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Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes are easy to make afternoon snack on weekdays. Adorn them with a pretty cream cheese frosting swirl and a caramel drizzle for a fancy dinner treat on the weekend.

Decorated cupcakes on a white plate.

updated from October 2010


Cupcake with a bitten mark.


These moist pumpkin cupcakes are packed with delicious pumpkin flavor and your favorite fall spices.

First, you need bring all the ingredients to room temperature. Allow butter and egg sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before preparing the cupcake batter.

Several bowls with cake ingredients.
  • To whip up the cake batter, use a stand or hand-held mixer. In a large mixing bowl on medium speed cream room temperature unsalted butter with brown and granulated sugar. Then beat in room temperature eggs and Vanilla Extract (steps 1- 3).
  • Pumpkin flavor comes from a store-bought pumpkin puree or homemade pumpkin puree. Don’t use pumpkin pie filling (steps 4-5).
  • I’m a huge fan of cinnamon so added an extra teaspoon along with pumpkin pie spice. Into a separate bowl sift cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt (step 6).
  • This batter is pretty dense when you make it. To make it light and airy, this cake batter relies on baking powder and baking soda for a light and fluffy texture. Why am I using baking soda along with baking powder? This recipe calls for buttermilk and brown sugar. Both are acidic. The acid in buttermilk and brown sugar along with the liquid activates baking soda. This reaction produces carbon dioxide which causes cake batter to rise and become fluffy and light.
  • On low speed, into the pumpkin batter, gradually, alternating beat in flour mix and buttermilk (steps 7-8).
  • Don’t have buttermilk. They are at least 6 ways to make buttermilk at home.
Large teal mixing bowl with pumpkin cake batter.


Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and fill each cavity with ¼ cup of cake batter. Tap the pan on the counter to release any large air bubbles. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the raised cupcakes comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes onto the cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting (steps 1-4).

Muffing pan with unbaked and baked cupcakes.


This frosting is so delicious. You’ll be licking your fingers before you know it.

Cupcake decorated with a swirl of frosting.

Remember to bring cream cheese and butter to room temperature before making the frosting.

Small colorful bowls with cream cheese frosting ingredients.

I flavored cream cheese with instant coffee dissolved in vanilla extract. Yes, you can use a coffee flavoring if you don’t have coffee in the pantry.

Pour coffee granules into the vanilla extract. Let sit for a minute and then whisk until smooth.

Small orange cup with vanilla extract and coffee granules.

In a mixing bowl cream both, cream cheese and butter until smooth (steps 1-3). Gradually beat in powdered sugar and coffee-vanilla mixture. In this recipe I use heavy whipping cream but if you don’t have heavy cream you don’t have to use it. I use it to make the frosting a fluffier.

Teal bowl with cream cheese frosting.


Fit a large piping bag with a piping tip #1M.

Piping bag fitted with a star tip and filled with frosting.


Onto each cupcake pipe a simple swirl of frosting. Drizzle thick caramel over the swirl and decorate with edible chocolate pearls.

Green plate with three decorated cupcakes.

If frosting become soft while you pipe the swirls, refrigerate it for 5-10 minutes.

Cupcake decorated with a swirl frosting.


  • Don’t beat the cupcake batter on high, beat at low to medium.
  • Remember to bring the ingredients to room temperature
  • Yes, you can use mini chocolate chips in the cake batter, stir in 1/4 cup of mini chips coated in flour to the cake batter.
  • If frosting become soft while you pipe the swirls, refrigerate it for 5-10 minutes.
  • I don’t like cream cheese frosting what else can I use? I think German Buttercream would pair nicely with pumpkin cupcakes.
  • These cupcakes can be made ahead of time. Store frosted cupcakes in the fridge for up to 5 days, covered in an airtight container. Or undecorated cupcakes can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Three decorated cupcakes.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Easy to make moist Pumpkin Spice Cupcake with Latte Cream Cheese Frosting.
This recipe makes 12-16 cupcakes
Course Cake, cupcake, Dessert, Frosting
Cuisine American
Keyword latte cream cheese frosting, pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin spice cupcakes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 16
Author Hani B.



  • 1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter (113 grams)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed (215 grams)
  • 2 large eggs
  • cups thick pumpkin puree (300 grams)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups cake flour (260 grams)
  • tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper (omit if you don't want cupcakes too spicy)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (120ml)


  • 4 oz cream cheese (226 grams)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (480 grams)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (170 grams)
  • tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbsp Instant Espresso Granules
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream (optional)



  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • In a bowl sift cake flour (2 cups), baking powder (1 ½ teaspoon), baking soda (1 teaspoon), cinnamon (1 teaspoon), pumpkin pie spice (1½ teaspoon), and salt (1/2 teaspoon).

Pumpkin Cupcake Batter

  • In a bowl on medium speed beat room temperature butter (1/2 cup), with granulated sugar(1/4 cup) and brown sugar (1 cup). Beat in eggs (2 eggs), beat in 1 egg at a time. Gradually beat in pumpkin puree (1¼cup).
  • On low speed, beat in the flour mix, alternating with room temperature buttermilk.

Bake Cupcakes

  • Divide cupcake batter into a muffin pan lined with cupcake liners. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before frosting.


  • Dissolve espresso granules (1 tablespoon) in vanilla extract (1½ teaspoon).
  • In a bowl cream butter (3/4cup) and cream cheese(8oz, 226grams) until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in powdered sugar (4 cups), and dissolved espresso powder. Beat until thick. Then if using beat in heavy cream (2 tablespoons).


  • Spoon frosting into a piping bag fitted with a piping tip #1M. Pipe swirls onto each cupcake. Drizzle caramel over the swirl and decorate with sprinkled or chocolate pearls.


How to make buttermilk at home? – You can use one of these 6 ways to make homemade buttermilk.
I don’t have pumpkin pie spice, what spices should I use in the recipe? – In place of pumpkin pie spice use 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, and 1/8 tsp cloves.

Did you make this recipe? Tag @hanielas on Instagram and hashtag it #hanielas

This post was originally published on October 29th, 2010 . On July 12th, 2022 I updated this post with new step-by-step photos and written text.

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  1. Oh my goodness!!! These cupcakes are BEAUTIFUL! Seriously, they are the prettiest cupcakes I've seen in a long time! And they sound like they taste just as good as they look!

  2. HOLY COW!! Those are SOOO beautiful and sound SOOO amazignly delicious too!!! I may have to crash the Halloween party so I can have one (or three!). These are really special Haniela!

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