Pumpkin Cupcakes With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting...

I was in the mood to bake yesterday. That happens a lot. My husband requested a pumpkin roll. I was all set to get one baking for him, but I was out of wax paper (essentialist for making a pumpkin roll). I decided to substitute with parchment paper. I was out of parchment paper too. This also happens a lot. I use the stuff all the time (hence me being out) and yet, I never seem to remember to stock up. Dumb! Anyways, since I couldn’t use wax paper and couldn’t substitute with parchment, I decided to substitute my pumpkin roll with cupcakes. A pretty fair trade if you ask me!

I’m  in love with these pumpkin cupcakes! In fact, I’m glad the whole pumpkin roll thing didn’t work out. I’m guessing my husband agrees, because the first thing he said after taking a bite was “This is amazing!!”.  I would say his observation was pretty spot on! I cut a lot of fat and sugar from the original recipe, but they still taste great and are a bit more guilt free than the original recipes verision. Even better than the cupcakes though is the frosting! Oh my goodness is it good! I was worried I wasn’t going to have enough for my cupcakes because I couldn’t stop eating it! Seriously, it’s that good! These cupcakes are sure to impress anyone you share them with this fall!
Pumpkin Cupcakes With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin Cupcakes With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted From Taste of Home

Yields 24 Cupcakes with Frosting



1/4 Cup Butter, Softened

3/4 Cup Homemade Unsweetened Applesauce

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed Firmly

2 Large Eggs

3/4 Cup Fat Free Milk

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

1 (15 Ounce) Can Pumpkin Puree

2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

3/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger


1 (8 Ounce) Package Reduced Fat Cream Cheese (Not Fat Free!)

1/4 Cup Butter, Softened

4 Cups Confectioners Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Pumpkin Cupcakes With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, add in butter, applesauce, sugars, and eggs and beat over medium speed until combined. Add in pumpkin and continuing beating until thoroughly incorporated. In a liquid measuring cup, combine milk and lemon juice and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients. Slowly, over medium speed, add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, alternating with the milk mixture, beating well after each addition. Line cupcakes trays with paper liners and then spray lightly with a non-stick cooking spray. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full and bake for 24 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

To make frosting, combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and beat over medium speed until ingredients begin to combine, slowly increase speed and continue beating until a frosting is formed. Once cupcakes cool completely, frost as desired and enjoy!
Pumpkin Cupcakes With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting..A commenter complained about a gummy texture caused by the applesauce, to help combat that, I updated the recipe, and changed the flour from 2 1/3 cups to 2 1/2 cups, and the baking powder from 1 teaspoon to 1 1/2. I hope that helps any texture or “gummy” issue anyone may have had from the applesauce! Also, because of the additions, I increased the baking time by 2 minutes, as it makes a slightly larger cupcake. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Cupcakes With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting — 47 Comments

  1. Frost as desired? I want to know how to do it in the beautiful way the ones in the back are done? How do you get that hershey’s kiss look?

    • ha! Thanks! I can assure you it is easy! I cut the tip off of the end of a frosting bag, and keeping the tip of the bag in the center, I squeezed until the frosting filled the whole cupcake. That’s it! Quite simple! :)

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  3. My cupcakes took a lot longer to cook than 22 minutes, and the bottoms were still not completely done. I used the other half of the batter to make a small cake, which was done all the way through in about 20 minutes..cant quite figure out this mystery? Regardless, both were delicious

    • That is definitely a mystery! Did you end up with 24 cupcakes? My only guess on such a varied cooking time would be if you perhaps overfilled the cupcake liners. Your oven may also not be heating evenly, as it is unusual for the bottom of the cupcake to not cook through. Generally, it’s the middle that is easily under baked. Regardless, I’m glad you enjoyed them! I’m baking these this morning actually, so if I happen to notice a change in cooking time, I’ll be sure to update the recipe. Thank you for your feedback!

      • I had to add a couple minutes to the cooking time as well and a similar problem with the bottoms being soft. I really think that my problem was a little too much non-stick spray because the muffins were still sticky on my first batch so I sprayed a little more for my second batch and noticed it pooled in the bottom a little, and that was the batch that had softer bottoms. Great recipe other than my few minor problems, my dog even snuck in the kitchen and stole a few off of the counter!

        • Hi Megan! Too much cooking spray could definitely be the issue. You want enough that you can see small beads of it on the liners, but not so much that it has pooled in the liner at all. I’m glad you enjoyed them otherwise. Thanks for the comment! Smart dog by the way :p

  4. Hi Rebecca. I just entered the recipe into an online nutrition calculator for you. The cupcakes with no frosting are 139 calories each with 2.5 grams of fat. The frosting adds an additional 260 calories with 6.2 grams of fat. So, each cupcake with frosting is just under 400 calories. Not bad for a cupcake!

  5. The texture will be slightly “gummier”, because the fat is being replaced by the applesauce. It should only be a slight difference though. It may be that the applesauce you used was extra watery? I really prefer to use homemade, with no additional water added. Also, did you make sure that it was a level 3/4 cup of applesauce? Any extra will add to the “gummy” texture. I’ve never had an issue with these being too gummy though. I’d suggest giving them a try with homemade applesauce. Also, make sure that you are using real butter, at room temperature, as that could contribute to the off texture as well. Another big thing, is the cupcakes must be served at room temperature and not cold. That will definitely have a big impact on texture. I hope that fixes the issue for you!
    Edit: To further help with your issue, I updated the recipe for you. After baking them again myself, I was able to see how someone not use to replacing fat, might not enjoy the nontraditional texture. To make the texture more “normal”, I increased the flour and baking powder. The main recipe above reflects those changes. With my suggestions above, and the changes I made to the recipe, I really hope you’ll enjoy the cupcakes more! Please let me know if you try these again. I love getting feedback!

