Perfect Pumpkin Cupcakes are so light, soft, and packed full of pumpkin spice flavor! These cupcakes are easy and have the best maple cream cheese frosting!
The perfect decadent treat for fall is here! Last year we posted our most amazing Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins, and this year we’ve worked hard on a cupcake to satisfy those pumpkin cravings! I love savory pumpkin dishes as well, like our super popular Pumpkin Soup recipe. But, I have to say these cupcakes have my heart and you’ll love them too. They are beyond easy to prepare, like most of my recipes. They use very simple, basic ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. They have the best, seriously easy to make, totally drool-worthy maple cream cheese frosting for the perfect bite! This recipe is fool-proof, anyone can make these, you don’t need to be a cake baker, or even an experienced baker to pull these off. But, if you are more experienced in baking, you’ll still love the ease, and everyone will be coming back for the perfect balance of pumpkin spice flavor in every bite! My favorite part of these cupcakes, comparing them with a muffin, is that they are the perfect texture! We use a special method, we’re going to chat about below in the notes, that make these light, airy, and not dense at all! The frosting really brings out the pumpkin flavor too, then you can top with extra cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or festive sprinkles to make these your own!
Pumpkin Muffin Recipe Notes and Tips:
- You can use light or dark brown sugar for this recipe! Whatever you have on hand is fine, keep in mind that dark brown sugar has more of a molasses taste.
- If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand, you can substitute in 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg to get the same flavor.
- Note that it only takes a few minutes to bring the batter together! We use the “paste method” of adding the butter to the mixture last and it creates the lightest, softest cupcake you have ever had!
- Using a whipped style cream cheese in the frosting will produce a much softer and lighter icing. However, you can definitely use block cream cheese if that’s what you have, it’s till delicious!
- You can use any type of milk! Any dairy, or non-dairy milk has worked fine here during our testing.
- These cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you prefer, you can also store them in the refrigerator, the frosting holds up the best if they are chilled.
Perfect Pumpkin Cupcakes
FOR THE CUPCAKES
- 1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
- 1 Cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 6 Tablespoons butter softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 Cup canned pumpkin
- 1/3 Cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE FROSTING
- 3/4 cup whipped cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons butter at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 Cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
FOR THE CUPCAKES:
- Preheat your oven to 375F. Line 12 cupcakes tins with paper liners or spray them with non-stick baking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice on low speed until it is all combined.
- Next, add the softened butter and mix on medium-low speed until the butter is broken into the size of small peas— about 1 minute.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, milk, and vanilla extract until well combined.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed just until no large lumps of flour remain— about 30 seconds.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure no flour is left on the bottom of the bowl.
- Divide the batter between the muffins tins, filling them up about 3/4 full.
- Note: I use a 1/4 cup cookie scoop to ensure that all of the cupcakes are the same size.
- Bake the cupcakes in a preheated oven for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
FOR THE FROSTING:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese until it becomes light and fluffy— about 2 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the maple syrup. Mix on low speed until the maple syrup has fully combined.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add in the powdered sugar and salt. Don’t add the powdered sugar all at once or you’ll end up with a mess!
- Once all of the powdered sugar has been incorporated, turn the mixer to medium-high speed and whip the icing until it becomes light and smooth— about 2 minutes.
- Icing & Storage
- Once the cupcakes have cooled fully, they can be iced.
- I like to cut the tops off my cupcakes so they have a flat surface to ice— this is completely optional (but it means I get to eat the tops which I also love to do).
- You can spread the icing over the cupcakes using an offset spatula or transfer the icing to a piping bag and pipe it onto the cupcakes.
- Store the cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.