Traditional recipes

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Jane Bruce

Pumpkin Cupcakes

While for many people, the coming of autumn means fall foliage, comfy sweaters, and hot apple cider, to me the changing of the season means one thing: it's pumpkin time! Pumpkin is one of my favorite flavors, and when the weather cools, it's time to incorporate it into as many dishes as possible.

These cupcakes are a tasty way to welcome the chilly temperatures. And that little crumble of Heath bar on top just takes them over the edge. Whip up these cupcakes for a taste of fall's best flavors all in one bite.

Click here to see Cupcakes Galore.


For the cupcakes

  • 1 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 Cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 Cup vegetable oil

For the frosting

  • 8 Ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 Heath bar (or other toffee bar), chopped finely


Calories Per Serving515

Folate equivalent (total)46µg12%

Riboflavin (B2)0.2mg11.5%

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Is Thanksgiving really only two weeks away? November is flying! It’s officially time to get the Thanksgiving menu plan in the works. And today I’ve got the perfect non-pie dessert option for all the non-pie eaters celebrating Thanksgiving with you this year! (Scroll to the bottom of this post for even MORE Thanksgiving menu ideas!)

These pumpkin cupcakes are divine. If you like pumpkin, this cupcake was made for you. They’re so moist and pair amazingly with that maple cream cheese frosting. This is a perfect non-pie dessert option! Autumn in a cupcake for sure.

Thanksgiving is definitely the holiday of pies, but it’s so nice to have something not pie to eat after dinner. These cupcakes are a great option and they come together easily. You can even make them a day in advance and you’ll be set! You bet they’ll be on our dessert table this Thanksgiving!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Icing

I used some almond flour in this particular recipe, but it is easy to replace. To make this recipe nut-free replace the almond flour with a medium weight flour, such as sorghum, millet, or even buckwheat.

1 cup sorghum flour (GF oat flour or brown rice flour)
1 cup organic light brown sugar
3/4 cup potato starch or tapioca starch
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1/4 cup almond flour or hazelnut flour
1 teaspoon gelatin or xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1 cup canned organic pumpkin
2 organic free-range eggs, beaten or egg replacer*
2 teaspoons Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract (or your favorite vanilla extract)

For the icing:

2 cups powdered sugar, more if needed
1/4 cup chilled vegan cream cheese (or soft dairy cream cheese)
2-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup, as needed

1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a 12-muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: sorghum flour, light brown sugar, tapioca starch, white cane sugar, almond flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, sea salt, and nutmeg.

2. Add in the coconut oil by pieces, cutting in with a pastry cutter or your mixer's whisk/whip attachment, until the mixture is sandy. Add in the pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla, and beat on medium high for 1-2 minutes until the cake batter is smooth and stretchy.Spoon the cake batter into the 12 cupcake liners and smooth out the tops.

3. Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven for 22 to 25 minutes or so, until the tops are firm but springy. Ovens vary widely, so watch these babies and check with a cake tester if you need to.Cool in the pan only briefly, until the cupcakes are cool enough to handle. Then remove them from the baking pan and cool on a wire rack for one hour before frosting. Meanwhile, make your icing.

4. Pour the powdered sugar into a clean mixing bowl and add the cream cheese. Start beating to combine the cream cheese and sugar. Add pure maple syrup a tablespoon at a time, just until the frosting is soft and smooth. I only needed 2 tablespoons. Beat on medium-high for a minute or two until the frosting is glossy, fluffy and smooth. Cover and chill as the cupcakes cool.

5. Use a clean icing knife to frost the cupcakes. Chill in the fridge briefly to set the frosting. To store your extras: top each chilled/set cupcake with a square of parchment paper, then wrap, bag and freeze.Makes 12 cupcakes.

To replace the eggs in cupcakes I have had excellent luck using Ener-G Egg Replacer in this recipe, replace with 1/4 cup liquid equivalent.

If you prefer a buttery frosting, replace the vegan cream cheese with a good tasting vegan butter, such as Organic Earth Balance, or use organic coconut oil. Add vanilla or maple extract.

  • 3 cups baking mix (such as Bisquick ®)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 4 ½ cups confectioners' sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease or line 36 muffin cups with paper liners.

Beat baking mix, pumpkin puree, white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, 1/4 cup butter, milk, and pumpkin pie spice together in a bowl using an electric mixer on low speed until well mixed spoon into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter together in a bowl using an electric mixer on low speed until smooth and creamy. Beat 2 cups confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract into creamed butter mixture on low speed until well mixed increase to high speed and beat until fluffy. Gradually pour 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar into frosting and beat on medium speed until frosting is thickened.