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  9. Hi! I love pumpkin especially pumpkin cupcakes! I found your recipe and decided to give it a try. Even with the changes and adding additional cook time to what you already suggested for some reason mine turned out very gooey. The texture was almost as if they hadn’t been cooked at all. I thought maybe I did something wrong, but I checked and double checked the amounts of things I put in when making them so I feel pretty confident I didn’t. Just as a side note, the tops of them seemed to be fine. And of course even though the texture was not what I was expecting they still tasted really good. To the second batch I ended up adding a bit of extra flour to it to help it out a bit. It seemed to help it with the gooey-ness. I also have to compliment the icing! It turned out wonderful and tastes amazing! Reading some of the other comments and your suggestions it is possible my applesauce was too watery or something. I have substituted applesauce in other recipes before and it works great. I think maybe the next time I try them I will put less? Was just wondering if you might have some other suggestions. Thanks for sharing the recipe! :)

    • Hi Kristen. Too watery applesauce is really the only thing I can come up with. If making homemade isn’t doable for you, adding extra flour could help to combat the watery store bought applesauce. I usually strain my applesauce and add no water to it, so it is still pretty thick. You could also cut the applesauce by 1/4 cup and replace it with 1/4 cup butter. I feel terrible that these haven’t turned out for so many of you. I even sell cupcakes on the side, and these are one of my best sellers! I am glad that you enjoyed the frosting so much! I could (and do sometimes) eat it by the spoonful! Yum! If you end up trying these with the thicker applesauce, please comment back and let me know if it worked for you! :)

      P.S. Here is a link to my homemade applesauce. You can see how much thicker it is then jarred from the store. I updated the recipe to say homemade applesauce, since I believe this is the issue for you, and the others that have commented.

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    • Hi Melissa. I haven’t attempted to make these cupcakes any other way, but it should work out well to switch the butter to applesauce ratio. I would try 3/4 cup butter softened, and 1/4 cup applesauce. I wouldn’t completely cut out the applesauce, because it helps to keep the cupcakes moist. You could also use full fat milk, and cream cheese if you’d like, but the taste difference won’t be substantial. I hope you enjoy them!

  11. I made these for a potluck at work and they were a huge hit! They taste like fall:-) The frosting was especially good! The only thing I found wrong was the cooking time. I ended up having to add 10-15 additional minutes to mine before they were throughly cooked through. I see now that you said in a reply to someone’s post that we should strain our applesauce if using store bought, maybe that would have helped. Would you strain it before or after measuring?

    • Hi Ruth. I was actually referring to straining the apples before I puree them when I’m making homemade applesauce. I’m sorry for the confusion! You could try straining store bought with a cheesecloth, but I’m not sure how well it would work. If you do strain it, it really depends on how much of the liquid you are able to get out, as to what I would suggest for measuring. If a substantial amount of water is strained out, and the sauce is quite thick, I would measure afterwards, if it is still on the thinner side, I’d measure before. You could try straining just a bit at a time to see how well it works, so you don’t waste any. Also, if making homemade is not an option for you, you could try using a bit more flour or replacing some of the applesauce with more butter. I’m glad you enjoyed them!!

  12. Just made these the exact way you said to but i used store applesouce.and they turned out amazing! Best cupcakes ive ever made! Great job!

  13. I just finished making these ( a double batch) and they turned out fantastic!! They are good with or without the frosting! I didn’t change a thing. It’s a great recipe as is!! Thanks!!

  14. I made these last night without the frosting and they are just wonderful! Great flavor and not too sweet. I can’t wait to make them again with the frosting next time.

    • You can definitely make your own pumpkin pie spice mixture! I may even post one soon for reference, but until then, a quick Google search for ‘pumpkin pie spice recipe’ should bring up several :)

  15. I just made these today, and they’re fantastic! I cut back on the sugar for the frosting, but otherwise made them as directed. Even with my store-bought applesauce, the cupcakes came out great (no gumminess).

    • Erica, that is great to hear that they came out well with store bought applesauce. It must depend on the brand! Thanks for your comment!

  16. To die for!! I’ve made my own pumpkin pie spice and the pumpkin puree,so easy to make both by the way, wonderful taste and texture! loved them

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed them Daniela! That’s awesome that you made your own pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree! Way to go!!

    • These would be perfect for a fall baby shower! I’m so glad you enjoyed them Jeneique! I’d love to see a picture. Thanks!

    • Hi Dawn. I’m sorry, I have no expierence with baking in high altitude. I’m sorry they didn’t work for you. Hopefully another reader can chime in with a suggestion soon!

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    • I have not attempted this batter as a cake yet, so I’m not sure. It would also depend on the size of pan you were using. I would suggest just checking on it every five minutes, and when it starts to look done, test it with a toothpick. If it’s not quite done, give it another minute or two and check again. I hope it works out for you!

  18. Followed the directions, except I used store bought applesauce, and I had the same problem as everyone above. The batter was absolutely delicious (I know, raw eggs are bad!) but the cupcakes were extremely gummy. Even though the toothpick came out clean to make sure they were done baking, it was like they were so underdone, or gummy. I was bummed because these were for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and I had to throw them away :[

    • I’m really sorry this didn’t work for you Natalie. I have had several people comment, as you said, that had this issue using the store bought applesauce, but also had some people that used it with success, so it really must depend on the brand you buy. I still recommend homemade though! I hope you give it another try sometime!

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