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Home » Desserts » Cake and Cupcakes » Pumpkin Cupcakes with Ermine Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Ermine Frosting

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Pumpkin cupcakes are the ultimate fall bake! Warmly-spiced, extra tender, and topped with a cloud of creamy ermine frosting, each bite is bliss! Enjoy pumpkin season with these soft, moist and flavorful pumpkin cupcakes. Our old-fashioned Ermine buttercream creates a dreamy topping that doesn’t overpower the pumpkin flavor.

A serving of cupcake covered with frosting on a plate with a fork.

Whether you’re baking for fellow pumpkin lovers or looking for a sweet pumpkin treat (that’s not pumpkin pie) this season, this easy pumpkin cupcakes recipe is sure to check all the boxes.

The best pumpkin cupcake recipe strikes that perfect balance of warm spices woven into a soft and fluffy cupcake that just melts in your mouth. 

While many pumpkin cupcake recipes call for a cream cheese frosting, we’re changing things up and topping these beauties with our delicious Ermine Frosting

If you’ve never tried it before, you’ll love the extra silky and fluffy texture of the buttercream. It also has a balanced sweetness that doesn’t overpower the way American buttercream sometimes can.

​Why This Pumpkin Cupcake Recipe Works

If you’re anything like us and gravitating toward all things pumpkin during the fall, this easy recipe is a tasty way to enjoy pumpkin season in dessert form!

The cupcakes are like a cross between our Pumpkin Loaf and our Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Muffins. They are packed with fall flavor and an irresistible medley of spices that is definitely a must this time of year!

Here’s why you’ll love our pumpkin spice cupcakes:

  • Pure pumpkin purée adds its quintissential fall flavor and loads of moisture to make the most delicious and tender pumpkin cupcakes!
  • It’s an easy recipe and a fun baking project that will fill your home with the aroma of pumpkin spice. 
  • The combination of moist pumpkin cupcakes with our fluffy Ermine buttercream is unique and a nice change-up from traditional pumpkin treats. But feel free to use cream cheese frosting if you want.
A serving of pumpkin cupcake with a bite on a fork.

Ingredients Needed for Pumpkin Cupcakes

To make our pumpkin cupcakes, you will need:

  • All-purpose flour. Regular, all-purpose flour is all you need for these soft and tender cupcakes!
  • Leavening agents. Our recipe calls for both baking powder and baking soda.
  • Salt. Every sweet bake needs a touch of salt, which helps bring out flavors.
  • Spices. Pumpkin pie spice and ground cinnamon put the “spice” in these “pumpkin spice” cupcakes!
  • Vegetable oil. This, along with the pumpkin puree, gives the cupcakes the perfect amount of moisture. 
  • Eggs. A couple of large eggs helps all the ingredients bind together and adds leavening as well. 
  • Sugar. You will need a combination of packed brown sugar as well as granulated sugar. 
  • Canned pumpkin puree. This adds the desired pumpkin flavor and moisture to the cupcake batter. 
  • Vanilla extract. For a light vanilla flavor in the cupcakes and the frosting that compliments the rest of the ingredients. 
  • Whole milk. To create the base for the classic Ermine. 
  • Butter. Unsalted butter is another must-have for these cupcakes!
Ingredients for the pumpkin cupcakes.

An Easy Pumpkin Spice Cupcake Recipe

Here’s a look at the steps required to make these tasty pumpkin cupcakes with Ermine frosting! 

For all of the details, including step-by-step instructions and specific ingredient amounts, refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. 

Before you begin: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Measure the four, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice into a medium bowl and whisk to mix. 

Blending the flour, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda together with a wire whisk.

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, add the wet ingredients and sugars.

A bowl with pumpkin, eggs, spices, sugar and vanilla.

Beat on low speed, then gradually add the dry ingredients.

Mixing the wet ingredients into the pumpkin batter.

Mix on medium speed until combined. 

Mixing the dry ingredients into the cupcake batter. A spatula alongside the bowl.

Spoon the batter into the muffin liners about 2/3 full, then bake for 18-22 minutes.

