This is so cliche’, but I’m gonna say it anyway – this year has flown by. And now that Thanksgiving is over, and 2020 will be here in a matter of weeks, I can hardly believe it’s been a whole year. Luckily I made these pumpkin cupcakes before Thanksgiving and my family has been enjoying them as I pull them out of the freezer and pipe on the maple buttercream.
We had a pretty low-key Thanksgiving this year. It was the second time celebrating this major holiday without my dad. Even though he was pretty sick the last couple years of his life, it still meant a lot to have him around us. He loved sampling all my baking creations, usually taking “just a small piece” of most everything available so he could taste all the desserts. He would have loved these pumpkin cupcakes with maple buttercream.
for all you pumpkin-lovers out there
This recipe can be dressed up in cupcake form. Or become a more laid-back treat with a streusel topping. You can call it a muffin and eat it for breakfast. Because there’s no wrong way to enjoy pumpkin.
mixing the ingredients
It’s always a good idea to read through your recipe before beginning. Not only does this help you know what to do and what to expect, but it allows you to prepare things in the right order. Baking is much more of a science than cooking. Ingredients need to be added in the correct order to ensure a tasty outcome. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started to bake something, only to find out that I don’t have exactly what I need and had to stop. In cooking, you can substitute, but baking it’s harder to do that.
For the cupcakes, dry and wet ingredients are mixed separately and then combined. This is done for a couple reasons. It ensures the ingredients are thoroughly mixed separately, and prevents over-mixing once they are combined. Overmixing this batter will produce a tougher texture. No bueno! We want a soft crumb to enjoy that yummy buttercream!
can I freeze the pumpkin cupcakes?
Yep! Just don’t frost them if you plan to freeze them. Make sure they are in an air tight container or freezer bag, and they will be good for a month. Thaw them for an hour or so on the counter before frosting them.
shop the recipePrint
For the cupcakes:
- 1 2/3 cups flour | 8.3 ounces
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar | 5.25 ounces
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar | 1.75 ounces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cloves)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin filling)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the frosting:
- 1 cup / 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- pinch salt
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 3–4 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cupcakes:
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix with wire whisk. Make a well in the center. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin, and melted butter.
- Pour wet ingredients into well of dry ingredients. Using a spatula, gently fold wet ingredients into flour mixture. Do not overmix.
- Line standard muffin tins with cupcake liners for 15 cupcakes. Using a 4 tablespoon cookie scoop, fill each about 3/4 full.
- Bake 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan and then turn onto wire rack to cool completely.
To make frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the softened butter and pinch of salt until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl. Add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and beat until smooth. Add 3 tablespoons of cream, maple syrup, and vanilla and continue beating until fully incorporated. If it seems a bit thick, add the extra T of cream. If you prefer a sweeter frosting, add another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.
- Pipe frosting onto cupcakes or spread with an offset spatula. Sprinkle cinnamon or decorate with holiday sprinkles.
I only use unsalted butter when I bake. This allows me to control the amount of salt added to my recipes. Salted butter has varying amounts depending on the brand.
Other pumpkin-y things to enjoy
- mini pumpkin bundt cakes with maple icing 2. pumpkin brioche donuts 3. pumpkin nutella cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting