Pumpkin Cupcakes + Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Frosting

Fall is in the air. Today I went to Target in search of a fall candle that was the perfect mix of Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas. A single candle for all the festive holidays, a balanced combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, and subtle evergreen. I spent over 10 minutes moving down the candle aisle, smelling all the likely candidates. And I got a terrible headache from all the strong scents. At the end of the aisle, I may have found a keeper called Fall Leaves, but I didn’t buy it because I didn’t know at the point if I actually liked it or if all the holiday fumes were getting to me. Later this afternoon, I baked these cupcakes. And even though I went home without the coveted candle, I’m pretty sure my apartment was filled with all the best scents of the season. Pumpkin and spices galore. I even opened a window to let in the fall breeze.

top view pumpkin cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ~7 oz pumpkin purée (half a can)


  • 4 oz softened unsalted butter
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 chocolate chips

Cupcake Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the sugar and oil with an electric mixer.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time to the large bowl, beating until well combined.
  5. Mix the pumpkin purée into the large bowl.
  6. Add the flour mixture bit-by-bit into the large bowl, and beat until incorporated.
  7. Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 of the way full.
  8. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Directions:

  1. Beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer in a large bowl.
  2. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until smooth.
  3. Mix in the chocolate chips and frost the cooled cupcakes.

Optional: Top with cinnamon.

Adapted from Chow.


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