The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them on a wire rack to cool completely. 

Pumpkin cupcakes on a wire cooling rack and a red/white towel in the background.

​Make the Frosting

Make the Ermine frosting by combining the flour, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Add the milk and vanilla and cook over medium heat. Stir continually until the mixture thickens. 

Remove from heat and transfer to a separate bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it cool to room temperature. 

Once cooled, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the cooled mixture a tablespoon at a time to create a creamy, fluffy frosting. 

Frosted cupcakes on a wire cooling rack. A red/white towel in the background.

You can smooth a thick layer of frosting over the cupcakes or transfer the frosting to a piping bag to pipe it onto the pumpkin cupcakes. 

Tips for the Best Results

  • Do not overfill the cupcake liners. You can use a large cookie scoop or ice cream scoop to scoop the cupcake batter into the muffin tins. 
  • The bake time will vary based on your oven. Check the cupcakes after 18 minutes with a toothpick.
  • When making the Ermine frosting, the key to success is ensure the cooked mixture and the batter are both at room temperature. If the cooled mixture is cold from the fridge, it will cause the room temperature butter to firm up. And if the there’s even a hint of warmth in the cooked mixture, it will immediately soften/melt the butter and completely change the overall texture of the frosting. The butter is ready to use if you can press your finger gently on it and it easily leaves an indentation. You can also use an instant read thermometer to check- room temperature butter should be 60°F. 
  • Store any leftover Ermine frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. You can also freeze it for up to three months. Bring it to room temperature and re-whip when it’s time to use. 

More Pumpkin Recipes

From a flavor-packed pumpkin mousse to our no-bake pumpkin cheesecake bars, we have you covered with pumpkin desserts for every occasion!

More Recipes You Will Love:

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A serving of a frosted cupcake on a plate with a fork.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Ermine Frosting

Yield: 12 Cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

These warm-spice pumpkin cupcakes with ermine frosting are moist and tender. A cloud of creamy ermine frosting is a delightful topping!

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Ermine Frosting:

  • 2/3 cup (80 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) butter, room temperature

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a standard muffin pan (12 cavities each) with cupcake liners.
  2. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the oil, eggs, brown and white sugars, pumpkin and vanilla.  Using a hand mixer on low speed, beat together until combined.  Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until combined, stopping once to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. 
  4. Spoon the batter into the liners filling ⅔ full, transfer to the middle position of the oven.  Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.  

For the Ermine Frosting:

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk the flour, sugar and salt together.
  2. Add the milk and vanilla, stirring to combine.  Cook over medium heat, stirring continually until the mixture becomes thick and pudding-like.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a shallow dish, cover with plastic wrap, set on the counter top and allow to cool to room temperature.  
  3. Using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the cooled cooked mixture a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition until all of the cooked mixture is incorporated into the butter and the frosting is creamy and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  
  4. Store any leftover frosting in an air-tight container for one week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.  Bring to room temperature and re-whip.

Notes

  • Do not over-fill the cupcake liners.
  • Ovens do not always bake at the same temperature, check the cupcakes with a toothpick at 18 minutes for doneness. Depending on your oven, it may require a couple more minutes. When the toothpick comes out clean or with only a few crumbs remaining, remove the pan from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a cooling rack before removing them from the pan. 
  • When making the ermine buttercream the key to success is having the cooked mixture and the butter at room temperature.  
  • If the cooked mixture is icy cold from the refrigerator and your butter is room temperature the butter will immediately firm up and change the texture of the frosting. The same is true in reverse:  If there is even a hint of warmth in the cooked mixture it will immediately soften or melt the butter.
  • Test the butter by pressing your finger gently on the butter if it easily leaves an indentation, it is ready to use. 
  • For a more precise check, use an instant-read thermometer.  Room temperature butter will be 60°F when using an instant-read thermometer is inserted into the middle of the butter.  
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 235mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information is a guideline only. It is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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angiesrecipes

Monday 11th of December 2023

These cupcakes look absolutely amazing! The frosting is perfect.

Pat Nyswonger

Monday 11th of December 2023

Thank you Angie!

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