These pumpkin cupcakes are packed with warm fall spices, with a tender crumb and delicious flavor. These won over both pumpkin fans and skeptics (and bonus: they’re on the healthier side).
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For whatever reason, cupcakes are not particularly in my go-to baking. I went through a bit of a muffin phase (with some of my mum’s being favorites, alongside carrot apple muffins and more) then it was back to a childhood favorite scones.
But as I was thinking of ideas for pumpkin week, it seemed about time to try some pumpkin cupcakes. And ideally with a slightly healthier twist. These tasty bites have all the warm fall spice flavor you would expect and are sweet but not overly so. And oh so good.
These cupcakes are also pretty quick to make and pretty forgiving. I think they taste great with a bit of cream cheese frosting, but feel free to change that to a favorite frosting.
I topped them with some cute little chocolate pumpkins as well, making them very much party-ready, but that’s optional too!
Are these cupcakes pumpkin or pumpkin spice?
In many ways, these are both! Fort a start, they contain real pumpkin, which gives them that fantastic warm orange color, as well as helping them to be really moist and tender.
Pumpkin spice is generally a mix of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, and sometimes allspice. That’s pretty much what we have in here (I often use allspice and cloves interchangably in baking).
So you can easily substitute a ready-blended pumpkin spice mix for the individual spices I use, if that’s what you have. I would just suggest adding a little extra cinnamon as it should be the dominant spice.
Should you use canned or fresh pumpkin?
Here I used canned pumpkin as I that’s what I had available And in fact, these are a great way to use up part of a can of pumpkin (great excuse!).
However you can also use fresh pumpkin – just roast and puree it before using, as I give directions for in my pumpkin pie from scratch. Don’t steam or boil it as it will become too liquid.
If you use fresh pumpkin, you may find you need to add a little extra milk to the cupcake batter if it doesn’t feel loose enough, since your pumpkin may be drier than the canned would be.
Now I’ll admit, these do tend to crack a bit on the top, as you’ll see. However to me that’s a small price to pay for being that little bit healthier, and the perfect excuse to cover it with frosting!
Generally, I just spread on a thin-ish layer of buttercream which uses around half the amount of buttercream compared to piping it on. Do whichever you prefer, or use your preferred frosting instead.
I got some cute little pumpkin topper moulds and made chocolate pumpkin toppers to add in as well to add to the cute factor. You don’t have to do this, of course, but it helps them be party-ready if you do.
The pumpkin cupcakes are wonderfully moist with a delicious spice flavor. They’re easy to make, relatively healthy, and enjoyed by all who tried here, so give they a go soon!
Try these other pumpkin sweet treats:
Plus get many more seasonal ideas in the fall recipes archives.
- ½ cup pumpkin puree 112g
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted and cooled
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 6 tbsp brown sugar 60g
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (or additional sugar – ½ cup in total)
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour 140g
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp ginger
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tbsp milk or a little more, as needed
For buttercream frosting
- 4 tbsp cream cheese
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter slightly softened
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Line a muffin tray with cupcake lines (paper or, as I used here, silicone).
- In a medium bowl or measuring jug, whisk together the pumpkin puree, egg, coconut oil, vanilla, brown sugar and maple syrup until well blended.
- Separately, measure out the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl. Whisk to blend.
- Add the pumpkin-egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir so evenly mixed, but try not to over-mix. Add the milk to help the mixture be slightly looser. If you use homemade puree, and depending on your flour, you may need a little more (the mixture will be relatively thick but should flow slightly).
- Spoon the mixture into the cupcake lines, filling them to roughly ¾ full. Smooth the top if needed. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until lightly brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
- While they are cooling, mix together the frosting ingredients, if using (cream cheese, butter and maple syrup) until well blended – I'd recommend using a small mixer/hand blender if possible.
- When cool, either pipe or spread the frosting on the cupcakes and serve.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline’s Cooking Amazon store.
Enjoy these #PumpkinWeek recipes from our bloggers:
Pumpkin Breakfasts & Baked Goods:
Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Quick Bread from The Crumby Kitchen
Chorizo Cheddar Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Fresh Pumpkin Quiche with Bacon and Sage from Palatable Pastime
Pumpkin Pancakes from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Roll from Seduction In The Kitchen
Pumpkin Spice Waffles from 4 Sons R Us
Butterscotch Pumpkin Pudding from Daily Dish Recipes
Easy Pumpkin Bundt Cake from The Bitter Side of Sweet
Pumpkin Brownies from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Marshmallow Creme from Red Cottage Cottage
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars from Sweet Beginnings
Pumpkin Creme Brûlée from Jen Around the World
Pumpkin Pie Dipped Oreos from The Mandatory Mooch
Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies from Kelly Lynns Sweets and Treats
Pumpkin White Chocolate Mocha Sauce from The Redhead Baker
Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Layer Cake from The Baking Fairy
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