pumpkin-cupcakes Recipes

pumpkin cupcakes

Oh, people. I know you’re pumpkin-ed out and it is not even Thanksgiving yet. But if there could be room in your gullet for one more pumpkin love — perhaps even as a last minute, the-heck-with-pie, Hail Mary pass of a Thanksgiving meal dessert — I think that these wee cakes are a worthy cause.

paper linerspumpkin cake batterpumpkin cupcake battermaple cream cheese frosting

So many pumpkin cakes and loaves and muffins are heavy, playing off the dense qualities of pureed squash, and the deep, warm spices we like to eat them with. But these cupcakes — originally envisioned as a two-layer cake I believe my sister is frosting right! now! — are light. They still taste of pumpkin but not aggressively so. And the maple cream cheese frosting, my word, is so heaven sent, you can see I got a little carried away prettying it up.

piping a rose

The original recipe is from our friend David Leite, of the Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookie fame. But you know it is a true testament to his baking prowess to be able to make desserts that go from total decadence to this, a nicely balanced treat.

pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

How to make roses: I worked at a bakery in high school where I picked up some party tricks — ha! Okay, maybe not party tricks but I hadn’t tried to make a rose in a dozen years and was thrilled that I still somewhat remembered. But before you ask, let me assure you that my technique is anything but worth teaching. Instead, check out this video or this one if you want to try it at home. I promise; it’s not as hard as it looks.

pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

One year ago: Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes
Two years ago: Fettuccine with Porcini

Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple–Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from David Leite

Yield: 17 to 18 cupcakes

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pans
1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin

Frosting
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Make the cupcakes: Heat oven to 350° (175°C). Line a cupcake pan with 18 liners.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.

Add eggs, one at a time, to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners — you’re looking to get them 3/4 full. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely.

Make the frosting: In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Frost the tops of each cupcake, swirling decoratively. Refrigerate cupcakes for 30 minutes to set up frosting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

216 comments on pumpkin cupcakes

  1. Sarah

    These are beautiful! I have two cans of pumpkin puree sitting in my cupboard right now, and I’ve got some maple syrup left over from your pumpkin pie I made yesterday (SUCH a hit! I didn’t like pumpkin pie before then! Thank you!!).

    I can’t wait to try these out this weekend! :)

  2. lacrema

    Gah! Those are gorgeous. I want to make them immediately… even though I was in the kitchen for twelve hours today and will be again tomorrow. (Who invited 14 people to our tiny apartment???) Love the roses. They are massive and gorgeous. Is there a sprinkle of something on top of some of them? It looks like maybe nutmeg? *swoon*

  3. Valerie

    Deb,

    what the eck is up with those pictures? For the third day now I am unable to see *any* flickr pictures. Neither my contacts nor those on blogs. *grrh*

    Are you or anybody else able to help me out!?

    Thanks a lot,
    Valerie

  4. kasey

    I’m making your pumpkin bread pudding from last year right now! :) Honestly…I’m not sure it will make it to the Thanksgiving festivities tomorrow…I might just gobble it up tonight. :D

  5. Holy cow.

    Your roses … beautiful!

    Just curious if the cupcake would be okay without the frosting? I know, I know — the frosting is the best part of decorations, but there are many who eat what I make and don’t like it too sweet.

  6. it’s 6am and i’m rolling out my dough for the apple pear bourbon (like I’ll pass an opportunity to spike my pie!) pie – and I am seriously contemplating making these… hmm… see how you’ve derailed me?? :) Happy Thanksgiving I hope you and Alex enjoy!

  7. They look beautiful. It’s amazing you still remember how to do that without practicing for so long… I can’t even frost a cake properly, so I have a long journey if front of me to achieve such a pretty decoration!!
    Oh, and thank you for all the tutorial about pie crust. I organized a Thanksgiving party with a typical american menu (first thanksgiving for many of my friends), and everyone had to bring something. Your pie shell recipe helped a lot!!!

  8. deb

    Valerie — Either Flickr is now being blocked on your computer (work computer? accidental firewall situation?) or perhaps images. I’m not a techie, so can’t be sure about what is going on.

    Liz — You can buy either a pumpkin or a butternut squash is a nice substitute, halve it, scoop out the seeds, roast it until it is soft and puree it. Measure out that puree (once it’s cold) and you’ll be all set.

  9. So Beautiful! But don’t tell us the roses are easy, I’ll not be fooled again! I made your pistachio petit four cake for a friend’s baby shower last weekend (that, my dear Deb, was a masterpiece and had me blushing from the compliments) and spent a good hour trying and retrying to make marzipan roses. in the end, out of frustration, I looked at the pretty pink squashy rose in my hand, growled at it and ate it. No need to waste good marzipan, eh? I ended up using real flowers, which was pretty still, but not the crafty touch I’d hoped for. You are, my dear, phenomenal. Allez allez!

  10. GHarkness

    Well, the roses ARE easy. What’s hard is getting them from the flower nail to the cake or cupcake without getting them messed up. And THAT’s what wasn’t shown in the videos.

    Any chance you could comment on that? (Love the blog, BTW – lots of inspiration).

  11. Gigi

    Hiya Deb,

    I must pass on a compliment. Thanksgiving comes a day early in Oz. So today, for a mix of Aussies and Americans I made your:

    Caramelized Shallots,
    Corniest Corn Muffins
    Green Bean Cherry Tomato Salad
    Alice Water’s Apple Tart
    and your pickled cucumber salad (mixed with raw beets in lemon juice, roast pumpkin and pomegranate seeds)

    and of course a Turkey and a BBQ Lamb.

    The Aussies thought Thanksgiving was awesome and the Americans said it was a better feast than most of their own remembered thanksgivings. I am thankful for your blog miss Deb. Thank you for making and inspiring wonderful things time and time again.

    You made our Thanksgiving bright. (:

  12. deb

    GHarkness — I piped them right onto the cupcakes. Less “perfect” but much easier. P.S. At the bakery where I worked, the cake decorator used to use scissors to move roses. She’d cute under the rose on the nail and then open the scissor onto the cake to leave it there.

