Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

19 October 2019 by Natanja

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  • Super soft spiced pumpkin cupcakes with a creamy cinnamon frosting. 

    Three pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon frosting on a piece of burlap.

    Pumpkin cupcakes are my absolute favorite autumn dessert. They even come before pumpkin spice lattes and apple pie! Their fluffy texture and subtle pumpkin flavor have me swooning every time. After long hours of recipe testing, I finally perfected my recipe. These cupcakes are moist, have a melt-in-your-mouth texture and just the right amount of sweetness. Packed with pumpkin spice and extra cinnamon, these are a real autumn treat! 

    We are well into fall by now and I have gone full-blown autumn mood. The autumn decor is out, the scented candles are burning and I have my ridiculously thick and fluffy socks on. Even Chandler and Joey have adapted to the new season and are spending their evenings cuddled up on the sofa instead of seeking adventures outside. Especially Joey enjoys it when we sit together on the sofa and she’ll fall asleep on my chest, pretending to be a wool scarf, wrapping herself around my neck. To add to the autumn mood, I have set up a cocoa station in the kitchen stocked with cinnamon sticks, marshmallows and all kinds of goodness. It has been my go-to place before hitting the sofa and watching the third season of Scorpion, which I’m am currently binge watching. 

    Beside the cocoa station, I also have a bunch of delicious baked goods in my freezer from various recipe testing sessions such as spice cake and zucchini muffins. My home is currently like the inside of a gingerbread house- filled with delicious sugary treats. While it’s great for spontaneous entertaining, it’s not so great for my waistline. 😉 

    But enough about our home, let’s talk more about these delicious pumpkin cupcakes here. 

    Pumpkin cupcakes on a piece of burlap.


    I had to test various batches of these cupcakes before getting the consistency right. Since the pumpkin puree adds a lot of moisture to the cupcakes, getting the dry- to wet ingredients ratio right was crucial. While I usually add some milk or sour cream to a cake/muffin batter, these cupcakes don’t need it. They turn out super moist due to the addition of the pumpkin puree without being heavy or dense.  

    Pumpkin puree 

    In the past, I have tried making these cupcakes with homemade pumpkin puree as canned pumpkin isn’t available in my country. However, I highly recommend to skip the homemade puree and buy the canned version instead. Here’s why.

    Making homemade pumpkin puree is not only an incredible amount of work, it can also be quite pricey as you need a very large pumpkin and end up with a very small amount of pumpkin puree. Even if you manage to get almost all of the water out and end up with a somewhat thick pumpkin puree, the taste is still not as concentrated as the canned version causing the cupcakes to lack pumpkin flavour. In addition, the color of the homemade pumpkin puree resembles more of a yellow than an orange and your pumpkin cupcakes won’t get that beautiful orange color. 

    Like I mentioned canned pumpkin puree isn’t available here in Switzerland, so I had to special-order a few cans from an American food store. Yes, they were pricey and I had to pay extra for shipping. However, after taking a bite into those delicious pumpkin cupcakes I have no regrets! 

    Cinnamon frosting 

    If you read my latest posts, you’ll know that I have recently developed a liking for cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese frosting used to be something I avoided at all costs, but for some magical reason, lately it has become one of my favorite frostings to use on cupcakes and baked goods. Initially I had wanted to make these cupcakes with a mascarpone frosting but after testing it twice, came to the realisation that cream cheese is the better option here. The tangy flavour really brings out more of the pumpkin spice flavour. I don’t know why….but it just does! 

    While frosted cupcakes should be stored in the fridge, you can also store the chilled cupcakes at room temperature for a few hours. The frosting will get quite soft but it will continue to hold its shape.  (The frosting on the photos looks slightly different- that is because it wasn’t the final batch that I tested. The latest version has a firmer, cinnamon-coloured frosting.)

    A pumpkin spice cupcake with cinnamon frosting next to a wooden fork.
    Make Ahead 

    These cupcakes are also a great make-ahead dessert as they become even softer and more flavorful the next day. You can bake these cupcakes a day ahead and continue with the frosting the next day. Or you can even freeze the already frosted cupcakes – yup that’s right! Simply freeze the cupcakes without wrapping them until the frosting is completely frozen, then transfer them into a Ziplock bag to store. To defrost, let them come to room temperature on the kitchen counter, about 3 hours before you’d like to enjoy them.

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    A pumpkin spice cupcake with cinnamon frosting next to a wooden fork.

    Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

    • Prep Time: 30 minutes
    • Cook Time: 18 minutes
    • Total Time: about 50 minutes
    • Yield: 12 1x


    Super soft spiced pumpkin cupcakes with a creamy cinnamon frosting. 



    Pumpkin Cupcakes

    • 150g flour (1 and 1/4 cup)
    • 150g white granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/8 salt
    • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 2 eggs, room temperature
    • 120ml canola oil (1/2 cup)
    • 225g pumpkin puree (1 cup)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Cinnamon Frosting

    • 80g butter (1/3 cup), room temperature
    • 115g powdered sugar (1 cup)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 300g cream cheese (1 and 1/2 cups), chilled


    1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line a 12-cavity muffin tin with liners.
    2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin spice and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk together until well combined.
    3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Add in the oil, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
    4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and gently mix until no flour spec remain. Avoid over-mixing the batter.
    5. Spoon into the prepared muffin liners and bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
    6. For the frosting, beat the butter until smooth for about 1 minute. Then add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon and continue beating until well incorporated. Lastly add in the cream cheese and beat just until combined. 
    7. Fill the frosting into a piping bag, and using a Wilton 1A tip, pipe the frosting in a swirling motion unto the cupcakes. Optional: Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.


    *To substitute the pumpkin pie spice use: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon cloves instead

    A pumpkin spice cupcake with cinnamon frosting next to a wooden fork.


    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.

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