Moist Pumpkin Cupcakes

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These homemade moist pumpkin cupcakes are light and fluffy, and packed with real pumpkin flavor and spice. This easy pumpkin cupcake is an all brown sugar cake recipe with maple syrup, cinnamon and pumpkin spice flavors. These cupcakes are topped with a silky cinnamon maple cream cheese frosting.

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A head on view of 4 pumpkin cupcakes on a white rimmed plate with a beautiful frosting

People often tell me that they don’t understand how I can resist the desserts that I make. I guess when you’re around at all the time it becomes less tempting, and thank goodness for that!

However, I’m human and I certainly have my weaknesses. One of these includes anything pumpkin- especially pumpkin cakes and bread!

Last week I started working on a recipe for a homemade pumpkin cupcake. I have a couple different versions that use cake mix but I really wanted one that was baked from scratch.

A pumpkin cupcake with the wrapper pulled away, topped with a swirl of cream cheese frosting

When the first batch came out of the oven I was so pumped, it was delicious it was moist and it had plenty of pumpkin flavor. But I also thought I could do better.

I continued baking cupcakes making small adjustments along the way until I found my favorite recipe. The following day I bought three versions of the cupcake recipe to work and asked my coworkers to do a taste test to determine their favorite.

It was a tough decision between recipe number one and recipe four but alternately recipe four was voted on unanimously.

A cupcake sitting in a vintage cupcake pan topped with frosting

These homemade moist pumpkin cupcakes are light and fluffy, and packed with pumpkin flavor. These cupcakes are topped with a silky cinnamon maple cream cheese frosting. Does it get any better?

This recipe uses all brown sugar, which I found to really bring out the molasses under notes in these cupcakes. I also added a touch of maple syrup and equal parts pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. I wanted these cupcakes to have a real spice flavor.

Sometimes I think it can be difficult to find a moist pumpkin cake that is both flavorful and also light and fluffy, but I am pleased to say that I achieved this task. The oil in this recipe helps maintains a really tender crumb.

A pumpkin cupcake is piping a swirl of cream cheese frosting on top

Since choosing a winner, I’ve also baked this as a 9 x 13” cake and as a three layer 8-inch cake just to be certain that it works across multiple recipes. This means more pumpkin cake recipes are coming!

I even made this recipe for a baby shower this past weekend. I dropped these off at my friends house, and within less than 60 seconds of leaving I received a text message: “Welp already crushed one. They are stupid amazingly good.  Thank you so much!!”

I can say without a doubt these pumpkin cupcakes are a winner. Plus, this recipe is so easy to make, you can use a hand mixer or even mix it by hand if you so choose.

A close up shot of a pumpkin cupcake topped with a swirl of cream cheese frosting

Once I had the cupcake recipe down, it was time to choose a frosting recipe.

Cream cheese frosting is certainly the most popular way to frost a pumpkin cupcake. I couldn’t settle for just any cream cheese frosting.

I added a little bit of maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon to the cream cheese frosting just to elevate the flavors and complement the cupcake recipe, which also has maple syrup.

A close up show of a pumpkin cupcake with a giant bite taken out of it.

I’m a bit obsessed with my cream cheese frosting, it’s silky smooth, not overt sweet and just melts in your mouth.

For this recipe I start with cold butter and cold cream cheese. This helps produce a more stable cream cheese frosting for piping.

Sometimes I like to put it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so before piping to let it firm up a bit more.

You can also prepare the frosting in advance and then pipe it the next day, which I often do. Store it in an airtight container. Just take the frosting out of the refrigerator about an hour before you want to frost your cupcakes.

An overhead view of several pumpkin cupcakes sitting in a vintage baking pan with cream cheese frosting

For 24 cupcakes, you’ll have more than enough frosting to go around and then some. I’m sure you’ll find an excuse to use up the rest! Cinnamon rolls anyone? Yeah, that’s that’s what I thought!

Can I make this as a layer cake?

Yes! You can make my recipe for Pumpkin Mascarpone Cake which is similar but made with a mascarpone whipped cream instead of a cream cheese frosting. Although you could still make it with this cream cheese frosting as well. 

Can I freeze these cupcakes?

I don’t recommend freezing the frosted cupcakes. You can however prepare the cupcakes in advance and freeze them. To freeze them, place the cooled cupcakes on a sheet pan and flash freeze, uncovered for 20 minutes or so. Transfer to an airtight container to store in the freezer. 

Slowly thaw to prevent additional condensation by first thawing in the fridge for several hours then transfer to the counter top and thaw until they reach room temperature. 

Frost the cupcakes once completely thawed. 

