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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

19 November 2013

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


While the entire food blogosphere is blowing up with love for pie this week – and why not? pie IS glorious! – I decided to shake things up a bit with a recipe for pumpkin cupcakes.

Before I go any further, it’s time for a mea culpa: I, Brooke ____, usually make cupcakes from a box of cake mix. Yes, it’s true.

*ducks behind laptop screen*

The fact of the matter is, I LIKE how cupcakes from a mix taste, and I LOVE their soft, fluffy consistency. Is that such a crime? Well, sort of, particularly given the title of this blog (cucina fresca roughly translates to fresh kitchen, meaning the point is to make these dishes and confections from scratch). So, when preparing a dessert for an impromptu Halloween get-together last month, I wanted to expand my cupcake-making horizons. The result? Cupcakes softer, fluffier and better tasting than anything out of a box. Hallelujah!

This recipe is a creation of Martha Stewart’s, with slight variation in the amount and type of spice incorporated. I topped these wee cakes with a simple cream cheese frosting (recipe below) and crumbled ginger snap cookies. They are, however, just as tasty warm and naked out of the oven :)

If you’re not in the market for pie this week – or would like to feature a pumpkin alternative at your Thanksgiving festivities – I highly recommend this recipe. Enjoy, and buon appetito!



Makes: 24 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp coarse salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted + cooled

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

15 ounces pumpkin puree


For the frosting:

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract


5 to 6 ginger snap cookies, finely crumbled (optional)


For the cupcakes:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter and eggs. Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Stir in pumpkin puree.

3.  Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean (approximately 20 to 25 minutes). Transfer to wire rack; cool completely before frosting.


For the frosting:

1.  While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, make the frosting. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla extract.

2. Frost cupcakes and, if desired, top with crumbled ginger snaps.


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