Pumpkin cupcakes with a marshmallow buttercream frosting, two weeks out from US Thanksgiving. Is there really anything else I need to say? Well, besides that we had our Thanksgiving here in Canada a few weeks ago when I made these. Pumpkin spice is a THING this time of year, but as someone who absolutely loves pumpkin things, but doesn’t drink coffee, tea, or any of its many iterations, I miss out on the whole pumpkin spice latte season. I had to adapt. Obviously with cake.
Pumpkin Cupcakes…like, for real?
Pumpkin muffins, sure, everyone’s had those before. But not everyone’s had pumpkin cake, or pumpkin cupcakes. One of my favourite things to make around Christmas and hand out to friends and teachers is my pumpkin spice cake. Sometimes I get a weird look, but I ALWAYS get a message after telling me how much they loved it.
In our house we eat that cake year round. It freezes so well, I make a bunch of loaves, freeze them, then defrost one a week for the kids to devour after school (or in their lunches). So, why not take that recipe, tweak it a little bit, and create some light, fluffy, perfectly spiced cupcakes.
It’s like a slice of pumpkin pie you can just walk around with, holding in your hand.
Marshmallow Frosting…yes, for real!
I mean, if we’re going to be walking around with a cupcake equivalent to a slice of pumpkin pie, you’re damn right that I’m going to find a way to top it with something as good or better than whipped cream. There was only one answer here: marshmallow frosting.
This was so much easier to do than I thought it might be. I was worried it would take forever to get the texture right, or it would somehow end up sticky, or too sweet. I was over thinking things though. I went back to basics with a bakery style buttercream (butter and icing sugar base), and then added the magic ingredient: Marshmallow Fluff.
If you haven’t tried that before, you’re welcome and I’m sorry. Whoever invented a spoonable version of a marshmallow was both a genius and a villian in my life story. Did you know you can just take a graham cracker, throw a piece of chocolate on it, some fluff, and then torch the top (optional) and you have a s’more? Also, s’more dip made with fluff instead of real marshmallows is SO MUCH easier to scoop!
Pumpkin Pie Spice
The cupcake recipe below calls for pumpkin pie spice. I usually have it on hand, but when I don’t, I just make my own to use. It’s so easy, and you probably have all of these ingredients in your pantry already. Here’s a quick recipe for it, and a super cute infographic that’s perfect for sharing (hint hint). I’ll add the pumpkin pie spice mix recipe in the notes section of the cupcake recipe as well.
Looking For More Festive Recipes, Try These Out:
I can’t lie, I love the holidays for a lot of reasons. I love being a little bit ridiculous with our decorations (we have a 5′ tall light up flamingo holding a present in our front hall, and we live in Canada). I love shopping for gifts for people and seeing them smile and laugh when they open them. But I think what I love most is the baking. Here are a couple of my favourites:
Most of the time when I’m baking, it’s not because I want to eat it (that’s just a bonus). It’s because I love sharing it with other people. It’s how I show people I care about them. I put my time and effort into making something for them in the hope they’ll then take the time to sit, relax, and enjoy eating it.
Pumpkin Cupcakes With Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting:
I hope these cupcakes are a huge hit at your next holiday gathering! If you make them, be sure to come back and let me know what you thought of them. Looking at all these pictures while writing this up is making me think this frosting would go pretty good on a chocolate cake too…
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (see notes for homemade recipe)
- 1/2 cup canola oil (can substitute vegetable oil)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (NOT canned pumpkin pie filling)
Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 container Marshmallow Fluff, 7.5oz
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners (I prefer parchment liners, they never stick).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, put the oil, vanilla, eggs, brown sugar, and pumpkin puree. Beat on medium-low speed until well combined.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix until completely combined, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed.
- Using a large cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups 3/4 of the way.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool in the tins slightly before moving them to cooling racks. Cool completely before frosting.
Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting
- Place the butter, marshmallow fluff, and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes so that it's fully combined.
- Scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula, then add the powdered sugar. Mix on the lowest setting until the sugar is mixed through slightly so it doesn't spray up.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, then mix on medium-high for at least 1-2 minutes. The longer you let this whip (I would say no more than 3 minutes is necessary), the lighter and fluffier your frosting will be.
- If you feel the frosting isn't thick enough, you can add a little more icing sugar. If you think it's too thick, you can add a little bit of milk or water, a teaspoon at a time.
- Frost the cupcakes right away.
Note: Both the cupcake and frosting recipe are easy to double. They'll stay fresh, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days, or up to 2 days stored at room temperature)
Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix Recipe
Mix all of the following ingredients together:
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.