These moist pumpkin cupcakes are the cuuuuuuuutest! They’re perfectly spiced and topped with silky cinnamon cream cheese frosting and the most adorable mini pumpkins. Made with a buckeye dough, they’re so quick and easy yet so stinking cute.
How to make pumpkin cupcakes
Pumpkin cupcakes are probably the easiest cupcakes you will ever make. The pumpkin adds so much moisture and stability, so each cupcake is so soft yet bakes with perfectly domed tops.
It’s just three simple steps:
- Dry Ingredients – In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. When measuring make sure to either weigh the flour or gently spoon it into the measuring cup and level it off. This will prevent you from adding too much excess flour.
- Wet Ingredients – In the main mixing bowl, sugar, dark brown sugar, pumpkin, oil, vanilla, and eggs are whisked together. Make sure to stick with dark brown sugar for the best flavor!
- Combine – Mix the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients and the batter is done!
Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full and spread the batter as smooth as possible. The easiest way to do this is to jiggle the pan a bit to level out the batter. I also suggest using a large cookie scoop to scoop the batter into the liners. It makes the whole process quick and clean!
Tips for making cream cheese frosting
I can’t imagine topping these cupcakes with anything BUT cream cheese frosting. The warm spices paired with the sweet and slightly tangy frosting is just too good.
To create the smoothest frosting possible, here’s what you need to know:
- Cream Cheese Brand – This is NOT sponsored, but I always suggest using full fat Philadelphia cream cheese. It has the best flavor and consistency out of any other cream cheese I’ve baked with.
- Temperature – Make sure both the cream cheese and butter are softened at room temp before mixing. If they’re too cold, the frosting will turn out lumpy.
- Sugar – Mix in the powdered sugar one cup at a time, measuring each as a light and fluffy cup. Spoon the sugar into the measuring cup to ensure accuracy.
- Chilling – It’s important to chill the frosting after it’s mixed. Cream cheese frosting is softer than traditional buttercream, so chilling will help stabilize it for piping.
To pipe the frosting on top, I used a large round tip fitted on a large piping bag. Don’t pipe all the way out to the edge of the cupcake because when the mini pumpkin is pressed on top, this will make the frosting expand just a bit. Otherwise, use any piping tip or technique that you prefer!
How to make mini edible pumpkins
What makes these pumpkin cupcakes so dang cute is the little mini pumpkins on top. My initial plan was to make a separate batch of buttercream, pipe little balls onto parchment paper, freeze, and place those on top as “pumpkins” but they just didn’t give the affect that I really wanted. Plus it was may too much added work.
I also didn’t want to make fondant pumpkins because that requires some special equipment and does anyone really even enjoy eating fondant? This was my same thought when it came to opting for the candy corn pumpkins.
That’s when the idea of buckeyes came to me. The peanut butter is a naturally soft pumpkin color and you can add just a bit more powdered sugar to create a moldable consistency. So to make these pumpkins, simply make buckeye dough!
The main two ingredients are peanut butter and powdered sugar. Once combined with butter, spices, and vanilla, it creates a sweet peanut butter dough that’s perfect for rolling into balls.
Use a toothpick to create the pumpkin ridges all around the ball. Start at the top center of the ball and rock the toothpick down the side. Continue this all the way around the ball until it looks like a pumpkin.
To help elevate that pumpkin color, these are then rolled in cinnamon sugar. This is optional, but it really helps enhance that warm orange color.
Dot the top with a mini chocolate chip to create a little stubby stem and you have the cutest pumpkin cupcake decorations!
Pumpkin Cupcakes FAQs
First and foremost, make sure you use 100% pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. My favorite pumpkin puree is Lily’s, but any brand will work here.
Yes. If you don’t have ready-made pumpkin pie spice, you can make your own by combining 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp allspice, and 1/2 tsp cloves.
You can as this will not affect the overall consistency, but I prefer dark brown sugar for the best flavor!
Instead of peanut butter, sub in cookie butter!
Keep these cupcakes in the refrigerator in a closed cupcake container until they’re ready to serve. The cupcakes will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days.
Yep! Just make sure they’re kept in the refrigerator in a closed container. They’ll taste so good the next day.
For more pumpkin recipes, check out my:
- Pumpkin Bread with Maple Glaze
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Mini Pumpkin Hand Pies
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- Chocolate Swirled Pumpkin Muffins
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and comment below if you make these pumpkin cupcakes. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print