Topped with tangy cream cheese frosting, these moist pumpkin spice cupcakes with hints of vanilla are the perfect fall dessert. Ready in 35 minutes, their warm cinnamon spice and light, airy texture will make you bake batch after batch.
The Best Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
With a tender, spongy base, these moist pumpkin spice cupcakes will become your new favorite treat once the leaves start falling. Packed with creamy pumpkin purée and sweet applesauce, they’re a 35-minute baking project you’ll love.
With hints of caramel from brown sugar plus a lovely aroma from vanilla extract, these fluffy cupcakes with a sprinkle of cinnamon are loaded with warm, cozy flavors. For extra autumn spiciness, don’t forget lots of earthy pumpkin spice! Their light and airy texture is also quite addictive, so get ready to eat one after the other.
Decorated with a generous amount of luscious cream cheese frosting, every bite is a dreamy flavor combination of pumpkin goodness and tangy frosting. Whether you enjoy them as an afternoon treat or serve them at your next gathering, good luck having any leftovers.
Why You’ll Love These Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
You’ll understand the whole “pumpkin craze” once you get a taste of these sweet cupcakes.
- Perfect for fall. Pumpkin is the fall-flavor, so I’ve made sure to pack this recipe with pumpkin purée and pumpkin spice.
- Easy. The cupcakes and frosting are ready in just 35 minutes.
- Great for gatherings. Cupcakes are easier to serve because people can just grab as many as they want.
- Fluffy. The batter has baking soda and baking powder for the fluffiest cupcakes ever.
What You’ll Need
You can’t have pumpkin spice cupcakes without pumpkin purée, pumpkin spice, and lots of cinnamon. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.
For the Cupcakes
- Pumpkin puree – Try to find a low-sodium kind.
- Unsweetened applesauce – I prefer organic, but use your favorite.
- Vanilla extract – It rounds out the flavors.
- Eggs – Large eggs
- Brown sugar – Feel free to use light or dark brown sugar.
- White sugar – You can swap it for light brown sugar.
- All purpose flour – Please don’t use whole wheat flour.
- Ground cinnamon – For just a hint more cinnamon flavor.
- Pumpkin pie spice – This is usually a seasonal product found in the spice or baking aisles.
- Baking powder and baking soda – To help your cupcakes get nice and fluffy.
- Salt – Use regular kosher salt.
For the Frosting
- Cream cheese – Full-fat or low-fat work here.
- Plain greek yogurt – Try to use unsweetened yogurt.
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar – This is also called confectioners’ sugar.
How To Make Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
These are your standard cupcake instructions: mix the wet ingredients, add the dry ingredients, and bake. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.
- Mix the wet ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350F. Whisk the pumpkin purée, brown sugar, white sugar, applesauce, vanilla extract, and eggs in a large bowl until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients. Gently stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. Mix well.
- Bake. Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins. Each cavity should be 3/4s full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese, yogurt, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar in a medium-sized bowl until nice and smooth.
- Serve. Top the cupcakes with frosting, serve, and enjoy.
Tips for Success
The secret to any fluffy cupcake recipe is not over-mixing the batter.
- Don’t over-mix. Once you add the flour, only stir the batter until just combined. If you over-mix, they’ll turn out rubbery and dense instead of light and fluffy.
- Use room temperature ingredients. Cold ingredients are harder to incorporate and affect the batter’s temperature, also increasing the baking time. Always use room temperature ingredients for cupcakes.
- Don’t over-fill. Adding more batter to each muffin liner means they’ll rise and over-flow… Making a pumpkin-spice mess. Keep it at 3/4s for best results.
- Check the date. Read the expiration date on your baking powder before adding it in. If it’s expired, your cupcakes won’t rise as much.
- Let them cool. Never frost cupcakes that are even just a little bit warm or the frosting will melt right off. They have to be fully cooled.
- Prep ahead. Make the frosting in advance and transfer it to an airtight container or a large piping bag until ready to use.
These pumpkin spice cupcakes are great with a tall glass of milk, a cup of tea, or your favorite coffee. I love them with my Sweet Cream Iced Coffee, Coconut Milk Thai Iced Coffee, and Iced Chai Tea Latte. My Cranberry Mulled Apple Cider is another fall-favorite. For a more decadent treat, you can also drizzle the cupcakes with salted caramel sauce.
How to Store Leftovers
Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 7 days. Keep them away from strong-smelling foods like onions to avoid the transfer of odors. Place the cupcakes on the counter for 10-15 minutes to bring them down to room temperature before digging in. Don’t keep them at room temperature because the cream cheese frosting will spoil.
Can I Freeze These Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes?
Yes but freeze them without the frosting. Wait until the cupcakes are fully cooled and then place them on a baking sheet. Freeze for 2-3 hours and then individually wrap them in plastic wrap. Transfer them to a freezer-friendly bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Set them on the counter for 30 minutes to thaw and then frost them as usual.
More Pumpkin Desserts
These pumpkin spice cupcakes with cinnamon and a healthy cream cheese frosting are the perfect 35-minute fall treat.
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes:
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, white sugar, applesauce, vanilla extract and eggs using a spatula.
- Slowly stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Mix together until everything is thoroughly combined.
- Pour the batter into the cupcake-lined muffin tins 3/4 of the way full and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test. Remove the cupcakes from the oven when done and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
- In the meantime, add cream cheese, greek yogurt, vanilla and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, and blend until the mixture is smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
- Frost the top of the cupcakes cake. Serve and enjoy!
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
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