Pumpkin Cupcakes with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Celebrate pumpkin spice season with these delicious cupcakes. The browned butter in the frosting makes all the difference!

Servings 12 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

For the frosting:

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • mellowcreme pumpkins and sprinkles (optional)


For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line one cupcake tin with 12 liners and set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves (you can also substitute the same amount of spices for 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice). 

  3. In another bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined and lumps are gone. Evenly distribute batter in cupcake cups (about 1/4 cup per cupcake and about 2/3 of the way full). Bake cupcakes for about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes, then remove onto a cooling rack and allow to completely cool.

For the frosting:

  1. Add 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of the unsalted butter to a small, light-colored saucepan. Avoid using a dark saucepan, as it's hard to tell the color of the butter as it browns. Set aside the remaining 2 tablespoons of buttered allow to come to room temperature.

  2. Cook the butter over medium heat, swirling and stirring as it melts. The butter will become clear, then foamy. Watch the butter carefully once it gets foamy, because this is the browning process. Once the butter is a light brown and smells nutty, remove from heat and pour into a small bowl. Place in the fridge and allow to solidify.

  3. Once the butter is completely solid, remove from the fridge and place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream the butter on medium speed for about two minutes, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and cream for another minute. Add vanilla extract and salt, and mix to incorporate. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and cream until completely smooth. Frost the cupcakes once they are cool and decorate, if desired. Enjoy!