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A top down view of cupcakes on a white rimmed plate with a cream cheese swirled frosting

Moist Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • Author: Beyond Frosting
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 24 Cupcakes

Description

These homemade moist pumpkin cupcakes are light and fluffy, and packed with real pumpkin flavor and spice. This easy pumpkin cupcake is an all brown sugar cake recipe with maple syrup, cinnamon and pumpkin spice flavors. These cupcakes are topped with a silky cinnamon maple cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup milk (I use nonfat)

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, cold
  • 67 cups powdered confectionary sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

Instructions

  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  3. Next mix in the pumpkin and beat until well combined.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, combine all remaining dry ingredients. Then, add half the dry ingredients to the batter followed half the milk and beat until it starts to combine.
  5. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing on low speed while pouring in the milk and beating until all of the ingredients are well combined.
  6. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  7. Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full.
  8. Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.
  9. For the frosting: Cut the butter into 1-inch blocks. Beat the butter for 1-2 minutes until it is slightly softened.
  10. Then add the cream cheese and cream together for 2-3 minutes until they are fluffy and free of lumps, scape down the bowl occasionally.
  11. Slowly add the confectionary sugar 2 cups at a time, followed by the cinnamon vanilla extract and maple syrup and beat until desired consistency is reached.
  12. Add the remaining powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream and beat until desired consistency, at least 2 minutes.
  13. In a large piping bag fitted with a large open star pipping tip, pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.

Notes

  • Store cupcakes in an airtight container, refrigerate as necessary, removing 1 hour before serving
  • Frosting can be made in advance and kept refrigerated. Remove 1 hour before piping
Nutrition Information:
1 cupcake
427
50.9g
221mg
19.7g
12.7g
61.1g
0.8g
3.5g
63.6mg
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Pumpkin Cupcakes, Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Homemade Pumpkin Cupcakes

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64 Responses
  1. Rosie

    I made your recipe as written. It was a hit all around. I made as cupcakes, they came out a little more dense than expected but my oven is on the fritz. The icing was delicious! I was planning on filling the cupcakes but based on the comments (huge amount of extra icing) I did not double & had enough to stuff most. I read your comments on using regular cream cheese too late so added some meringue powder which helped. I can’t wait to try it again when I get my oven!
    Thanks again

  2. Melina

    I used this recipe for Glendale College cupcakes war before this thanksgiving and I won . I just want to say thank you for your amazing cupcake recipe. Easy and sooooooo delicious . It is my favorite cupcake.

  3. Jennifer

    I made these as cupcakes and they are amazing! Best pumpkin cupcakes I have ever had! I plan on making this recipe as a 9by 13 cake, do I still bake at 350? And how long for the cake?

  4. Kay

    I just made these… absolutely amazing! I had so much mix I made a large round cake and 10 cupcakes.
    I used gluten free flour and since I didn’t have nut milk I swapped for coconut cream, which imparts another gorgeous flavour with the pumpkin and spice. I also added finely chopped crystallised ginger for some texture. A seriously good recipe… this is going in my favourites!

    1. Archana

      Hi Julienne,
      Tried this recipe yesterday and it turned out to be delicious. The cupcakes were so light and the frosting complimented the spices in the cake. I reduced the sugar in the frosting to my liking and added hazlenuts & pecans on top; but other than that, did not alter anything. Thanks a lot for this recipe. Ohh btw, I love your website. The recipes you have posted are a delight to look at and makes me want to try everything. You inspire me to bake!

  5. Catia

    Thank you soooo much for this awesome recipe which made me win a 1st place at a cupcake contest in Luxemburg! ?The flavours are so comforting in this cold and rainy season…Thanks to it I have brand new KitchenAid!????

  6. Sandra

    I made these cupcakes, paired with my own cinnamon buttercream, as I’m not a fan of cream cheese frostings. These are by far the nicest pumpkin cupcakes I’ve ever had, and I’ve had many. Moist and packed with beautiful flavour, a stunner!

  7. Ezabel

    This recipe is amazing! I’m terrible at baking but followed the instructions closely and the cupcakes came out perfectly! So delicious and moist. Thank you for a great recipe, will be making again.

  8. Dawn

    I am super concerned about my cupcakes,the first batch is in the oven and they’re very wet I’m hoping that this additional 6 minutes will help them….any ideas?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      How did they come out? I am a little confused. Did you have to add 6 minutes after the suggested baking time? You could have overfilled them, meaning they would need additional baking time, your your oven may not have been fully preheated before you put them in, or your oven temperature is off. Are you baking at altitude?

