Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

by jenna on September 8, 2011

Remember this guy?

No? I didn’t think so.

Just kidding! Here in blogworld, we all love pumpkin! And now since Labor Day has come and gone, ’tis the season!

And it just so happened that yesterday was one of those days when I desperately needed a cupcake. You know those days…I know you do. They usually come in the form of cramps, broken camera lens and bills but what do I know? After doing so much cooking lately (I have a killer vegetarian lasagna recipe coming your way tomorrow!), all I wanted to do was get my grubby little hands on a stick of butter and bake my brains out.

Mission accomplished.

These tasty little treats hail from this pumpkin cake recipe that I featured last fall! The original recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, My Nepenthe, and just flipping through the pages makes me even more excited about a Big Sur camping trip scheduled for next month.

These cupcakes are rich, spicy and very pumpkiny! Perfect for celebrating the beginning of fall. Without the frosting, you could totally serve them as muffins but who in their right mind would do something like that?

Cream cheese frosting is where. it’s. at. Read this to see how I frost my cupcakes! It’s totally not fancy and most of the extra frosting ends up in my mouth…duh.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

makes about 8 cupcakes

adapted from Bohemian Wedding Cake recipe

Print this recipe!


1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 15-ounce can pumpkin

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

pinch ground white pepper (optional)

pinch of ground nutmeg

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp molasses

cream cheese frosting:

8 oz cream cheese

1 stick butter, softened

~2 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat your oven to 350 and grease your cupcake tins.

In a bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg and white pepper. Set aside.

In another bowl, stir together the canola oil, egg, pumpkin, molasses, brown sugar and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Spoon batter into prepared cupcake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until light and springy. Let cool completely before icing.

To make frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla together until thick and smooth. Transfer icing into a pastry bag with a tip or a plastic bag with the tip cut off. Frost cupcakes and store in the refrigerator until serving.


1.5 hours (including cooling time)

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{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly @ RDexposed September 8, 2011 at 4:39 am

I read this post as I eat a bowl full of pumkin oatmeal (for the 6th straight day). What do you think the odds are that I will be making this?


Kristin September 16, 2011 at 7:32 pm

What is pumpkin oatmeal? I must know!! That sounds like my heaven!


Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance September 8, 2011 at 4:41 am

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.


Kathryn September 8, 2011 at 4:44 am

I’ve never really baked with pumpkin before but these look awesome!


Lauren @ What Lauren Likes September 8, 2011 at 4:46 am

Heck YES. These are being made. LOVE :)


Natalie @ will jog for food September 8, 2011 at 4:48 am

Delicious! The cream cheese frosting must be perfect with the cupcakes :)


Sara P September 8, 2011 at 4:50 am

Any suggestions on how to “veganfy” this recipe??

They look delicious!!!


Jenn September 8, 2011 at 5:01 am

It would probably become a different recipe then! Maybe try a vegan cookbook or vegan website?


Bridget September 8, 2011 at 5:30 am

Just a few tips:
Instead of the egg use 1 tbsp of flax mixed with 2-3 tbsp of water.
Then use earth balance for the butter and a vegan cream cheese (like tofutti) (you sometimes have to add a dash of salt depending on the brands used).


Sara P September 8, 2011 at 6:23 am

Thanks for the tips Bridget!!! :)


Jenn September 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm

P.S I re-read that and it seems to come off wrong. Hope you didn’t think so – not my intention! :) I know OSG has great vegan muffin recipes.


Heather (Heather's Dish) September 8, 2011 at 5:00 am

pumpkin and cream cheese frosting are a match made in heaven. this makes me so excited about fall!


katie @KatieDid September 8, 2011 at 5:07 am

ahh your killing me. Its 8am and now I’ll be craving one of these all.day. They look SO goood!


Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats September 8, 2011 at 5:21 am

YESSSS. I have a whole stockpile of pumpkin waiting for me to bust into in the fridge. I can’t wait to start using it!


Cait's Plate September 8, 2011 at 5:24 am

Oh my. That’s my version of heaven right there. I actually made sweet potato pecan cupcakes with cream cheese frosting last week and they were amazing, so I can just imagine how good these taste :)


Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray September 8, 2011 at 5:28 am

I love cream cheese frosting with ANYTHING, but with pumpkin cupcakes? Marvelous….just wonderful. I love Fall!


Em September 8, 2011 at 5:30 am

Pumpkin time, pumpkin time, everybody loves pumpkin time.


Yum. Thanks for the very doable recipe (as they always are).

