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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

These Pumpkin Cupcakes are light, moist, and full of warm spices and fall flavor! Top them with a thick swirl of Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting for the most perfect pumpkin dessert. These treats are perfect for fall, Halloween, or even Thanksgiving!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Keyword Easy Dessert Recipes, Easy Halloween Desserts
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 21 cupcakes
Author Stephanie Simmons


For the Cupcakes:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 TBSP real maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1, 15 oz can pumpkin NOT pumpkin pie filling
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 and 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 sticks salted buter
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened Use the block type, and full fat
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 TBSP milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon or a pinch more, to taste
  • pinch of salt


  • Prep: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  • Make the Cupcakes: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and pumpkin. Add all the dry ingredients and whisk together, making sure no dry bits are hiding in the bottom of the bowl.
  • Bake: Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them pretty close to the tops - about 3/4 full. (see photos above for reference).
    Bake for 18-19 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with some moist crumbs on it, but not wet batter. Let the cupcakes cool a few minutes in the cupcake pan, and then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely while you make the frosting. Never frost warm cupcakes!
  • Make the Brown Butter + the Frosting: In a nonstick pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking the butter - stirring constantly. The butter will get foamy, then bubbly, then start to turn turn golden brown and develop a nutty/caramely sort of aroma. Once it reaches a deep golden color, remove from the heat and pour into whatever bowl you want to make your frosting in. Pop that in the fridge to cool for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour. Just don't let it harden all the way up!
    Once the butter has cooled, add the softened cream cheese to the bowl. Beat with an electric mixer - the texture will seem weird at first but just keep mixing until it smooths out. I promise it will smooth out!
    Add half the powdered sugar and mix until just incorporated. Add the milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and a pinch of salt and mix. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until well combined.
  • Serve + Store: Frost the cupcakes, and enjoy immediately! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Make Ahead Tips: Cupcakes can be made ahead, cooled, and stored in a container at room temp for 1-2 days before frosting.