  13. Amanda :}

    i agree with #27, i’d probably just squeeze the maple cream cheese frosting right into my mouth and call the naked cupcakes “muffins”…. the evil things frosting will do to me :{
    i’m so jealous of your piping skills deb, absolutely gorgeous! especially with the sprinkling of nutmeg?cinnamon sugar?maple sugar?… whatever it is, it’s lovely.
    Happy Thanksgiving All!

  14. Hi Deb,
    I made your mom’s apple cake. It’s delicious, the best apple cake I ate ever. I put your recipe on my blog, with credits to yours, I hope you don’t mind.
    Regards from Lisbon – Portugal
    Moira

  15. VnV

    Wow! These look beautiful… you must be quite an artist! I love desserts with pumpkin and butternut squash and acorn squash in the winter…. the beautiful orange color and the baking aroma just gets me in the holiday mood.

  16. AmberLou

    These look great! Can’t wait to try them. I ended up getting stuck with the Thanksgiving dessert this year, and decided to make a pumpkin cheescake. One trick I learned from America’s Test Kitchen is to spread the pumpkin across several layers of paper towl first. This takes out a lot of the moisture that’s in your run-of-the-mill canned pumpkin. I don’t know if it would make a difference in your recipe, but it made my cheescake incredibly light.

  17. Deb,

    Where were you yesterday?!?!? I made the original recipe from my site–as a cake–and it was a hit. But those cupcakes are gorgeous! Wish I had had some of those on the table.

    David

  18. Ahh, you confused me for a moment with the directions for the icing. I mean, I know how to ice a cupcake, but was confused when you said to put one cake on another… and then realised it was a copy from the original recipe.

    (Good to know I’m not going nuts, because I kept going back up to look at the photos and try and find the cupcake-on-top-of-cupcake.)

  19. ghfoodie

    Deb,
    Those cupcakes look awesome and your right this recipe is great! My dad made this recipe 5 years ago when it originally came out in the LA Magazine. We had the cake for Thanksgiving that year and every year since my family has made this delectable treats. This year was no exception. My brother and I use fresh sugar baby pumpkins that we had roasted and pureed the day before and we topped the iced cake with some fresh raspberries we had on hand. Once again this cake was the crowning glory to a fabulous Thanksgiving meal. I can’t wait to try your adaptation and look forward to having fun frosting those roses. Thanks for the boundless ideas and vivid pics!

  20. Amber

    I made these tonight, with leftover pumpkin puree. The cake was absolutely fantastic–light and perfectly spiced. But I ran into a problem with the frosting. I could not for the life of me get the maple taste to come through. It was a perfectly delicious cream cheese frosting, but I upped the recipe to about 1/2 cup of maple syrup (the real deal, organic, dark amber, Vermont kind), and still, no one could taste maple. It was completely overpowered by the cream cheese. Like I said, still delicious, but I think I wouldn’t use maple syrup next time, because that stuff’s expensive! I’m wondering if maple extract might do the trick. Any thoughts? Did yours taste maple-y enough?

  21. I made these as mini-muffins, only because I feel more indulgent if I eat three mini-muffins versus one big one… oh, egads, the irony of how a mind plays tricks.

    Anyway, I was pretty darn proud of myself for actually baking a cupcake that didn’t come out like a piece of dried coral. The cupcake was perfectly moist and I loved the flavour, and if I had the hands to pat my back and congratulate me I surely would.

    The frosting though? I had to modfiy it a bit because I didn’t have enough cream cheese on hand, so I used some leftover cheesecake filling that was in the fridge with butter and (three-quarters of a packet of) cream cheese, plus the maple. There was a slight maple taste, but it definitely was more cheesecake-y. Not bad at all… but I’ll have to make it again the proper way.

    Anyway, thank you, Deb. I am trying to find the perfect recipe for a cutthroat work bake-off and may have stumbled on it!

  22. Tonya

    I just stumbled upon your blog and I’m glad that I did — these cupcakes sound delicious. Pumpkin is my fave. I just had to link to you on my blog.

  23. Melody C.

    I had a craving for something pumpkin about a month ago and found a great raisin bran pumpkin recipe. I’ve modified it a bit, discarding the oil and sour cream in favor of applesauce so now I eat these babies guilt free. Well, relatively guilt free until I top them with cream cheese frosting. I even made them as mini-muffins for a potluck last week and they were a hit! Oh, the joys of seasonal recipes!

  24. Beth Ann

    Thanks for the recipe Deb (and David)!
    I just finished making these. The cake is absolutely delicious–light and fluffy and tasty. The frosting is also incredible, but I ended up with a lot left over, as I didn’t make the roses. Will the frosting keep well in the freezer?

  25. Johanna

    So I made this cake into a bundt cake, but as I turned it over to cool on the rack, it broke into about 10 pieces. I was ticked off, as there were a lot of people expecting dessert the next day. My husband said, “Make it into a trilfe” I could not think of what would be good with a pumpkin cake base and he suggested Dulce de la Leche! So I broke up the cake, drizzled the sauce over it and covered it with home made butterscotch pudding. Topped with whipped cream mixed with maple syrup, it was “dulce de la licious”!!!

  26. michelle

    so we tried the flowers, but the cream that we used was not stiff enough and the floweres were drooping. I cannot have cream cheese, is there anything that you can suggest as a substitute?

  27. KLee

    michelle,

    If you can have egg whites, you can buy a can of powdered egg whites (Wilton makes it) and add a tablespoon or so to frosting to stiffen it up for decorating, or add more confectioner’s sugar. The powdered egg whites are available at Michael’s craft stores in the northeast US.

    Deb – wow, it never occurred to me to pipe roses onto cupcakes… you are one smart cookie! Thanks for the great inspirations!

  28. I made this in sheet cake form late last week. Oh.My.Gosh. Huge success. Not only were they probably the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth, they got devoured at the office, and the few pieces I left at my fiance’s house got FOUGHT over. I think I earned points, and it’s all thanks to you, Deb. Grazie!

  29. kat

    wooo. i picked up some of these at sprinkles but i could make these! on my own! although i’m not sure i could do the frosting as pretty as you did. but thank you for the recipe!