Happy Thursday.


amy walters, aDESIGNdock September 8, 2011 at 5:34 am

Love pumpkin muffins…and the cream cheese mountain atop kinda makes me love these even more 😉


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat September 8, 2011 at 5:35 am

Ooooooh yesss! My hands are already slightly orange tinted because of all the carrots I eat, but in fall they get even worse because of pumpkin! These muffins won’t help me to get rid of the tint, but that definitely won’t stop me from making them!


Kat @ Big Apple Little Kitchen September 8, 2011 at 5:36 am

I’m so glad pumpkin is baaaaack!!!!! I’m going to buy a case tonight and let my imagination and stomach go wild!


Emily @ The Finicky Farmer September 8, 2011 at 5:43 am

Holy moly! This is what makes for a happy wake-up on a dreary Thursday morning.

In a couple of weeks, my partner and I are attending a Garlic Festival (it’s way more awesome than its name sounds), and I can’t wait to make this cupcakes for the car ride. Wow. Just wow.


Alayna @ Thyme Bombe September 8, 2011 at 5:48 am

This is what we’ve all been waiting for…pumpkin! So excited to eat food like this again.


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga September 8, 2011 at 5:49 am

All I would really need to be happy is a big bowl of the frosting :) Love cream cheese frosting.

And the cupcakes..wow. I always say I am not a huge pumpkin girl like everyone else in the sphere is but I have to say you wouldn’t have to twist my arm to dive into these bad boys! :)


Jenna | The Paleo Project September 8, 2011 at 5:50 am

You won’t even believe me when I say this but I have a sorta-kinda baby shower I’m hosting this weekend and I was like omgishouldmakepumpkincupcakeswithcreamcheesefrosting ……….. and I read your blog first thing every morning. It’s fate! Thank you for this recipe… I’m going to attempt to make it gluten-free but I’m making ZERO substitutes for the frosting.

Okay, that’s all. XOX Jenna


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga September 8, 2011 at 5:50 am

and p.s. broken camera lens? That sucks!!!! Which one?

You and your iphone, computer, and your various gadgets not having good luck lately!

Hopefully the lens wasn’t tooooo expensive…..


Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray September 8, 2011 at 5:56 am

Just looking at these cupcakes makes me feel better about the gray and rainy day outside. Oh, pumpkin, I’ve missed you so!


Sarah Jane MacMillan September 8, 2011 at 5:56 am

Do you ship these internationally?


Hilliary@HappilyEverHealthy September 8, 2011 at 6:03 am

Thank you for posting this! I am on a pumpkin kick right now, I just made oatmeal pumpkin pancakes for breakfast! These look absolutely fabulous!


Brooke @ BittersweetBrooke September 8, 2011 at 6:12 am

As soon as it became Septemeber I think everyone has gone pumpkin mad…and I kinda love it! One of these would go well with a pumpkin spice latte if I do say so myself. Yay to fall and all things pumpkin!


Gina @ running to the kitchen September 8, 2011 at 6:14 am

Anything with cream cheese frosting and I’m sold :)
I’ve got 4 big cans of Libby’s from last year just waiting to be opened!


kelley September 8, 2011 at 6:21 am

I think we’re about to be flooded with pumpkin recipes, tis’ the season is right! I’m all too happy about it though as fall is one of my favorite season and pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients! Beautiful cupcakes.


Notyet100 September 8, 2011 at 6:28 am

Perfect cupcake


Kristina September 8, 2011 at 6:45 am


These are ok for breakfast right…? :)


Holly @ The Runny Egg September 8, 2011 at 6:57 am

Pumpkin cupcakes are good any time of year — and cream cheese frosting is the best!


Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove September 8, 2011 at 7:00 am

These make me crazy excited for the Fall!!


Laura-Ashley September 8, 2011 at 7:02 am

This is going to be perfect for the new football season! Not that I watch… I’ll just stay in the kitchen and make goodies :)


OK Chick September 8, 2011 at 7:08 am

There’s nothing I love more than pumpkin! It’s such a great reminder of fall.


Caroline @ chocolate and carrots September 8, 2011 at 7:09 am

Wow…why to start the season off right! :-) I made cream cheese frosting yesterday, but it ended up so loose and running. Yours looks excellent! :-)


Sarah @ Sarah's Modern Bites September 8, 2011 at 7:19 am

Oh my heavens. See, it is ALL about the frosting in my world and these cupcakes of yours just stole my heart.

