Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Super moist and lightly spiced pumpkin cupcakes with tangy and creamy cream cheese frosting. A match made in heaven!

These super moist pumpkin cupcakes are a must-try for the fall season. They are lightly spiced with just cinnamon and nutmeg and are paired with a delicious and tangy Cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese frosting is my go-to frosting for all my spiced cupcakes. It is super creamy and smooth where as the cupcakes are light and moist and are super fluffy. As I said, a match made in heaven!

Pumpkin cupcake with orange colored frosting.

I normally make a swirl kinda design on my pumpkin cupcakes with white frosting but with Halloween around the corner, all I see are pumpkins everywhere and this is my attempt to replicate a pumpkin design. 😂 I know I know if doesn’t look anything like pumpkin at all but my daughters think they look the best 🥰 Irrespective of the flawed design, they are absolutely delicious!

a set of pumpkin cupcakes.

How to make these pumpkin cupcakes and What ingredients are used ?

This cupcake batter is so easy to put together. If you know me, I like to simplify things and over the years, I have learned that a cake made with oil instead of butter is super moist. No offense to butter, but oil wins! 🤷‍♀️ Just mixed all the ingredients together and bake. You don’t need a hand mixer or a stand mixer either. A simple whisk will work great. So lets see what else we can use to make this uber soft and moist pumpkin cupcakes.

  1. Flour: I used all-purpose flour because I was looking for an airy texture. I have made this cupcakes with half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour and that gives good results too. The cake becomes a little dense but that’s okay because our cream cheese is forgiving.
  2. Brown sugar: Brown sugar gives that caramelized color and flavor that goes so well with spiced cakes. I love the undertones of caramelization in there. Its okay to use light or dark brown sugar and also okay to use regular sugar.
  3. Cinnamon and Nutmeg: I like my cakes lightly spiced, so I stick with only these two spices. You can use cinnamon powder that is ready available in the stores or grind whole cinnamon to make some. I like to grate whole nutmeg instead of using nutmeg powder. You can use either. Also, its more than okay to skip this and add pumpkin spice instead.
  4. Pumpkin Puree: I use canned pumpkin puree but you can use steamed and pureed pumpkin puree, I do that after the Halloween when we have leftover sugar pie pumpkins. DO NOT USE pumpkin pie filling, it already has sugar and spice and that will not work.
  5. Oil: Using oil makes the cupcakes super moist and soft. I like to use a flavorless oil like canola oil or avocado oil. Avocado oil is healthier and that will be the most common oil I reach out for.
The process to make the cupcakes and the equipment used:

As I said earlier, these cupcakes are so easy to put together. Here are the steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  • In a mixing bowl, Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix it together with a whisk till there are no lumps.
  • Add brown sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla extract and pumpkin puree and mix it together until combined. Do not overmix the batter.
  • With a ice cream scoop with a trigger release, fill the muffin cups with one scoop of batter. I like to use to ice cream scoop so that all my cupcakes are equal size. You can use a regular ladle and fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool down before you frost them.
cupcake making shots.

How to make the smooth cream cheese frosting?

  • The trick to get a smooth frosting is to have the key ingredients at room temperature. Room temperature varies for everybody, so I would say let the cream cheese and butter sit over the counter until it is soft to touch. I would say take out the butter first and let it sit for an hour and then take out the cream cheese. By cream cheese, I mean the block cream cheese which is sold in 8 OZ bricks, not the cream cheese spread.
  • Sifting the powdered sugar is so beneficial and is a must in my opinion. Sifting makes sure there are no lumps in your frosting and it is smooth and pipeable. Also makes the frosting light and airy. Using a sifter, make sure you sift the powdered or confectioners sugar at least once.
  • Once you add the powdered sugar, its important not to overmix the frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter mixture only for 30 seconds at a time.
  • If the frosting gets soft while you are frosting your cupcakes, place it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to make it pipeable.
Procedure:

I use a simple hand mixer to make my frosting.

  • Let the cream cheese and butter come to room temperature.
  • In the meantime, sift your powdered sugar onto a parchment paper, so that its easy to lift and pour while creaming your butter.
  • Using a hand mixer, Cream the cream cheese and butter till they are light and airy and are forming soft peaks.
  • Add vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar and beat the mixture for 30 seconds.
  • Add the remaining sugar, one cup at a time and beat the frosting in 30 second intervals until the sugar is incorporated and the frosting has soft peaks. This shouldn’t take long as we already creamed our butter and cream cheese well enough. DO NOT beat the frosting for too long.
  • Mix in any food colors if needed and pipe the frosting as you like.

How to get the pumpkin design on the pumpkin cupcakes and what piping tips to use?

You can use a Wilton 1M star tip and frost a simple swirl design or make this pumpkin design. Use these gel Wilton food colors and mix orange and green colors to the frosting separately. I love using gel colors, a little goes a long way and wont make your frosting watery. Insert a round tip(This set has piping bags and all the basic tips: https://amzn.to/359s2k9 ) into a piping bag/Ziploc baggie. Add orange colored frosting to the bag and seal the bag. Make a round dome in the center of the cupcake and and then start making lines with round tip from the bottom to the top, so it looks like a pumpkin. Hope these pictures explain the process.

making the pumpkin design.

Then we make the leaf design and vines. The below white plastic thing is called a coupler. It can be used when we need to change the piping tips for the same color frosting and only one piping bag. I am using leaf tip and a small round tip to make these patterns. Put the lower part of the coupler inside the piping bag and cut the tip of the piping bag. Put the desired tip on top of the coupler and screw the top part of the coupler to keep the tip in place. Once we make the leaf design, change it to round tip and make vines.

using a coupler and changing the piping tip.

Lets see how to make these awesome cupcakes:

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe by Blissful Bites by TayCourse: DessertsCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

12

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes
Total time

50

minutes

Super moist and lightly spiced pumpkin cupcakes with tangy and creamy cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients

Method

  • Process for cupcakes:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  • In a mixing bowl, Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix it together with a whisk till there are no lumps.
  • Add brown sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla extract and pumpkin puree and mix it together until combined. Do not overmix the batter.
  • Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool down before you frost them.
  • For the frosting:
  • Let the cream cheese and butter come to room temperature.
    In the meantime, sift your powdered sugar onto a parchment paper, so that its easy to lift and pour while creaming your butter.
  • Using a hand mixer, Cream the cream cheese and butter till they are light and airy and are forming soft peaks.
  • Add vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar and beat the mixture for 30 seconds.
  • Add the remaining sugar, one cup at a time and beat the frosting in 30 second intervals until the sugar is incorporated and the frosting has soft peaks.
  • Mix in any food colors if needed and pipe the frosting as you like.

Notes

  • Each oven is different, the baking temperatures might vary depending on the oven.
  • Please refer above and follow the links for the exact equipment I used and for any questions you might have about the piping tips, etc.
  • DO NOT use pumpkin pie filling. Use pumpkin puree with no added sugar.
  • DO NOT use cream cheese spread. Use cream cheese that is available in 8 oz blocks.

Please do try these delicious cupcakes and let us know how it goes. We would love to hear from you!

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