  30. AmberDawn

    I made this as a layer cake for a friends birthday a couple of weeks ago. It is everything Deb describes it to be, light and completly heaven sent. It was a huge hit and I will absolutely make it again and again and again. Mmmm…

  31. Meg

    I’ve been obsesssed with these since you posted this recipe and finally made them. I snuck and ate one warm, and it was delicious. I tried another one this morning for breakfast, and it was heavy and dry. Admittedly, I used light brown sugar instead of dark, but could that have been all I did wrong? Anyone have any thoughts?

  32. deb

    Hi Meg — Sorry, I am stumped. These cupcakes are very light and almost airy so it surprises me that they’d taste heavy. I wonder if there was an issue with the baking soda. Also, did you have them wrapped up overnight?

  33. Meg

    Thanks for your quick response. I think that was it — I didn’t want to cover them while warm so I left them out when I went to bed. Rookie error…

  34. I just made these! I was out of confectioners sugar (and maple syrup), so I ground some of my vanilla sugar in my spice mill and used about a quarter cup of eggnog instead of maple syrup.

    They are so good that we stayed up a bit late to have them for dessert tonight!

  35. Dancer who eats

    I made this in bundt cake form… it was very good but not fabulous. I would probably try this one again as a cupcake…. maybe I should increase the spices. Yes? Maybe? If it doesn’t improve, the pumpkin bread pudding will be my forever Thanksgiving dessert……

  36. Liz

    Deb, I discovered your blog about a week ago and now spend my days voraciously reading your archives! I absolutely love how your blog combines the three things I love most: writing, baking, and photography. You are a multi-talented woman! With that being said, this is my first comment…but far from my last. :) I am a HUGE fan of pumpkin anything and these cupcakes are just darling! And elegant at the same time! I loved the links to the videos about buttercream roses…I’m going to have to try my hand at that when I make these cupcakes!

  37. Linda

    Deb,

    I just discovered your website and I’m so glad I did! Your recipes are absolutely fabulous – and this one was no exception. I just made it yesterday. Good Lord, it was outstanding. My hubby said it tasted like it came from a restaurant. As a matter of fact, he was looking around for a bakery box or something – haaaa! I LOVE to cook and bake, so it was just amazing to make something that was well worth the time. BTW, I baked it in a glass 8×8 well greased dish, and it came out wonderful. I baked it for 35 minutes at 325 degrees (I read somewhere that if you use glass, you should lower the temp by 25 degrees). It came out moist and delicious. Thanks!

  38. Kristi_RN

    Hi! I just made these this morning! First of all, the photos are absolutely beautiful. I am pre-rookie stage, as far as baking goes, and it’s ALL experimental for me, as I was afraid to bake for years! So, keep that in mind. ;>)

    The cupcake itself was DELICIOUS. Light as air, beautiful color, but I ran into a little problem about halfway through- the spice wasn’t quite right. The batter tasted very, very bland for some reason, so I had to basically spice to my taste, and have no idea exactly how much of what went into it. Whatever amounts were there in the end, the cupcake itself was YUMMY beyond belief. I had just enough batter to bake 24 regular sized cupcakes from this recipe.

    The second ‘issue’ I ran into was that the frosting, as others mentioned, ended up not tasting very maple-y. I had no additional maple extract to try to deepen the flavor a bit, and was afraid that adding more syrup would make the frosting too thin? Even without the additional syrup, the frosting seemed a bit on the thin side. This is possibly because it was super-room-temperature, but am I understanding that to add more confectioner’s sugar (or powdered egg whites?) I would be able to stiffen the frosting a tad more when I make these again?

    As an aside, and someone else mentioned this as well, but I had a TON of frosting left. So much, in fact, that I am going to have to make another batch of cupcakes tonight or tomorrow because it’s so delicious I can’t possibly throw it away!!!!

    And, have no doubt- I WILL be making these all Fall long, because everyone I know who has tried one so far is clamoring for their own batch! Ultimately, I plan on perfecting my technique with these, so any tips that aren’t already mentioned here would be lovely. Thank you so much! I’m so excited to have found this blog!

  39. Laura

    I made these cupcakes last night…they are delicious! I cut the frosting recipe in half and had the perfect amount (I didn’t make the frosting roses).

    I always turn to your recipes when I have a craving for something sweet – and I’m never disappointed :).

  40. Yuuummmmm! I made these to take to a going away party tomorrow. They’re so great. I, too, added some extra spice (a few grinds more of pepper, some shakes of allspice and a good bit more of pumpkin pie spice plus more nutmeg and cinnamon). The frosting is fabulous. I also ahve lots of it leftover. Oh – and a little secret – sprinkle the top with some seasalt, that will intensify the maple flavor.

  41. ellissajane

    I think I used the wrong pumpkin because not only was my batter bright orange, but the taste just wasn’t that lovely spicy taste I was expecting. Beautiful rise though, I’ll have to see what went wrong. Any brand recommended?

  42. Diana

    I just want to thank you for this wonderful recipe! I just made 150 of these for my friend’s wedding. They were so light and fluffy! I had to ditch the cinnamon because of a family member’s allergy to it, but found a great balance with the spices by adding some allspice to the lineup. Also, everyone raved about the cream cheese frosting, but if you don’t like your frosting on the extreme sweet side (as I do not) then I would suggest cutting back a little bit on the powdered sugar.

  43. Katie from Vermont

    I just made these for a friend’s birthday- these are hands down the best cupcakes I’ve ever made- or tasted! I was worried because the batter seemed really thick/almost frothy, but they were SO moist and flavorful. My frosting did come out a bit runny… not sure if maybe I should have beaten it a bit longer… but they were absolutely amazing.
    Thanks!

  44. cyndi

    Just made these and they’re amazing!! I, too, dealt with frosting a little on the runny side. They’re currently in the fridge “firming” up. Quick question – since they have cream cheese in the frosting do I need to store them overnight in the fridge? Will this dry them out?