Pumpkin is back with a vengeance this year, no!? I mean, I love it just much as the next pumpkin loving blogger but doesn’t it seem like it is popping up everywhere earlier this year than previous years? No complaining here just an observation! September 1 hit and BAM pumpkin EVERYWHERE haha


Jil @ Big City, Lil' Kitchen September 8, 2011 at 7:25 am

Gahhd, Jenna we’ve been on the same brain wavelength lately – the banana bread muffins, the roasted chicken… – I’ve been dying to do a pumpkin dessert but couldn’t figure out a great recipe. Now, to the kitchen!


Shari @ The Daily Dish September 8, 2011 at 7:29 am

I’ve seen lots of pumpkin cupcakes this week. They may push me over the edge to make some asap. Yum!


kathleen @ the daily crumb September 8, 2011 at 7:32 am

oh, jenna, this recipe just made my morning! i cannot get enough pumpkin, especially as the weather turns cool and fall rolls in. i’m a little nervous about taking the plunge and making my own frosting, but this recipe may just convince me to give it a try!


Carrie September 8, 2011 at 7:33 am

Hi Jenna,
I couldn’t find pumpkin at the store. The only thing they had was that filling for pumpkin pie. Could I use that instead? Thanks!


Maria September 8, 2011 at 7:36 am

I am so excited for pumpkin season! Love the cupcakes!


Cat @Breakfast to Bed September 8, 2011 at 7:37 am

yes.yes.yes please. I LOVE pumpkin and cream cheese!


Ingrid September 8, 2011 at 7:43 am

thank you, thank you, thank you!!


Liz @ Tip Top Shape September 8, 2011 at 7:47 am



Annie @ Naturally Sweet Recipes September 8, 2011 at 7:49 am

These look incredible! Love your pictures as well.
And there’s nothing better than TJ’s pumpkin! :) YUM!


Savannah @ Sweet and Savvy September 8, 2011 at 7:49 am

These are amazingly perfect for fall!! :)


Meghan September 8, 2011 at 7:50 am

These sound perfect for a rainy day like today!


Jessica @ Jess Go Bananas September 8, 2011 at 7:58 am

Pumpkin Cupcakes are the best as is camping in the fall. Do I hear a s’mores-ish recipe coming?!?!?


deva (voracious vorilee) September 8, 2011 at 8:10 am

these look like a perfect fall breakfast item. :-)


Mary Beth September 8, 2011 at 8:13 am

So glad you posted these Jenna! I’m so excited for fall and seeing the pumpkin made my morning. Thanks :).


Samantha September 8, 2011 at 8:15 am

YAY for pumpkin season!!!!


Mel September 8, 2011 at 8:18 am

This reminds me of last August when I told my sister that I would bake her a cake for her birthday party. I showed her your ‘cakes’ section under your recipes and she decided she wanted the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies! Forget the fact that it was dead of summer, luckily my mom stores cans of pumpkin year round!


Amy September 8, 2011 at 8:22 am

Yeah… so I was all ready drooling when I read the title of this post & saw the picture ….but then when I scrolled down & saw that the recipe was based on bohemian wedding cake, I pretty much squealed in delight. I was just thinking to myself that it was the perfect time of year to use that recipe again … and now I have another (destined to be favorite) recipe to add to the line up.

Thank you :)


Sally Anne @ PaleoRunnerGirl September 8, 2011 at 8:23 am

I am going to have to disagree with you. CINNAMON cream cheese frosting is where it’s at. :) :)


Bethany September 8, 2011 at 8:32 am

I just made pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!! Yum! Great minds think alike!


Charlotte Marie September 8, 2011 at 8:39 am

Your pumpkin cake was one of the first things I ever made off your blog and it was SO good!! Cannot wait to try these. Thanks, Jenna!


Olympe September 8, 2011 at 8:44 am

Great! Just what I needed.
It looks delicious as usual.


Lisa @ Life in Green September 8, 2011 at 8:55 am

Yum! It really doesn’t get much better than pumpkin and cream cheese frosting.

My grandma makes me a pumpkin praline torte with real whipped cream every September for my b-day – just finished eating a slice for my morning snack.

Thinking the next pumpkin treat will have to be these cupcakes. :)


R @ Learning As I Chop September 8, 2011 at 9:03 am

I can’t believe pumpkin is back already. These look yummy


Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner September 8, 2011 at 9:08 am

these look amazing and that frosting… wowzas, i want some!!


Sonia (the Mexigarian) September 8, 2011 at 9:13 am

Um, yum? Let the pumpkin craze begin :)


Daniella @ Runner at Heart September 8, 2011 at 9:13 am

Wow those look delicious, too bad I hate baking :( guess I will have to share the recipe with my sister who loves baking.


