My go-to method for baking something new is to Pinterest like crazy, read all the recipes and their discrepancies, and then mesh them all together and wing it. No joke. It usually works out, so naturally, that's exactly what I did for this recipe. It uses real pumpkin and homemade buttercream frosting - does it get any better than that?
I've been making these cupcakes/muffins for years, but for the frosting, I wasn't quite sure how to approach making my own (I usually just buy it pre-made). So I researched "frosting for pumpkin cupcakes", "buttercream frosting", "cream cheese frosting", "pumpkin spice frosting" etc. until I had an idea of what I would need. Then, I tweaked my list based on what was already in my pantry (who has time to go to the store when you've got cupcakes on the brain? Not I, my friend), and this recipe was born.
It makes about 15 cupcakes, and I had plenty of frosting left over. You could scale back on the frosting if you want, or just have extra for slathering on, I don't know, everything? Like these Pumpkin Spice Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches or a topping for these Fall Inspired Candy Popcorn Balls. Seriously, homemade buttercream frosting is that good.
1 box of Spice Cake Mix (I like the Super Moist Betty Crocker Delights version below)
1 can of pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
1 cup of butter, softened but not melted
5 cups of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
5 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon salt *not shown
Cinnamon *not shown
Decorative edibles (sprinkles, pumpkins, etc.)
First, pre-heat your oven to 375.
Add your spice cake mix and your can of pumpkin to a bowl. Do NOT add anything on the ingredients list of the spice cake box - you don't need eggs or oil or water - the canned pumpkin is plenty of moisture and it's all you need. #win
Mix it together, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to incorporate powder that gets stuck.
After lining your cupcake pan with your paper liners, fill them (don't overfill!) with your pumpkin spice cake mix.
Toss those babies in the oven, and bake for 12-17 minutes (until a fork comes out clean). I baked mine for the full 17 minutes, but I'm also in Colorado and have altitude adjustments to deal with, so yours may not take as long. I recommend putting them in for 12 minutes and checking them like a lunatic every minute thereafter. These bake more like muffins, so they won't be smooth on top - that's ok!
While the cupcakes are baking, get started on your cinnamon buttercream frosting! Are you ready? It's so easy. Mix together butter, powdered sugar, heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and salt for about 5 minutes (or until smooth and creamy)
That's it! Add your cinnamon in little by little, to your taste. You can add more heavy cream if you need to thin it out (or conversely, more powdered sugar if you need to thicken it up).
All that's left to do is frost and decorate! Wait until your cupcakes are completely cool first so that your buttercream doesn't become a gooey, melted mess and slide off the top.
I hope you have some time to whip these up - they're seriously delicious, super easy, and a perfect way to bring in the -ber months ;) What are your favorite fall treats? I'd love to know below!