    Thanks so much!! I can already tell these are going to be a new favorite :-)

  45. cantmakejusteggs

    I just made this recipe as a layer cake in two 9-inch rounds and it’s the most perfect cake I’ve ever worked with. For some reason, I can never get layer cakes to work right… either it’s so moist that I have to bake the crap out of it to get the center done so the side get burnt, or the middle isn’t done enough and is pasty, or the texture is heavy and off. But I could tell even as I was making up the batter that this would be good, and the cake rose so evenly– no water-soaked aluminum strips required! I ended up splitting each layer into two so I could frost three layers in between (a good way to use extra frosting, and why are all of you complaining about EXTRA cream cheese frosting as if this is a problem?) and the layers were so easy so move; they were soft, moist, springy, yet supple. Then I frosted the whole thing, covered the sides in roasted, chopped walnuts, and dusting the top with cinnamon. So awesome. Thanks so much for this recipe! It’s a real winner.

  46. Kelly

    I made these for a halloween party this weekend, and oh my goodness- they were absolutely delicious. The batter was actually quite spicy from the nutmeg, pepper, and ginger (I always lick the bowl- salmonella be damned!), but that spiciness baked out. The end result was a moist, flavor-packed cake- not too sweet but still sweet enough to give my sweet tooth a fix. The maple cream cheese frosting was also amazing, however the recipe yielded way more than necessary. It wasn’t too bad though- I was able to frost an entire cake the next day with the leftovers! Thanks so much for sharing!

  47. Wendy

    Oh my. You’ve done it again. These are insane. You are always my first stop when I am looking for a recipe. And I know your recipe will be so much better than any other version.

    One question though. I have been piping my frosting lately, but how do you get the tip out of the bag without making a mess when you’re done?

    1. deb

      Wendy — I wish I knew. It’s always a huge mess. (Well, if you use a coupler, the tip can stay on the outside of the bag. But the coupler is still a greasy mess.)

  48. Mary

    Delicious! A huge hit at work. Who knew cake flour could make such a difference?! A question — how can I bring out the maple flavor even more?? I found it got a bit lost in the frosting.

  49. Sarah

    The cupcakes ended up being completely delicious. I don’t have a mixer, so it was all by hand. Definitely a work out, but worth it. Great recipe!

  50. ElizabethBalmostG

    Deb, will you please be my best friend? I have seriously loved all of your recipes that I’ve tried. So yeah…please? (One of my friends just posted this one on Facebook, so of course I had to try it!)

  51. Kristin

    My friend sent me the link to this recipe last month, and I knew instantly I wanted to make them for Thanksgiving. It’s the first recipe I saw on smitten kitchen, and the first I’ve made, though I have several more bookmarked. I just made them, and they’re perfect- turned out just the way you said they would, nice and light. Thank you so much- love the site!

  52. SP

    Deb–you just made our family’s Thanksgiving a whole cupcake better. Thank you for this fabulous recipe. Regarding the maple, I used an indulgent, generous 1/4 cup and, the maple taste comes through plenty. I also substituted one 8 oz. package of light cream cheese; mixed in with the stick of butter and other 8 oz. of regular cream cheese goodness, the frosting ended up delectable, and the guilt–well, I only felt 1/2 of it!

  53. Liz

    I just made these cupcakes and they are delicious! This is the second time I have attempted this frosting recipe. This time, it came out perfectly: fluffy, creamy, with the perfect hint of maple flavor. But the first time I tried it, it wouldn’t thicken – it was thin and runny. So, a word of advice: don’t attempt this frosting with fat-free cream cheese!

  54. Shelbey

    These look gorgeous!

    I’ve attempted making frosting roses before… I didn’t find it that difficult, except for the fact that the icing kept on melting on me (probably my fault, I used Duncan Hines icing, eek!). Do I need to use a thicker type of frosting (like buttercream) to make these successfully? I really dislike buttercream frosting, which is why I didn’t use it.

  55. Diana

    Wow, these are beautiful! I’m making these for a friend’s birthday this weekend but I’m not sure if she likes maple syrup. Is there something I can substitute that for? Also, do you have any tips on making the roses? Thanks!!!

  56. Veronica

    I came across your site yesterday while looking for a ‘Pumpkin Cupcake’ recipe, as soon as I got home I put this recipe to the test!!!! Wow even my husband went ga ga!!!
    Highly recommended, it was as you stated…’Light & Fluffy’ I will add a little more cinnamon and a little ‘All Spice’ but that is personal preference. I cannot get maple syrup in my country (I could buy at speciality shops, it would be cheaper to buy some gold bars!) I used a french cinnamon syrup instead for frosting, absolutely divine!!
    I will definitley be trying more of your recipes here in South Africa.
    Thanks for sharing this remarkable recipe!!!!

  57. Amara

    Just made these and they were absolutely scrumptious! I halved the recipe, as there is just me and my partner, but I am now regretting doing so. I have leftover icing though, so I just might have to make some more tomorrow. *shifty eyes* As for the roses, they are gorgeous. I am however far too lazy and impatient to bother, but will keep those links in mind next time I am trying baking to impress.

  58. Lisa

    I just made these. They are amazing! I did add some vanilla and extra maple to the frosting. The cupcake without icing was amazingly light and fluffy! :)

  59. My friend made these once (ahem, with my father’s pureed pumpkin, which freezes well) and brought them into work. I promptly chose to make them also because I adore the flavor all the spices add to the cake. I didn’t have maple anything (extract, pure maple syrup) and like the poster above, I always add vanilla to things, this icing included. It still complemented the pumpkin cupcakes well. I’m eager to try it the icing with maple AND vanilla. Excellent recipe.

  60. Nic

    These look fantastic, and just in time for Halloween with leftover pumpkin insides.
    What is the measurement for the stick of butter, though?

  61. Melissa

    Wow…I made these for my daughter’s pumpkin patch party and boy were they a hit. Thank you so much! (btw…the comment rules are hilarious…I have a 15-month old and get my fair share of unwanted advice too!!!)

  62. Glora

    These are FANTASTIC! made them over the weekend for a family weiner roast…YUM. Only one question…how do you get the cream cheese frosting to keep from being”runny”, so that you can use a pastry bag to pipe it on the cupcakes?