Khushboo September 8, 2011 at 9:19 am

I may the only blogger who hasnt tried pumpkin in a baked good…I wanna end that with these cupcakes!!


Erica @ In and Around Town September 8, 2011 at 9:54 am

I cannot believe its pumpkin season!! WOW! These look great :)


Leslie Means Her View From Home September 8, 2011 at 10:00 am

Yum!! I love fall and everything pumpkin! I just made pumpkin pancakes last night – and made a an apple pie the other day just to celebrate fall!!


Lara @ TresLaLa September 8, 2011 at 10:16 am

Yay! These look fantastic. I think they will be the inaugural food that is made with my NEW KitchenAid mixer! Woot! My hubby was moving his pumpkin beer from primary to secondary fermenter yesterday, and made me come smell it… Fall is in the air!


Sara September 8, 2011 at 10:22 am


Just came back from my third Big Sur trip this weekend. If you’re up for hiking, my favorite one so far is the Andrew Molera Park loop. Coastal bluffs ahoy!


Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather September 8, 2011 at 10:22 am

I need to crack open a can of pumpkin! But first… Head to the store and by one (or a ton!). Cream cheese frosting is totally where it’s at. My all time favorite!


Amanda @ AmandaRunsNY September 8, 2011 at 10:33 am

I’m loving the combination of pumpkin cupcakes and cream cheese frosting.

I know this might be a dumb question but does white pepper taste like black pepper?


Kiah September 8, 2011 at 11:02 am

You’re right, there is SO MUCH pumpkin love in the blog world! My pumpkin cravings are through the roof! :-)


Anita Wiechman September 8, 2011 at 11:28 am

Made these this morning/afternoon, they smelled great while baking and they taste GREAT!!!!


Nicole @ Giraffelegs September 8, 2011 at 11:43 am

anything pumpkin is an A+ in my book.


Kelly September 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Yay!!! Fall is almost here!!!


KatieG@ Just Roll With It September 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm

wow…so excited for pumpkin season!


Maria September 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm

They look amazing. Can’t wait to get my bake on.


Moni'sMeals September 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I would give a lot to have one of these right now. Wow! I just love pumpkin everything!


Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen September 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Ugh! Today is one of those I-need-a-cupcake-days; too much work, too little coffee, etc. These look amazing. I’m really excited all the pumpkin I’m starting to see. It’s never too early.


Jennifer September 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I know everyone is going nuts about pumpkin right now and I wish I could say I’m not…but I am! The sight of these cupcakes literally made my mouth start watering. YUM!!


marisa September 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Can’t wait for fall to arrive so I can make these! Starred them in my reader.


Heather September 9, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Delish! Must try these when it cools off and I’m willing to turn on my oven again.


Cory September 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm

OMG! I made these without the frosting today. This is the single best spice cake/pumpkin cake recipe I’ve ever made. I may have eaten almost the whole batch today, just sayin’

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! Already thinking of making the whole cake tomorrow…. :)


Gianna September 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Hi there!

I have been reading your blog for a long time but never commented before. I just finished eating the last one in the batch and must say these are heavenly! (I am a sucker for pumpkin and then add cream cheese…a tad obsessed). They are addicting and I had to actually hide them when I had company over so that some made it past the first day. Love love love and thank you!


Ingrid September 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm

i finally made these today. i have eaten three of them so far :) delicious!


Erin September 16, 2011 at 9:20 am

I need to make this. I am on such a pumpkin kick and this is perfect!


Mel @ Mel a la Via Paradiso September 24, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Baked these with my Mom today. Now we’re watching YouTube videos about how to frost pretty cupcakes. Obsessed!


Meglynd October 3, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Made these cupcakes tonight. FABULOUS! Only change I made was to cut back the margarine in the frosting to about 2 T. Thanks for sharing!


Sarah November 2, 2011 at 7:51 am

Hi Jenna,

I was wanting to make these cupcakes for a baby shower (with blue cream cheese icing, it’s a boy!) but I need to make more than the recipe calls for. Will doubling the ingredients keep the results the same? This may be a dumb question, but I just wanted to make sure before I make them. Thanks!


Amber October 8, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I made these tonight and they were awesome! After tasting the first batch I decided to make a second batch to take to work tomorrow. Wouldn’t change a thing! Oh, I should mention I just used cream cheese frosting from Target instead of making my own. :-)


Alicia December 14, 2014 at 3:08 pm

I’m struggling with the icing and wondering what you would suggest to make it thicker? It tends to slowly slide off my cupcakes shortly after icing.


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