Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes Recipe

Often when you see a product labeled as pumpkin spice-flavored, all you're getting is the spice combo (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice) that we so strongly associate with pumpkin pie. You'll find that ingredient in these cupcakes, but they're also made with actual canned pumpkin so they have a pumpkin pie flavor that recipe developer Jessica Morone says makes them the "perfect cupcakes for fall." 

To amplify the warm aromas, she sprinkles in additional cinnamon to supplement the pumpkin pie spice but says that you could just leave it out or add extra pumpkin pie spice if you prefer the seasoning blend as is. If you're a cinnamon fan though, you may well agree with her that "the flavor of these cupcakes with the combined spices is perfect." In this case, perfect means mouthwateringly delicious.

In addition to the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and extra cinnamon, there's one more fall flavor at work here — maple. Morone says that using maple syrup "adds a nice flavor to the frosting," and goes on to note that "maple and pumpkin just go so well together." Once you take a bite you'll be hard-pressed to disagree.

Assemble the ingredients for these pumpkin spice cupcakes

To make the cupcakes, you'll be using canned pumpkin plus the usual cake ingredients: sugar (brown and white are both used here), oil -– Morone uses canola but says it's "pretty interchangeable" with vegetable oil — eggs, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. The frosting is made with butter, cream cheese, vanilla, maple syrup, and powdered sugar.

Make the cupcake batter

Set the oven to 350 F so it can heat up as you make the batter and prep the muffin tins by lining them with paper cups. Mix the pumpkin puree with the brown and white sugars, oil, and eggs, then in a separate bowl stir together the dry stuff: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Now stir together the wet and dry components until your batter is homogeneous.

Bake the cupcakes

Grab your lined muffin pan and spoon the batter into each cup. Try to get a fairly even amount of batter in each to make uniform-sized cupcakes. Bake the cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes, at which point you should be able to stick a toothpick in the middle and have it come out clean. Let the cupcakes cool while you make the frosting. You'll have plenty of time to do so, as Morone tells us "You should let [the cupcakes] cool for at least an hour before adding the frosting."

Make the frosting

Mix the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer, then add in the vanilla and maple syrup. Once you have a smooth mixture, start adding the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Beat it in, then check the consistency and keep adding more sugar until your frosting is thick, yet spreadable.

Frost the cupcakes and enjoy

Do not try to frost the cupcakes until they are completely cool! If you frost them too soon, Morone warns that "You risk the frosting melting and becoming a mess." She mentions that if you don't want to eat the cupcakes right away you can freeze the unfrosted ones, then frost them later after you take them out of the freezer.

Spread the frosting over the cupcakes with a spatula or knife or use a pastry bag to pipe it on. Finally, it's time for the best part: dig in!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes Recipe
5 from 23 ratings
These pumpkin spice cupcakes are packed with fall flavors, from the pumpkin puree to the warm spices. Some maple syrup in the frosting completes the taste.
Prep Time
Cook Time
frosted cupcake with artificial pumpkins
Total time: 38 minutes
  • Cupcakes
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Frosting
  • ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and prep a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
  2. Combine the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, granulated sugar, canola oil, and eggs.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon.
  4. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients until fully combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between 12 lined muffin cups.
  6. Bake the cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  8. Stir the vanilla extract and maple syrup into the cream cheese mixture.
  9. Add the powdered sugar about a cup at a time, beating after each addition until the frosting reaches the desired consistency.
  10. Frost the cupcakes once they're completely cool.
Calories per Serving 496
Total Fat 24.3 g
Saturated Fat 9.4 g
Trans Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 67.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 68.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
Total Sugars 57.7 g
Sodium 316.8 mg
Protein 3.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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