  63. Shelley

    RE: RUNNY FROSTING!
    I used a previous lesson learned from Deb: add the powdered sugar slowly, instead of tumping it in all at once. I creamed the butter and cream cheese first, then added the syrup, then added the powdered sugar by spoonfuls until it reached a good thickness. This solved the runny frosting issue entirely, and produced the most amazing flavor.
    “Ooh, that’s subtle.” (My favorite quote of the evening)
    Thought anyone else might like to know!

    Made these cupcakes for my birthday this week and they were delicious!
    Thanks for another amazing recipe.

  64. janine

    buying the stuff to make them now! stop, drop, and make cupcakes! i have cleaning and so much laundry but it’ll have to wait!

  65. Emily G

    These were great!! As previous commenters noted, half the frosting recipe is PLENTY for all the cupcakes if you don’t plan on making the flowers. I also could not taste the maple in the frosting, although it was still delicious. BA recently suggested using artificial maple extract to boost the maple flavor in baked goods, but somehow that doesn’t appeal to me when something is homemade .

  66. Kalin

    Hi Deb! I’ve made these before and they were an absolute hit! I’m making them again tomorrow (Wedn.) for my boyfriend’s work pot luck lunch for Thursday. Do we need to refrigerate the cupcakes since there are dairy products in the frosting? I’ll be frosting them tomorrow night, but I don’t want them to dry out! Any suggestions? Or if anyone has had this question and knows the answer, please let me know! Thanks!

  67. Erin

    Just made these for a party tomorrow. I tried one and it was Uh-May-Zing! I almost don’t want to share them. Great recipe, as always! I’ve never tried something from your blog that I didn’t love.

  68. jenniegirl

    Turned these into mini pumpkin cupcakes for bookclub. Had lots of frosting left over, because I just did a little dab of frosting in the middle. So great for fall!

  69. KATHE

    I am making these for my cousins wedding nest week (as cupcakes and a six inch round). I made a trial for her last weekend and they were a hit. I too was worried about how moist they would be and I wanted to test baking a couple of days ahead. I decided to made a simple syrup (1 to 1 ratio of sugar and water) with a cinnamon stick simmered in and then removed. I poked the cakes a couple of times with a skewer and brushed on a couple layers of the syrup before frosting. The result? They were super moist for even a week (I left some out to test) and the bonus was the frosting never crusted up on the outside.

  70. erin

    Hi Deb,
    Just writing to say that I made these for a party and was told that they were, “the most favorite thing (I) have ever made.” I didn’t get a nary crumb as the masses descended and then they were gone. I am making them again for a dance rehearsal and was planning on writing about them on the company blog, crediting you and David Leite, naturally.
    http://summationdance.org/blog/?gotoNextPage=%5Btype+Function%5D
    I’m making the bread pudding next….Muahaha

  71. Kathy in St. Louis

    Made these last night for dessert after flank steak, sauteed mushrooms, oven fries, and a lackluster coleslaw. In hindsight, I’m aghast that I put that last one together without your guidance, Deb. Dessert more than made up for it, though.

    How I did it to adapt to what I had on hand:
    – Out of milk and cream, so I used coconut milk with a dab of rice vinegar. No, the coconut flavor wasn’t detectable.
    – Boyfriend just bought two dozen locally-raised pullet eggs (a buck a dozen, from our regular egg guy), so I used three of those in place of two large eggs.
    – Used thawed, roasted pumpkin (pie pumpkins I roasted last weekend) in place of canned pumpkin.
    – Used freshly-made (molasses and sugar whisked lazily together by the KitchenAid as I prepped everything else) brown sugar instead of ready-made brown sugar.
    – Added a big pinch of salt to the half-batch of frosting.
    From all this, my efforts yielded a dozen regular cupcakes and four oversized cupcakes. The half-batch of frosting (which made a generous cup) was just enough; I have maybe three or four tablespoons remaining.

    The pumpkin wasn’t as drained as it could have been, so the cupcakes had a bit too much moisture — but they are utterly delicious. They really are an ideal example of pumpkin cake, as they’re just sweet and spiced enough, tenderly moist, and shot through with true, sure fall flavor.

    I did have to add a small amount of additional powdered sugar to get a suitable frosting consistency, but that had nothing to do with the recipe and everything to do with the butter and cream cheese being a bit too warm. (On the other hand, too-chilled cream cheese, when whipped, can still have tiny lumps, and I really should have erred on the side of cosmetic flaws so that I could have tasted the maple syrup.)

  72. Kate

    I have made a number of your recipes but typically don’t comment. I loved these- they were a huge hit at work and even my boss who initially wasn’t interested in cupcakes was praising them by the end of the day. The gobs of delicious frosting that I have leftover- I think it will be just right for a second batch of cupcakes for family on Thanksgiving. Thanks Deb!

  73. BNW

    Would there be any additional measures needed if I were to make this a cake (maybe double the recipe and make two layers) instead of cupcakes? Also, if I were to make it the night before serving should I refrigerate overnight?
    Thanks!

  74. OMG OMG OMG. A-MAZING! Today is Thanksgiving and I had to stop by and tell you I made these today. The cake was soft and light and pumpkiny. I whipped up some cream for another recipe and had it together – like pumpkin pie. I also made the frosting as a cream cheese swiss meringue buttercream with maple syrup. To die for. The frosting almost didn’t make it from the mixer bowl to the cupcakes, it was so good! I actually hid a bunch from my guests ;-)

  75. Julie

    Just had to say: I made these for a Halloween party this year, and they were DEMOLISHED. I think they sent the host into some kind of epileptic fit of deliciousness. So thanks for that :)

  76. Alissia

    Ok, so this cake was so easy to make with such great results! Soooo good! The frosting? Eh, not so much–but not for any fault of Deb’s. I’ve never missed real maple syrup since I’ve never had it before and didn’t really feel like paying so much money in order to find out what I was missing…but this frosting recipe pushed me over the edge. Instead of delicious homemade-mapleyness I got a pile of store-bought-tasting yuck. I think the cream cheese combo amplified whatever artificialness was in my syrup. So I’m definitely buying real maple syrup from here on out–well, unless I think it tastes worse :)

  77. Carol

    I made these cupcakes for a co-worker’s birthday and they were a huge hit! Thank you for what is now a go-to recipe in my kitchen.

