A couple of weeks ago I shared my recipe for homemade pumpkin spice mix. The obvious choice for adding that to your baking is to whip up a classic pumpkin pie, but I thought I’d share another idea for adding the taste of autumn to your cooking – pumpkin cupcakes.
As the name suggests, not only do these contain warming spices, they’re also full of real pumpkin which gives you a wonderfully moist sponge, and they’re finished with cream cheese buttercream.
So these aren’t simply “pumpkin spice cupcakes”, they truly are pumpkin cupcakes.
Pumpkin Cupcakes FAQs
If it’s your first time making this recipe or you have a question, please take a moment to have a read through my FAQs for some extra tips and allergen information.
- How long do these cupcakes last and how should they be stored?
- What type of pumpkin should I use to make these cupcakes?
- Should I use pumpkin purée or grated pumpkin?
- Can I add chopped nuts or dried fruit to my cupcakes?
- What are these pumpkin cupcakes free from? Who are they suitable for?
- Other seasonal recipes you might enjoy
How long do these cupcakes last and how should they be stored?
These cupcakes last for up to a week when stored in an airtight container. If you decorate the cupcakes with the cream cheese buttercream in the recipe, I would recommend storing them in the fridge. If you keep them unfrosted then you can store them at room temperature.
❄️ Suitable for freezing
These cupcakes can be frozen either with or without the buttercream.
Either place them into an airtight container and freeze. Or, if you don’t have room for a container, place them uncovered on a tray in your freezer for a couple of hours until the buttercream is firm. Once firm, they can either be wrapped in clingfilm, stored in a freezer bag, or in an airtight container.
If you use the second approach, remove them from their container before defrosting to ensure your buttercream stays neat.
What type of pumpkin should I use to make these cupcakes?
I recommend using a culinary pumpkin or squash, simply because I find that they have a bit more flavour than some of the big orange pumpkins that are sold for carving. However, if the big orange ones are all you have, then that will also work.
Personally, I like to use butternut squash.
Should I use pumpkin purée or grated pumpkin?
The recipe suggests you can either use pumpkin purée or grated pumpkin. I’ve tested both and both work very well. However, both have their own advantages:
I originally developed this recipe to use grated pumpkin in the same way I use grated carrot in my carrot cake cupcakes.
The advantage of this is:
- It’s quicker than making homemade pumpkin purée (although not if you buy ready made or already have some)
- The grated pumpkin gives these cupcakes a lovely rustic texture
- Using grated pumpkin gives you wonderfully moist cupcakes
The only real drawback is that they’re also too moist. Don’t get me wrong, they’re amazing to eat, but the additional moisture can lead to the cupcake cases peeling away. If you decide to go down the route of using grated pumpkin, I’d recommend using free-standing cardboard cupcake cases as these work better with the moist sponge.
After developing these cupcakes using grated pumpkin I was curious as to whether they’d also work with pumpkin purée and it turns out they do 😊.
The advantage of using purée is:
- No grating – I know from some of my other comments that not everyone who comes here for recipes is a fan of grating. Using purée avoids this.
- You don’t have the same issue with peeling cupcake cases so should be fine to use whichever ones you happen to have in the cupboard.
If you do decide to use purée, you can either use the ready made kind that comes in a tin or follow my easy method for How To Make Pumpkin Purée.
Can I add chopped nuts or dried fruit to my cupcakes?
Absolutely, these cupcakes would taste wonderful with chopped walnuts or pecans, or dried fruit such as raisins.
Simply fold 100g of chopped nuts or dried fruit into your cake mixture along with the pumpkin.
If you’re using dried fruit, I’d recommend soaking it in water for a couple of hours before adding it to the cake mixture. This will ensure the fruit stays moist during baking and will also help to ensure that any on the surface of your cupcakes don’t catch and burn during baking.
What are these pumpkin cupcakes free from? Who are they suitable for?
The ingredients I used to make this recipe are all free from the following allergens. However, please check any labels carefully for allergens you need to avoid as brands can vary, and product recipes can change over time.
- Suitable for Vegetarians
- Tree Nut-Free (unless you choose to add nuts as suggested in the FAQs)
The cupcake sponge is dairy-free, but there is dairy in the buttercream.
Other seasonal recipes you might enjoy
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For the pumpkin cupcakes
- 12 cupcake or muffin cases
For the cream cheese buttercream
- 170 g unsalted butter - Soft at room temperature
- 170 g icing sugar
- 340 g cream cheese
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- A little milk - This may be needed to ensure the buttercream is the right consistency
- A little pumpkin spice - Optional
- Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan.Line muffin tins with 12 cupcake cases.
- If you're using pumpkin/squash rather than purée then coarsly grate the pumpkin/squash (150g).
- Beat together the oil (150ml) and brown sugar (135g) until combined.
- Beat in the egg (2 large) until combined.
- Sift in the self-raising flour (165g), bicarbonate of soda (½ tsp) and pumpkin spice (1½ tsp). Fold the dry ingredients into the egg, oil and sugar mixture until combined.
- Add the grated pumpkin or pumpkin purée into the cake mixture. Fold together until combined.
- Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake cases. Bake for 20 minutes. Check the cupcakes are cooked through by inserting a skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean they are ready, if not, pop them back into the oven for a couple more minutes.
- Move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Buttercream
- Cut the butter (170g) into cubes and beat (either by hand or using a mixer on a slow speed ) until soft.
- Sift the icing sugar (170g) and beat it into the butter until fully combined and smooth.
- Add the cream cheese (340g) and vanilla extract (½ tsp) and beat until thoroughly combined and smooth.
- Check the consistency of your buttercream. It should be firm, but soft enough to pipe. If it is too firm, then beat in a little milk (no more than a teaspoon at a time) until you have the right consistency.
- Pipe your buttercream onto your cupcakes and serve.
- Optional – decorate your cupcakes by sprinkling over a little pumpkin spice.
Any nutritional information provided is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you would like to learn more about how this is calculated.