    2. Dawn E LaFerney

      So they did bake longer about 30 minutes and turned out wonderful? I did substitute 1/2 cup of white sugar instead of brown. And same for baking soda had to use extra baking powder. I bought store brand cream cheese frosting and added teaspoon of maple syrup and cinnamon. I substituted 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract for almond extract, just because I really like it. And last I hand mixed everything. Great recipe!!

      1. Beyond Frosting

        Thanks for sharing Dawn. Anytime you alter a recipe, I would expect the baking time to change. Especially if you change the leveling agent. I am glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Sarah James

    Made the cupcakes they turned out amazing!! So Yummy!! Added chocolate chips to the cupcake batter.

    The only thing I did not like. The frosting recipe was WAY to much!!! I’m guessing the recipe was reduced for the cupcake batter but not for the frosting. I have enough frosting left to frost 2 full size cakes… after frosting 24 cupcakes. Anyone making this reduce the frosting to 1 cream cheese followed by the other requests to reduce… other than that everyone loved these and they are delicious ❤️

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Thanks for sharing Sarah!! In the recipe post, I do talk about having plenty of leftover frosting, but if you felt like you had enough for 2 full sized cakes, I be curious how much frosting you used on your actual cupcakes?

  10. Lila

    Would these be able to be frozen and unthawed later? I’m wanting to make these for my daughters birthday but I don’t want to rush last minute to make them all. I’d hate to possibly have them not turn out how I want them.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Lila! You could freeze the cupcakes without the frosting ahead of time. If you can make the frosting the night before that would work!

  11. Sharon Guion

    Fantastic recipe! Living in Australia, pumpkin pie spice is not something readily available, so I just googled it and made my own. I had ran out of maple syrup so just substituted molasses, worked a treat. Thank you so much for the fantastic recipe. ?

  12. Alyssa Winters

    Hi Julianne, these cupcakes are just amazing. I made it on Thanksgiving and those were delicious. Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. Lisa

    I made these for Thanksgiving. The cupcakes were great. My frosting turned out flat and sticky. I used 7 cups of powdered sugar. Any suggestions on how to make the frosting more firm?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Lisa, did you start with cold or room temperature cream cheese? Sometimes it’s helpful to refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes if it’s too soft. Thank you for the feedback, I am going to add that note in.

      1. Lisa

        Yes, both the butter and cream cheese were right out of the refrigerator. Do you think if I add more powder sugar it wouldn’t be so sticky?

        1. Beyond Frosting

          Hi Lisa, it’s hard to say without actually being there to see the consistency. If it was actually soupy, I am not sure what happened. Full fat cream cheese?

          1. Lisa

            Not soupy just really sticky and when I tried piping it it was flat. I do live in a very humid area. Maybe that makes a difference. I am going to make them again this weekend.

  14. CATHY

    I made these today for my husband’s office party. The reviews I received from everyone were that these were absolutely delicious and I should open my own bakery!
    Thank you for working so hard to perfect this recipe!
    When I make these for Thanksgiving, I’m thinking of adding a cream cheese filling with cinnamon chips!
    Thank you again for a great recipe!

  15. Adriana

    Awesome! I was looking for a cupcake recipe for my daughter’s 5 year birthday in October, and thought pumpkin would be cool, and found this! Cannot WAIT to try it !!!

  16. Jolie Hendrick

    Just made my first batch of pumkin cupcakes with this icing. They are to die for! I don’t have a kitchen aid so I had to use a fork to soften the butter and cream cheese . I used my hand mixer after that. Amazing! Love your recipes!

  17. Julie

    Made the pumpkin cupcakes this afternoon……..for whatever reason these took 21 minutes to bake……they are delicious and yet next time I will add chopped walnuts or mini chocolate chips. I add both of these items when making pumpkin chocolate chip mini loaves and love them. Will make again with these minor tweaks and already thinking for Thanksgiving! Thank you!

  18. Evelyn

    Good afternoon, I hope you are having a wonderful day I have a question. Me and Friend are having a bake-off to see who can make the best ¨Fall¨ cupcakes for a party coming up she is making sweet potato cupcakes because she doesn´t like pumpkin, But I am pumpkin spice all day LOL, I was wonder how would these cupcakes taste with a homemade caramel, I have been dying to make some by ¨Preppy Kitchen¨ and I wanted to match it with this. How do you think that taste together I don´t want it to be to over powering?? Thank for the feed back, and don´t stop baking!(Especially cupcakes, MY FAVORITE)

    1. Beyond Frosting

      First of all, you guys sound like the kinda of friends I want to have in my life! I definitely think that that salted caramel would go great in this recipe! Are you thinking of making it as a filling? Or a drizzle? Either way sounds awesome. I am cheering for you!

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