    1. deb

      Lauren — I grated some fresh nutmeg but found it a little weird to eat. Next time, I might grate some into some sugar and pinch them together, and sprinkle the nutmeg-sugar instead.

  78. confused in NC

    so why do you show buttercream roses on your cupcakes and then list a cream cheese frosting???? CREAM CHEESE FROSTING WILL NOT PIPE PRETTY DECORATIONS!

    1. deb

      I did use cream cheese frosting. It does pipe; I’ve never had trouble with it. Why would I set readers up for failure if I had used another frosting?

      Murray — Follow the link to the original recipe (below the recipe’s title), it was adapted from a two-layer cake. It makes a great layer cake.

  79. Katie

    I just made these tonight! They turned out absolutely amazing! The frosting wasn’t very maple-y but delicious none the less. The cupcake was so moist and fluffy, and living in Colorado it’s hard to make a cupcake that has the perfect consistency. This recipe is AMAZING!

  80. The cake was sublime. I ended up doubling the amount of powdered sugar in the frosting recipe, though. Just made it more to my taste. I also made half the batch as mini-cupcakes, baked them for 13 minutes and they turned out perfect. Great recipe and one I will definitely be making again. Thanks!

  81. Michelle Bonham

    I made these cupcakes and your pumpkin swirl brownies for a thanksgiving dinner. The cupcakes were amazing.. however I did not properly sepreate the batter for the brownies and ended up with a bitter, dry chocolate and a lovely pumpkin half.. I had to redeem myself so I re-made them and they were also fantastic. Thanks for the awesome recipes!

  82. Alex

    I made the cupcakes this past weekend and they were a huge hit! I decided tonight to make loaves, but use the same recipe. I baked each loaf (the ingredients above made two loaves worth) for 40 minutes at 400 degrees and they came out moist and delicious! A slice with a bit of cream cheese will make a wonderful breakfast.

  83. Kristin

    I made these the other day and accidentally DOUBLED the butter in the batter. I was very worried but they turned out fabulously and were a huge hit at a friend’s b’day gathering.

  84. Debbie

    This is my first time on smitten kitchen. I can’t wait to make the pumplin cupcakes with maple-cream cheese frosting. I picked up some maple sugar at our co-op last week and have been looking for ways to use the maple sugar. Your photography and recipes look great. I am smitten!

  85. Eva

    Hi Deb!

    Would you mind telling me the weight of the 2 cups of cake flour in oz./gr.? I just want to make a batch of these delicious cupcakes and I want them to be really perfect.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. deb

      Cake flour usually weighs in at 116 grams per cup, but I don’t have any around right now that I can verify this with. (But, if you have a box, the gram weight under the nutrition information is likely accurate.)

  86. kmac

    Happy Halloween! Made these to celebrate – perfect in every way – except there should be more of them baking in my oven right this second :) Only thing was: I am a generous froster but had about twice as much of the frosting as I needed. Would make half next time. But I digress… thanks again Deb/SK – monuments should be erected in your culinary-genius honour.

  87. Lisa

    Just made these yesterday and they were fantastic! I didn’t have cake flour so used all purpose flour, but replaced 4 Tbsp with 4 Tbsp of cornstarch. I also halved the frosting and still had plenty for all the cupcakes. YUM!!!!!

  88. tara

    Some of these instructions are written for making a layer cake (as opposed to cupcakes)–presumably you don’t need butter to grease the pans, and the frosting/assembly instructions are for a cake! (And maybe the air bubbles thing too?) Is the cooking time still right for cupcakes?

  89. Rachel

    Successfully replaced eggs in this recipe, using one egg’s worth of ener-g egg replacer and one egg’s worth of flax seed meal. Didn’t have maple syrup, so made the brown sugar cream cheese frosting from the peach cupcakes! Got my boyfriend’s vote as among the top 5 desserts I have ever made (and I make a lot of desserts!).

  90. Wonderful recipe!! I have used it twice now! I tried making a yogurt buttercream instead of using cream cheese and it worked out well. I have referenced your recipe in my blog! Thanks again for another great recipe!!
    Anna

  91. tia gata

    Do you think a recipe like this would need adapting to work in one of those Babycakes cupcake makers? Someone gave us one as a wedding gift, and I don’t currently have a proper cupcake or muffin pan… It does make mini cupcakes whereas this recipe looks like full size. Certainly one could adjust the baking time, but I’m not sure what other changes might be needed.

  92. Kellymo

    These were over-the-top fantastic – a coworker actually said “best cupcake I’ve ever eaten!” Pretty much followed the recipe, but did double the cinnamon, added 1/4 tsp of cardamom, and a tblsp of vanilla to the frosting. I was a little worried I had too much spice in the batter, but no – it was delicious. Can’t wait for the cookbook – your recipes always make me look good!

  93. Caetie

    I used this recipe as is to make pumpkin twinkies.. holy holy. I did halve the frosting recipe and still ended up with a little extra.

    I really liked the spicing in the recipe, especially the black pepper. Rave reviews!

  94. Tina

    Any idea why these for me would have bubbled right out of the cupcake pans and made a disaster? I followed the recipe exactly and now have ovencleaner in the oven before I can do anything else. I love your recipes but I can’t figure out what I did wrong. I did make the buttermilk with just normal milk and a bit of vinagar like I normally do, would that cause the problem?

    Thanks.

    1. deb

      No, it shouldn’t be your milk replacement. The last time that happened to me on a cake, I’d used baking soda for baking powder and vice versa, ending up with way too much baking soda (which is 4x as powerful as powder). Then the cakes sunk.

  95. These are my go-to cupcakes. A few years ago I found them and decided to make them for my birthday and now people ask me about them! I always smile and tell them the secret; smittenkitchen! I’m now looking for a maple cupcake… Not one with weak maple taste but a creamy, rich flavor. Is there anything in the works in the smittenkitchen kitchen? You’re the best!

