It’s been a week. Which for me means that I had to both re-read parts of Rebecca Solnit’s Hope In the Dark and get in the kitchen and bake something. I wanted something with warm and comforting flavors that make you feel like you’re being wrapped up in a cozy blanket by the fire, so naturally I turned to pumpkin. With their fall flavors and warming spices, these pumpkin cupcakes with chai-spiced frosting won’t fix all the world’s problems, but they will make your day and the days of the people you share them with a little warmer and (hopefully) brighter.
These cupcakes might be walking the line of being a fall cliche, but they’re too good for me to care. The pumpkin cupcakes are moist with a hint of spice, and the frosting is rich with cream cheese and chai spices. Ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom are great in just about anything, but they’re particularly great here playing off of the mellow pumpkin.
In the cupcakes themselves I used a store-bought pumpkin pie spice mix, but you could swap in the same combination of spices in the frosting. Or conversely you could use the pumpkin pie spice in the frosting instead of the chai spices. I think any combination would be yummy!
Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup butter (8 tablespoons), at room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. If not using liners, butter the muffin pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and pumpkin until smooth.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix gently with a rubber spatula until combined.
- Pour the batter evenly into the muffin pan, filling each spot about ⅔ of the way full.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the pan and set on a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until combined and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, waiting until each cup is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the spices and mix to combine.
- Frost the cupcakes as desired. You'll have extra frosting to use as you like!