These cupcakes are all pumpkin, no pumpkin spice! With these step-by-step instructions, you’ll bake a moist and fluffy batch of Pumpkin Cupcakes spiced with cinnamon instead of pumpkin pie spices. Then, frost with cream cheese frosting and a dusting of cinnamon, and these cupcakes are the ultimate autumn dessert!
A pumpkin recipe with REAL pumpkin? Yes, please! These pumpkin cupcakes are super easy to make with canned pumpkin puree, essential baking ingredients, and simple equipment. No fancy stand mixer needed! Instead, you’ll use a spatula to mix the ingredients into a rich, silky pumpkin cupcake batter.
As a pastry chef, I’ve tested many pumpkin desserts, and these pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are one of my favorites. Rather than overpowering the cupcakes with pumpkin pie spice, real pumpkin adds pure flavor, while cinnamon brightens the cupcakes up with a warm and cozy tastes
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE
- These cupcakes are super easy and are so moist!
- They are the perfect fall cupcake
- If you like pumpkin but not pumpkin spice, these are the cupcakes for you!
- Delicious pumpkin dessert for Halloween parties and Thanksgiving dessert tables.
- All-purpose flour – Flour is the framework for cupcakes that give them their signature shape and structure.
- Brown sugar – To sweeten your cupcakes. You can use light or dark brown sugar.
- Baking powder & baking soda – This pair of leavening agents help create a reaction in the batter, so it expands into a stable, tender cupcake while baking.
- Kosher salt – Salt also plays a role in cakes rising while making everything sweet taste even sweeter!
- Cinnamon – For a touch of vibrant warming flavor.
- Eggs & vegetable oil – This pair of liquid ingredients lends moisture and helps create a fluffy, soft crumb. As a rule of thumb, your eggs should always be at room temperature.
- Whole milk – adds moisture, flavor and helps keep the cupcakes from drying out as they bake.
- Vanilla extract – Use a quality, pure vanilla extract to intensify the rich, creamy flavors.
- Pure pumpkin – NOT pumpkin pie filling! Pure pumpkin is then pureed, while pumpkin pie filling has added flavors, like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and sugar.
HOW TO MAKE Pumpkin Cupcakes
Prepare for baking: Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with 12 muffin liners. Set aside.
Combine dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, and cinnamon with a spatula. Be sure to break up any clumps of brown sugar.
Combine wet ingredients: In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, milk, oil, vanilla extract, and pumpkin with a spatula until smooth.
Mix cupcake batter: Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and combine with a spatula.
Bake: Fill the muffin liners ¾ full with the batter, then bake for 20-22 minutes.
Cool and frost: Let cool completely, then frost with cream cheese frosting and dust cinnamon over the top (optional).
Cream Cheese Frosting
These cupcakes are topped with my ultimate cream cheese frosting. The contrast between the pumpkin and cream cheese is a sweet and tangy combo that is so perfect for fall! The frosting will pipe out nicely and hold it’s shape, but you can also slather it on with a spoon or knife. No judgments!
TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS
- All refrigerated ingredients should be at room temperature – Set the eggs and milk out 20-30 minutes before getting started.
- Break up any clumps of brown sugar – Otherwise, it can create holes in your cupcakes.
- Pumpkin spice cupcakes – I stick with cinnamon because I don’t love nutmeg and clove in pumpkin desserts, but you can add ½ tsp of each to the batter to make pumpkin spice cupcakes.
- Don’t overfill the muffin tin – Fill the liners about 2/3 full (about three rounded tablespoons per cupcake).
- Best way to cool pumpkin cupcakes – After baking, allow the cupcakes to cook in the muffin tin for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
To decorate the cupcakes, fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, with the cream cheese frosting and pipe over the top of the cupcakes. Dust with cinnamon to make them extra pretty.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
Storing: Unfrosted pumpkin cupcakes are best stored in a covered container or wrapped tightly in plastic at room temperature for 3-4 days. If your cupcakes are frosted, keep them in the refrigerator.
Freezing: If you plan to freeze your pumpkin cupcakes, let them cool to room temperature, then wrap each cupcake individually in plastic wrap and keep frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature, then frost.
Is canned pumpkin the same as pumpkin puree?
Yes! Canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling) and pumpkin puree are both cooked and mashed pumpkin made without any sugars or added flavors.
Can I use pumpkin pie filling?
No, pumpkin pie filling wont work for this recipe because it has added spices and added sugar and would be too sweet for this recipe. Make sure to only use canned pumpkin.
How can you tell if pumpkin cupcakes are done?
To check for doneness, use the toothpick test. If you don’t have a toothpick, press your finger into the top of one of the cupcakes. The cupcakes should have some give but bounce back into shape when you pull your finger away.
Can I substitute pumpkin pie filling for pure pumpkin in cupcakes?
Technically, yes -but it’s important to note that pumpkin pie filling is sweetened and flavored with pumpkin pie spices. So the final product will be much sweeter and more “pumpkin spiced.”
More Cupcake recipes
Moist and Fluffy Pumpkin Cupcakes
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour 150g
- 1 cup brown sugar 213g
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 eggs large, room temperature
- ¼ cup whole milk room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup pure pumpkin not pumpkin pie filling 250g
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with 12 muffin liners.
- In a medium bowl combine the 1 ¼ cup flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp kosher salt, and ½ tsp ground cinnamon and mix well with a spatula to combine, making sure to break up the brown sugar clumps.
- In another bowl combine the 2 eggs, ¼ cup milk, ¼ cup oil, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, and 1 cup pure pumpkin and mix with a spatula until smooth.
- Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula only until combined.
- Fill the muffin liners ¾ of the way full with batter and bake for 20-22 minutes.
- Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting and dust with cinnamon if desired.