  96. Janelle B.

    Hi! I came across this recipe and just made these cupcakes – they were SO delicious! The frosting was also super yummy! I <3 pumpkin!!!

    ONE THING THOUGH – the frosting was runny and didn't hold its shape when I test piped it so I added more sugar – it still didn't help too much. Did I do something wrong?

    Any help would be much appreciated!

    Thank you!

    1. deb

      The frosting is on the soft side (but shouldn’t be super-runny). Next time, you can pop it in the fridge if needed until it firms up a little. Hope that helps.

  97. Janelle B.

    Deb, Thank you!
    I actually have to make a 2nd batch tonight because the batch I gave my sister to bring to work, she didn’t put in the fridge and I don’t want her to serve them to her coworkers in case they get sick…in your experience, have you always had to put them in the fridge? If so, did that dry them out?

    1. deb

      I think overnight or up to a day in the fridge is fine. I wouldn’t go longer, though. (I was actually speaking about setting the frosting bowl to chill until it was firmer, but if the frosting appears to be melting off! yikes, I’d put the whole thing in.) If longer, I’d probably just frost them closer to when they are needed. Hope everyone liked them!

  98. Janelle B.

    I think maybe I might have let the cream cheese and butter sit out to soften longer than needed? I saved a few and put them in the fridge overnight so they wouldn’t spoil; I had my husband bring to work and everyone LOVED them! One of them just emailed me that it was still SUPER moist!

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge! Your site is my new favorite! :).

  99. Annie

    I made these last night for my coworkers and they are pretty awesome. My cupcakes are flavorful but maybe a teeny tiny bit dry. The frosting was totally and completely awesome. I decided to omit the butter and I wasn’t disappointed. Mine was full of awesome maple flavor. Since I didn’t have the right piping tip I just cut the edge of a plastic bag at an angle and went to town. Topped them with orange sugar. Needless to say I am very popular around the office today.

  100. I made these last night for a bake sale at work today. I tested one (of course) and they were delish! The only thing was my icing didn’t come out GREAT. It wasn’t as thick as I had hoped but I attribute that to the butter. It was not room temperature when I mixed the ingredients. It was late and I was trying to get these babies done haha. It still had the flavor I just wasn’t able to pipe on the icing I had to just spread it.

  101. Orly

    I want to make these so badly right now but I only have regular whole milk and whole wheat pastry flour. Do you think I could substitute these for the buttermilk and cake flour?

  102. Haley

    I’m making these right now for a Halloween party tonight with my grad school friends. And needless to say, we are all pumped. My husband and I are going as Katy Perry and Russell Brand (yes, I know they divorced), and as hilarious as it will be to see my hubs in skinny jeans, people are much more excited for the cupcakes.
    I must say, everyone that knows me knows of you because of how often I cook and bake from this blog. Wish you were coming to Kentucky! You’d have a crowd of me and everyone I know :)

    Love from Lexington!

  103. Siobhan

    Oh! Thank you *so* much for the recipe… I made the cupcakes with a cinnamon swiss meringue buttercream (I hate cream cheese), and they were a HUGE hit!
    :)
    Siobhan

  104. Vaish

    Deb,

    Can you make this into Pumpkin bread? I made pumpkin bread (an adapted version) from the whole foods website. The adapted version used flax seeds instead of eggs and need whole wheat pastry flour, which I did not have. I was very disappointed- but I guess one needs to have many many failures in the kitchen to be able to get perfection in recipes. Can the cupcakes be made into pumpkin bread? And can I used wholemeal instead of cake flour?

  105. Lily

    I will definitely be making these in the near future – most likely with some chocolate chips thrown in! (That seems to be the trendy thing this fall.)

  106. Samantha

    I’m nervous about the pepper! But sounds like it’s a delicious recipe but I will go for it. Making them for a bake sale :)

  107. danie

    I made these for a party last night – the frsoting is absolutely amazing and everyone’s favourite!.. the cupcakes came out really dense – any thoughts on how i can get them to be fluffier? i followed all your directions.
    Thanks

  108. deb

    Hi Danie — I’m surprised, as these are one of the lightest, fluffiest pumpkin cupcakes I’ve tried. Density can come from using the wrong leavener, too little of it, or even too much of it. If you used cake flour that already had leavener in it, that would have done it too (because then you’d be doubling up on it, which has the opposite effect).

  109. Christina

    If I am interested in using the frosting as a filling instead, what modifications do you recommend I make to the ingredients or other instructions?
    Thanks.

  110. Jessica

    Hi! I was wondering if this could be made as a cake? I know you mentioned your sister was frosting a cake version, but I wasn’t sure if you made any alterations that could make is too moist to hold up as a two-layer cake. Also, I just wanted to tell you that I have used many of your recipes and they’ve all turned out amazingly and have all been huge hits- so thank you for the great inspirations!

  111. DudeWhoBakesDealWithIt

    Hi Deb,

    I was thinking about making these, using a “jumbo” size muffin pan (cup sizes are 3.5″ across the top and 2″ deep).

    1) Any reason you’d recommend AGAINST doing so?
    2) Any thoughts on if/how I should modify the baking time and/or temperature?

    Love the site – and your willingness to help out so many of your visitors!

    1. deb

      I have never used a jumbo muffin pan, unfortunately. No reason not to, but you’ll want to match the baking time to an approximation of what other jumbo-sized cupcakes use. No reason to change the temperature.

      Christina — Sorry that I missed your comment. The frosting can be used as filling, too. Just make more than you think you’ll need. Here are my layer cake tips, if you’re interested in reading more. Enjoy!

  112. DudeWhoBakesDealWithIt

    Deb,

    Thanks for the prompt reply! What I was MEANING to ask when I asked about whether or not to use a jumbo pan was, would these cupcakes be “too much” in that larger size (especially with the frosting). I can’t judge that, not having had them yet (in any size). Of course, common sense says, “Duh – make them according to Deb’s recipe the first time, you knucklehead, and see for yourself!”