Spoon frosting into a resealable plastic bag and snip 1 corner. Pipe frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.

How do you make pumpkin cupcakes?

Add the pumpkin to your mixing bowl and mix to combine.

Spoon pumpkin mixture into muffin cups 2/3 of the way full until all of your tins are full.

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

For the cinnamon cream cheese frosting, in a large mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.

Add cinnamon, vanilla and salt to the mixture and then slowly add in the sifted powdered sugar in batches until all has been incorporated.

Small batch pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

Oh man, these cupcakes. These cupcakes! I know there are a million pumpkin cupcake recipes out there, but this one is special to me, if only because it took me about six tries to get right. (Which is kind of weird, now that I think about it, given that I just said that there are a million other recipes I could have chosen.)

The main reason I didn’t simply try others’ recipes for this was because I wanted to figure out a recipe that yielded only a half-batch of six cupcakes, not twelve or two dozen — though I ended up making more than two dozen by the time I was happy with the recipe. Go figure. (It’s a very good thing my dad likes pumpkin, because he had these every day when I was home thanks to my experiments.) Baking for two means that I need recipes that I know are just as delicious as large-scale ones, but won’t be hanging around for so long that we get sick of trying to finish them all.

Pumpkin muffins, with frosting. Take one.

The first recipe I tried (above) was an amalgamation of several pumpkin cake recipes I found, which I then divided by three. I don’t really know why I thirded it — maybe the ease of the numbers — but it gave me … seven cupcakes. Sigh. (Bowl #2 called it a “skinny baker’s dozen.”) And, though they were delicious, the height of the domes, the crackled top, and the somewhat dense consistency reminded me more of pumpkin muffins than cupcakes (I frosted them anyway).

Less flour, pumpkin, sugar, too much leavener. Flat tops. Take three.

Then came three or four batches where I attempted to bring the recipe down to six cupcakes. I played around with the pumpkin-to-flour ratio, the amount of sugar, the amount of oil, and finally the leaveners. Each time was almost right, but the leaveners in particular made the cupcakes a bit too delicate, with a very flat top that tended to spill over and stick to the cupcake pan. Lesson learned — too much baking soda and baking powder can cause your cakes to rise too quickly, run over the edges, and stay flat, without forming domes!

Perfection! Subjectively speaking.

Finally, I arrived at this version. The cake is wonderfully moist, but not dense the crumb is light, but still substantial the tops are just slightly domed, but smooth and not at all like muffins. And it’s just the right balance of spice and pumpkin, in my opinion. (OK, a small admission — there’s still a little extra batter, but if you’re like me and fearless in the face of salmonella, well, then there’s just the right amount.) Oh, and I can’t forget about this maple cream cheese frosting, which is just incredible — it’s based on the Smitten Kitchen recipe, with just a bit more confectioners’ sugar for extra structure. Please try these, I think you’ll really like them if you do!

Pumpkin Cupcakes, Half-Batch
yields 6 regular-sized cupcakes. (Note: I also made these as mini cupcakes for a party, and it will yield about 18-20 minis, baked at 350 for about 10-12 minutes.)

1 egg
3 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
1/3 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, slightly heaped
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger*
1/8 tsp ground cloves*
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg*
1/8 tsp salt

*alternatively, simply add 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 6-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl, vigorously whisk the egg and sugar together until creamy. Add vegetable oil, Greek yogurt, pumpkin, and vanilla extract, and whisk again until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix until incorporated, taking care not to overmix.
4. Fill liners to 2/3 full or less for these. I filled mine about 3 tablespoons of batter each, using a 1/4 cup measuring cup. You will have a little bit of extra batter left. Bake for 18 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean, and tops spring back when touched.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (based on Smitten Kitchen)
will yield just enough for six cupcakes (about 1/3 cup of frosting). Easily doubled if you want to pipe the frosting instead.

2 oz (¼ package) Neufchatel cheese or regular cream cheese, softened
1/2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (you may need to adjust depending on resulting thickness of the frosting)
1 tsp maple syrup

1. If mixing by hand, whisk together cream cheese and butter first until very smooth. If you’re mixing by hand, it will greatly help if the cream cheese and butter are quite soft beforehand. Add in the sugar next and whisk vigorously until smooth. Last, add the maple syrup or molasses and whisk again until incorporated. You may need to add a bit more confectioners’ sugar after you add the syrup.
1(a). If you’re lucky enough to have an electric mixer or stand mixer, just throw everything into a bowl and beat on high speed until fluffy. Ta-da!

