Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Thanksgiving!

I had not originally planned to share these cupcakes. I was not super enthused about making them, is the honest truth. But Sammy had requested pumpkin cupcakes for her birthday celebration at school, so, being a good mother who only forces dessert choices on her kids for about half of their birthday celebrations, I tried to oblige her.

They turned out fantastically.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

What makes these cupcakes so special? For one thing, they are not gummy–one of my major complaints with pumpkin baked goods. For that I give complete credit to Martha Stewart, whose recipe I was working with. But for the second thing, I added more cream cheese to the frosting. With all due respect to Martha Stewart, most frostings are just too sweet for me. Based on the reaction I got to these cupcakes, I would say that I am in good company. The extra 4 ounces of cream cheese that I added to the frosting gave it oomph. It is tangy and not too sweet and it complements the cupcakes perfectly. Between Sammy’s classmates and my family’s greed enthusiasm, I only got one of these babies and editing the photos was darn near painful. I lusted for another one.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

You will have to excuse the decorating job. I am not, I repeat not, good with my hands. I promise you a feast for your taste buds, I do not promise you a feast for your eyes! The very fact that I used a plastic bag with a decorating tip was exciting to Sammy and Alex!

pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
The recipe is closely adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes.
Recipe type: cupcakes
Cuisine: dessert
Serves: 32
  • For the cupcakes:
  • 4 cups cake flour, fluffed, spooned and leveled
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 1 t fine sea salt
  • 2 t Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • ½ t freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ t ground cloves
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2½ cups packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I used full fat)
  • 1½ cups canned pumpkin puree
  • For the frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 lb (4 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 t vanilla
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Have ready enough muffin tins for 32 muffins--line them with paper liners. Lightly spray the pans with the paper liners in--this will make it easy to remove the liners from the cupcakes. If you have leftover empty muffin wells, fill them with about ¼ cup of water each (I used 3 pans, baked in 2 batches, and the third pan did indeed have empty wells).
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. Beat the butter until creamy with the spices. Add the brown sugar and beat until lightened and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat that in.
  5. Add the flour mixture in 4 additions, the buttermilk in 3 additions, alternating, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Keep the mixer speed at low for this.
  6. Add the pumpkin puree. Beat until just combined--I usually finish the job by mixing with a spatula and making sure to scrape the bottom and sides.
  7. Divide the batter between the 32 lined cups; fill the liners ¾ full. (It is fine if some of the batter needs to wait on the counter because you don't have enough muffin pans for all of the cupcakes to bake at once.)
  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating front to back and top to bottom halfway through. The cupcakes are ready when they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean or with only a few crumbs attached.
  9. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 7-10 minutes and then turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Preparing the frosting: beat the softened butter and cream cheese until creamy and completely blended. Add the vanilla and salt and beat in. Then add the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating until the frosting is creamy, somewhat fluffy (this frosting calls for more cream cheese than the original, somewhat fluffier recipe, but is tangier as a result).
  11. Frost the completely cooled cupcakes. If desired, place a decorating tip in a frosting bag or ziplock bag and fill the bag with frosting. Decorate in swirls. Pretend to your children you know what you are doing.



  1. says

    Oh yum! And I think the frosting looks pretty, you did a nice job! I am not quite over pumpkin…close but not there yet. Isn’t there another week in November still? I’ll stop my pumpkin cravings by December for sure!

  2. says

    Pumpkin cupcakes are tops in my book! Especially with cream cheese frosting! That’s the best. I’m bad at making frosting look bakery perfect – I prefer a more rustic look. I’m glad they were a hit!

  3. says

    I always prefer my cream cheese frosting on the tangy side…otherwise why not just use buttercream if you want it absurdly sweet?? Sammy is a girl after my own heart!! LOVE pumpkin!

  4. Irene says

    I made these this morning and my family LOVED them!!! They are moist and full of flavor.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

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