Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

A while back I worked in a small office in Tribeca. Everyday, when that late afternoon sugar craving hit, I would satisfy it with a pumpkin muffin bought at a local cafe. It was topped with a dollop of cream cheese frosting, transforming it from a mere muffin to a muffin/cupcake hybrid. It was perfect actually because you could fool yourself into thinking it was only a muffin, and vegetable-based to boot, but the frosting really turned it into a nasty treat. Tee hee.

Since then, the cafe has closed and I futilely eat pumpkin muffin after pumpkin muffin hoping to find another so yummy. I hadn’t found anything close, until I made these cupcakes from Emeril Lagasse. Now I always assumed that Emeril was an over-rated TV chef that had more star power than cooking talent. Well, let me tell you, I was wrong with a capital W. Emeril can bring it. Since these cupcakes, I have tried a number of his recipes and all were winners. So thank you Emeril for bringing back my precious muffin/cupcakes. I am eternally grateful.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Yields 22 to 24 Cupcakes

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Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2 cups flour mix A or B

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

3 eggs

12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree

½ cup buttermilk

1 cup golden raisins

For the Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese

4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups confectioner’s sugar


    For the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. Put the raisins in a heatproof bowl and cover them with boiling water. Set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the first seven ingredients and set aside.
  4. In another medium mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree with the buttermilk and mix well.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs just enough to break them up.
  6. Add the melted butter and vanilla and whisk to combine.
  7. Add both sugars and whisk until the mixture is thoroughly combined and smooth.
  8. Add the flour mixture (in three parts) and buttermilk mixture (in two parts) alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until each addition is thoroughly incorporated. Note: You have to be careful not to “over” mix when using wheat flour. If you activate too much gluten, your cake will be tough. However, over mixing is not an issue when you use gluten-free flours. There is no gluten to over activate!
  9. Strain the water from the raisins and fold the strained raisins into the batter.
  10. Fill each liner with about 1/4 cup of the batter.
  11. Place the pans on the center rack and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Tip: If you are not sure if the cake is done, leave it a little longer. It is better to “over” bake a bit than “under” bake.
  12. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on cooling racks. Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 15 minutes before removing them to cool completely. Tip: All spice cakes are better after a day or two. The flavors need to meld.
  13. Frost the completely cooled cupcakes with the Cream Cheese Frosting and serve.
  14. For the Frosting:
  15. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until combined and fluffy.
  16. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  17. Gradually add the confectioner's sugar (1/2 cup at a time) and beat until thick.
  18. Let the frosting sit 10 to 15 minutes before using.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

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