Note: I’ve since tried this maple brown butter cream cheese frosting by Tutti Dolci and it blew my mind — you have to try this. I devoted a whole post to it even though (1) it’s not my recipe and (2) the pictures were crappy. It’s really, really good.


Who’s ready for the perfect fall flavor combo- Pumpkin & Maple!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or Oakhurst sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Oakhurst milk
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • ¼ cup Oakhurst heavy cream or Oakhurst Maple milk
  • ½ teaspoon maple extract or ¼ cup maple syrup


Preheat oven to 350 F and grease and flour a 9×13 inch glass baking dish.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

Mix together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add in the egg whites, one at a time, then the whole egg. Then add the vanilla, pumpkin puree, and yogurt and mix until well combined.

Add in some of the dry ingredients, then some of the milk. Continue alternating until all the ingredients have combined together.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake springs back when touched.

For the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar in batches, then add in the heavy cream and maple syrup and mix together until smooth.

Frost the cooled pumpkin bars and top with pumpkin spice, if desired. Cut into bars, serve, and enjoy!

Celebrating Sweets

I told myself that I would not post a pumpkin recipe until October. I’m always too eager to jump on the fall band wagon and by November I am burnt out on pumpkin and apple everything. This year, I held off a little with the hope that I will be able to enjoy fall foods for months to come.
For my first pumpkin recipe of the season, I wanted to make a simple pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting. In my opinion, there is no better topping for pumpkin cake, bread or muffins than cream cheese frosting. It’s the perfect match. The cupcake and frosting recipes are adapted from Ina Garten (love her!) and they are amazing. The cupcakes are moist, generously spiced and incredibly easy to throw together. The cream cheese frosting has pure maple syrup added to it, which compliments the cupcakes perfectly. Now, these cupcakes and frosting are great on their own, but I wanted to add a little something to the top. I was going to simply add some chopped pecans, but then one thing led to another and before I knew it I had made a salted maple caramel to glaze the pecans in. Yes, my friends, Salted. Maple. Caramel. Pecans. I never knew such a thing existed. I just love it when I stumble upon something this delicious and unexpected! When the caramel was still warm, I mixed in chopped pecans. I then spread it onto a baking sheet to allow it to cool. Once cool, the caramel slightly hardens, which turn the pecans into crumbly, buttery, salty, sweet pieces of heaven. Part toffee, part praline, part salted caramel – so tasty! The pecan topping recipe makes more than you’ll need to top the cupcakes, but trust me, you will find plenty of uses for it (e.g. eating it by the handful).

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and Salted Maple Glazed Pecans
Makes 9 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated, if you have it)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a muffin pan or fill with 9 paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, sugars and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the 9 muffin cups and bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before spreading with frosting and topping with pecans.

For the frosting:
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (I used reduced fat)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly add in powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

For the salted maple glazed pecans:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon milk
2/3 cup chopped, toasted pecans

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Once melted, whisk in the brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and continue to boil for 2 minutes, whisking frequently. Add the maple syrup and boil 4 minutes longer, until the mixture has thickened, whisking frequently. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the milk and pecans. Pour onto a baking sheet that has been lined with foil. Allow to cool (this happens quickly, about 20 minutes or so), then break into small pieces. Top the frosted cupcakes generously with the pecans.

How to Make Ahead and Store Pumpkin Cupcakes

You can totally make these cupcakes ahead of time if you want. After they’re done baking, let them cool and then store them in an airtight container in the fridge.

The frosting can also be made ahead of time, and you’ll want to store that in the fridge too. I would suggest that you put this dessert together within 2 days… if you can wait that long!

These pumpkin cupcakes can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days, and unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in the freezer for 1-2 months. Make sure you thaw them in the fridge overnight before you frost them.

Reviews ( 7 )

I made these last night for our monthly birthday observance in Relief Society (our church's women's group.) I made sure my husband got to try one, and he said they are good, and that I should keep the recipe. They were a BIG hit with the ladies, and with the children who tried some of the extras! I used Pampered Chef Cinnamon Plus in place of the spices, and I'm sure it would be great with grocery store pumpkin pie spice instead of the individual spices. I tested with a wooden toothpick at 20 minutes, the minimum suggested, and ended up cooking them another 5 minutes to get a perfectly clean test. My Bosch mixer doesn't cream very well with small amounts, so I doubled the frosting recipe, and used about ¾ of the double recipe. I needed to use 1½-times the powdered sugar called for, because the amount given made a frosting too soft to hold its shape when piped.

Watch the video: Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting Gluten Free by Rockin Robin (October 2021).