Tender, lightly spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes topped with maple cream cheese frosting. An updated, easy and elegant fall dessert!
You know how the internet is filled with 97,000 Pumpkin Cupcake recipes? I am now making that number 97,001. Yes! Celebrating Sweets needs a presence in the Pumpkin Cupcake market, and here it is.
Truth be told, this isn’t actually my Pumpkin Cupcake recipe. It belongs to the one and only (omg-I-love-this-woman), INA GARTEN. I have been playing around with Pumpkin Cupcake recipes for months. After lots of tweaks and tries, this is the recipe that I just kept coming back to. So here it is, straight from one of my favorite cookbooks – with just a few minor changes made by yours truly.
These cupcakes are filled with pumpkin, warm spices, and a mix of brown sugar and granulated sugar. Oil keeps them light and moist, and a combination of baking soda and baking powder gives them the perfect rise.
The best part? They are topped with a MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING! Pumpkin cake absolutely has to be topped with cream cheese frosting. The addition of pure maple syrup really takes these over the top. Maple and pumpkin are a cozy fall match made in heaven.
How to Make Pumpkin Cupcakes
This recipe is super easy – you don’t even need a mixer for the cupcakes themselves.
Wet ingredients get whisked in one bowl: Eggs, pumpkin puree, oil, sugar and vanilla.
Dry ingredients get combined in another bowl: Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
The wet and dry ingredients get combined, then placed in muffin cups. Once the cupcakes are baked and cooled, we whip up the maple cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Softened cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and pure maple syrup make up this delicious frosting. The maple flavor is subtle, and if you’d like a stronger maple flavor you can also add a touch of maple extract.
This Maple Cream Cheese Frosting is a tiny bit softer than a traditional frosting, due to the addition of maple syrup. It is still firm enough to pipe onto the cupcakes (as pictured), but you can also simply spread it onto the cupcakes with a butter knife. Because the frosting is on the softer side, I like to store these cupcakes in the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature before serving.
Topping for Pumpkin Cupcakes
Because I simply can’t leave anything as it is, I had to add my own little spin on these cupcakes with a finishing touch of salted caramel. A drizzle of salted caramel adds a sweet/salty contrast and a touch of decadence. Truth be told, you don’t have to add the caramel, the cupcakes are absolutely fine without it. But, I always have a jar of salted caramel hanging out in the back of my fridge begging to be drizzled on anything and everything (like Apple Crumb Bars and Baked Apples).
Also, if it were up to me, every single one of these cupcakes would be topped with finely chopped walnuts, or even better, candied pecans! I think most baked goods are made infinitely better with the addition of nuts. I know I’m the minority here, and I did not want to scare anyone off by “ruining” these cupcakes with the crunch factor. That being said, if you like nuts, sprinkle some on top of the frosting or stir some into the batter. Also, please invite me over, because clearly, we should be friends.
So, until Ina Garten invites us to a fall get together at her impeccably decorated, perfect-in-every-way East Hampton “barn,” we can make her Pumpkin Cupcakes in our very own home all season long.
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cupcakes:
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or sub cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar lightly packed
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- salted caramel sauce optional, for decorating
For the frosting:
- 6 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon maple extract optional, for a stronger flavor
- 2 cups powdered sugar (sifted, if lumpy) plus more, if needed
For the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease a muffin pan or fill with 10 paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pie spice and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, sugars and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 10 muffin cups and bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before spreading with frosting.
For the frosting;
- Beat cream cheese, butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract and maple extract (if using) until combined. Slowly add in powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Frost the cupcakes using a piping bag and decorating tip, or simply spread the frosting with a butter knife. Drizzle with caramel sauce, if desired.