spice combo until it’s just mixed. Then the buttermilk and vanilla go in. Once that’s incorporated, add the last half of the flour mix.
6. The last thing to go in is the pumpkin puree. Mix that in until it’s all blended.
7. Fill your cupcake liners 3/4 full. Rap the pan on the counter a couple of times to get rid of trapped air bubbles and then pop them in the oven. Bake at 350 for 18-25 minutes. Everyones ovens are different so keep an eye on your pumpkin cupcakes so they don’t burn.
You can insert a toothpick in the center of the middle cupcake to make sure they’re done or gently push down on the top of the cupcake. If it dents then it needs a little more time. If it bounces back then they’re ready!
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting
Let’s make the frosting while we’re baking the cupcakes. This is super easy because you throw all 4 ingredients in the stand mixer and mix until they are all blended. If you don’t want maple cream cheese frosting then you can omit the maple syrup and add a little milk to the frosting instead.
Once the cupcakes have cooled you can use some decorating tools or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off to pipe on your frosting. Grab a glass of cold milk and enjoy!
Storing Your Cupcakes
If you bring these pumpkin cupcakes to a potluck or party to share with friends or family then you won’t have to worry about saving these cuz they’ll be gone. They’re too yummy to have leftovers. However, if you just make them to eat at home for a couple of days then you’ll need to know how to store them.
Only frost cupcakes you know will be eaten by the end of the day. Store the rest of the unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container and put them in the fridge. Store extra icing in the fridge too.
I like to take some cupcakes out of the fridge when I’m getting everything out to make dinner. This will allow the cupcakes to come to room temp by the time dinner is done and we’re ready for dessert.
Scoop some cold frosting into your decorating bag and message it with your hands for a minute to warm it up just a bit. Then frost the cupcakes as usual. If you don’t want to mess with a decorating bag then just use a butter knife to add a thick layer of frosting on. It won’t be as pretty but they’ll taste just as good.