Pumpkin Cupcakes - Build Me Up Buttercream

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. While I don’t love the fact that winter is on the way, there’s just something about the cool, crisp feeling in the air, the leaves turning, and of course the flavors of the season that always gets me excited. But mostly the flavors. Cranberry, apple, and of course… pumpkin.

I’ve always been a sucker for pumpkin – pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin muffins… I am that person the news is talking about more and more each year. And now that I make cupcakes for just about every occasion, it was only right that I tried my hand at a pumpkin variety.

To be fair, this was my second pumpkin-themed cupcake of the year… but the first one was done in such haste that I didn’t take photos. I will, however, tell you that pumpkin spice Hershey’s Kisses are to die for – on their own OR inside of a delicious chocolate cupcake! More to come on that when I make those again with more time on my hands!

For now, I will share these. They are inspired in part by the fall season, and in part by Pinterest. However, I was too in love with the idea of a pumpkin cream cheese frosting that mine don’t look quite as good as their Pinterest counterpart. So while this wasn’t quite a Pinterest fail, it certainly didn’t live up to the dreams that Pinterest gives people like myself, that making pretty cupcakes like these are easy as (pumpkin) pie! (And in case you’re wondering… yes, I hand-picked the green sprinkles out of my rainbow sprinkles for the “stems” as I didn’t quite have time to be piping stems and leaves – creativity counts, kids!)

Pumpkin Cupcakes - Build Me Up Buttercream

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe adapted from Chow



  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (not pie filling; about 1 3/4 cups)

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin purée (not pie filling)


Heat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin pans with 24 paper liners.

Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and whisk together; set aside.

Place the sugar and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until the sugar is incorporated, about 1 minute. Stop mixer and scrape down mixer bowl with a rubber spatula.

Return the mixer to medium speed and add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to medium low, add the pumpkin, and beat until just combined, about 30 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl.

Add about half of the flour mixture to the mixer bowl. Turn mixer to low speed, and beat until almost completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Add remaining flour mixture and repeat. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in any unincorporated flour at the edges with a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape to the bottom of the bowl.

Fill the muffin wells about 2/3 full. Place the muffin pans side by side in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pans and return to oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean – about 10 minutes more.

Place the pans on wire racks and let them cool for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pans and cool completely on the racks.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare your frosting. First, place the softened cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until fully combined and smooth, about 1 minute. Add cinnamon and nutmeg, and beat until just combined. Then, add powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating on low speed until fully incorporated and scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula in between each addition. Once sugar is incorporated, add the pumpkin and turn the mixer to medium speed. Mix until fully incorporated and smooth, about 1 minute. Use immediately (and be aware that cream cheese frosting is heavier than buttercream and won’t really stand upright when you pipe it!)

And voila…

Pumpkin Cupcakes - Build Me Up Buttercream


Pumpkin Cupcakes - Build Me Up Buttercream

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