    So, that’s what I’ll do; if they are too rich, etc., I’ll not make them (at Thanksgiving) in the jumbo size. After all, I need the practice, anyway! I’ll post back with any findings if I do end up making them as jumbos, too.

    Thanks again, and best wishes to you and continued success with your website!

    1. deb

      Dude — I don’t think they’d be too rich. I personally prefer things standard-sized but I’m no fun at all. You can also bump up the pumpkin volume by 1/3 cup or so, as I mentioned to an earlier commenter and in the sweet potato swap headnote, and that might increase it’s wholesome factor. So you can eat more. :)

  113. Jennifer

    Made these cupcakes. Incredibly yummy! Light and very moist. Will definitely make them again. I used homemade whip cream in lieu of the frosting, but I want to try this frosting recipe in the future.

  114. Courtney

    I second Chocolate Fan, any tips on how to make this for a bundt pan? Most seem to be about 12 cups and I’m curious what the yield of this batter is? Would I need to double the recipe or would one batch be enough?

    Thanks!

  115. Made these for a thanksgiving lunch at work. Who needs turkey when you can have cake? I made them using a mini muffin tin and they turn out so moist and fluffy and most of all soooooooo cute!! Thankyou Deb.

  116. Lena

    Deb,

    Any idea if using Neufchâtel (instead of regular cream cheese) would be a problem regarding the frosting? I’d like to keep as close as possible to the recipe, but unfortunately, have to worry about the calories. I figure this may be a way to “cheat” but I know sometimes slight changes can have bad results.

    Thanks!

  117. deb

    Lena — I haven’t read anything online suggesting that it would be but to me, it seems like it’s at a greater risk to be grainy. Nevertheless, I found no confirmation in the first few Google results, and I also haven’t tried it, so I think it’s worth it to try it. Even if the texture is imperfect, it will still taste good.

  118. Andrea

    These are the best (non-chocolate, haha) cupcakes ever! Buttermilk isn’t available here so I usually just make my own with some vinegar and milk… but I ran out milk, too, so I replaced 1/4 cup of the needed milk with whipping cream! I think it might have made the cupcakes a bit smoother and richer. :) Also, pumpkin isn’t grown in this country, so I’m just lucky to have been able to find some canned pumpkin. It was my first time to bake with it. Anyway, this recipe was just so light and delicious! This over carrot cake any day. And please don’t eat the cupcakes warm. The frosting’s so much better when they’re cold.

    I also found that this recipe yielded waaay more than 17-18 cupcakes. I was able to make 23, and some of the cupcakes actually overflowed! This recipe would make 24 perfect cupcakes, but one of the containers in my cupcake tin had a hole in it, so I could only make 23.

  119. Shelly

    The beauty of this frosting is that its the same frosting for the carrot cake cupcakes …. which means I just get to make more delicious cupcakes !! Love the recipe, I made regular sized cupcakes and some mini-cupcakes and the staff at work love me, er, them.

  120. Kiani

    I made this in mini cupcake form. As I was mixing the batter, I tasted it and wanted to sit down with a spoon and devour the entire thing. I knew that meant I was on the right track. I bit in to one right out of the oven and was sure I had died and went to heaven. This is by far the best cupcake recipe I have ever come across. I just wish the cupcakes could always taste as good as they do right out of the oven! I used light cream cheese in the frosting and felt that there was a tangyness to it that overwhelmed and didn’t let the cake portion shine. I’m making them again tonight and plan to use the full fat cream cheese, and maybe a little more butter.

  121. Tawni

    I made these this weekend, along with the maple cream cheese frosting. The flavor was delicious, but the frosting would not stiffen. All my ingredients were room temperature and I added about 3 extra cups of powdered sugar to try to stiffen the frosting, but it kept getting runnier and runnier! I finally stopped and just frosted the cupcakes with the runny frosting. Any idea what I might have done wrong with the frosting?

  122. Vincenza

    A lot of people have pointed this out, but…. the directions haven’t been fully adapted to cupcakes. The last two paragraphs still have instructions for a layered cake:
    “Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.

    To assemble the cake, frost the top of one cake, place the other cake on top. Frost the sides and top, swirling decoratively. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to set up frosting.”

  123. Alicia

    Any ideas in how to make these cupcakes GF? Also, if I wanted to make mini-cupcakes, any ideas on the adjusted cook time?

    These cupcakes look gorgeous btw!!! I’m super excited to try making them.

  124. Jessica

    Alicia, I made some GF (and DF) ones yesterday, and they were amazing! I replaced the flour with 1 c. all-purpose GF flour (I had Krusteaz on hand), 1 c. GF oat flour and 3/4 t. xanthan gum.

  125. Kelsey

    Deb! Longtime lurker here. I was wondering how far ahead of time this frosting can be made? I’m using a few of your recipes for desserts for a wedding this weekend and am trying to get ahead of the game. Does this crust at all? And for that matter, does your berry buttercream crust? Thank you!

    1. deb

      Kelsey — No, this frosting does not crust. I don’t find that my berry buttercream does either; usually I find crusting with egg white frostings, such as marshmallow/seven-minute frosting. However, frosting is pesky in that from the fridge it will be too hard to whip and spread and if left at room temperature indefinitely — well, it could go bad (if cream cheese) and also it gets almost annoyingly soft.

  126. Kelsey

    Thank you so much for responding so quickly! This really is a huge help. Making some lemon squares tonight and rethinking my game plan.

  127. Karen Sullivan

    I’ve just made these again and people all over Arizona are happy! I do not like fake pumpkin flavored things at all and decided to fight against the trend last year by making your real pumpkin cupcakes. It’s even worse this year, so many things have that awful fake pumpkin spice flavor. Not these, there is nothing fake-tasting here. The spices are delicious and warm. I add extra ginger and black pepper because I am that kind of person! Next time I am going to reduce a half-cup of maple syrup for the frosting, as you suggest. I’ve made this frosting before, first with your carrot cake cupcakes for my husband’s 50th birthday party 7 years ago. Maybe I got some weak maple syrup. I had friends in town for dinner and all loved them. Today my coworkers got the left-overs and you got a resounding cheer!