Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes With Caramel Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I love fall.  I love everything about fall.  I love the end to the blazing hot summer here in Phoenix, I love heading into the holiday season and I LOVE fall baking.  Pumpkin, caramel, apples, cinnamon, cream cheese, pies…  they are my favorite flavors, and I try and mix, match and make them in as many ways as I can.   These Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes With Caramel Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting are a perfect example of that.   Unfortunately we don’t have many traditional fall activities here in the desert such as apple or pumpkin picking, but we do certainly enjoy working those flavors into our menu to try and get a taste of fall.

Each month Kraft Foods share some fabulous themes to inspire Kraft Tastemakers like myself in our kitchens.   When I read about baking up some September-Inspired Treats, using flavors like pumpkin, I was ready to preheat the oven.   Pumpkin is one of my favorite things to bake with year round, and I have found it to be a fabulous asset in the kitchen, even making a great replacement for butter or oil in many muffin and cookie recipes.   When I found the recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, I knew I wanted to make them and put my own spin on them.  And my own spin includes lots of caramel.

Last fall I made a pumpkin cake for my family and at the last minute poked some holes in it and poured on a little caramel ice cream topping before frosting the cake.  My daughter is still, a year later, talking about this cake.    I thought it would be fun to make these cupcakes into poke cupcakes and add caramel to them, the same way that I did with the cake.   It is so simple, after following the directions to make your cupcakes; you simply poke some holes into the top of your cupcakes (I used a straw for mine) and spoon on a bit of caramel sauce while they are still warm.   The caramel sort of soaks through the cake giving it a nice hint of caramel flavor.

Not one to stop at adding caramel to just one part of the recipe, I decided that the frosting needed some caramel as well.   I slightly modified the recipe with my own twist, creating a delicious, but not overly sweet, Caramel Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.   It is incredible.   My husband has taste tested quite a few cupcakes in his day, and these were proclaimed to be one of the best cupcakes ever.

Once the cupcakes had cooled completely, I frosted them and added another small drizzle of caramel to the tops.   You can easily skip this part, but it certainly makes for a lovely presentation.  I also added a tiny topping of sea salt, because the only thing better than caramel is salted caramel.     These can be a bit messy due to the caramel, so you may want to add the cupcakes to a second cupcake liner after removing from the cupcake pan.

Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes With Caramel Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield 24 Cupcakes

Serving Size 1 Cupcake

Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes With Caramel Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 1 pkg. (2-layer size) spice cake mix
  • 1 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping sauce
  • Frosting
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping sauce
  • Pinch of salt


HEAT oven to 350ºF.

BEAT first 5 ingredients with mixer until blended; spoon into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.

BAKE 20 to 22 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 2-3 minutes then using a straw or knife, poke 3-4 holes in the top of each cupcake. Drizzle a small amount of caramel sauce over the top of each cupcake, allowing it to sink into the poked holes.

Cool in pans 10 min.; remove from pans. Cool completely.

BEAT cream cheese, butter, caramel and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until blended. Gradually beat in sugar. Blend in cinnamon and salt. Spread over cupcakes. Optional, garnish with a drizzle of caramel sauce and pinch of sea salt.

STORE cupcakes in refrigerator.


Looking for more of these great flavors?   Try…

Disclosure: As a Kraft Tastemaker, I am compensated for my participation in the
program and for sharing
recipes with my readers.  All recipe choices and opinions
however are mine and mine alone. 


  1. JodiB says

    I am so making these for my guinea pigs (er, I mean my family)! My mom & dad love anything that has the words pumpkin, caramel & cheesecake, so will flip over them all together!

  2. Tiffany says

    Those cupcakes sound absolutely divine and a “must make” for this year. For the caramel ice cream topping… is that 1/4 cup?

  3. lee ann, story time lady says

    Can’t wait to try these cupcakes! I’m with you: caramel is great, but salted caramel is outrageously good! I actually have a bag of pumpkin spice cookie mix in the pantry…I may drizzle some of this frosting over them. Thanks!

  4. Mary Juckett says

    can you tell me if the pumpkin we need already has spices, or do we get a can without the spices? Please let me know, as I am going to try and make these…Thanks….

  5. kathy says

    Im making these now and the cream cheese frosting seems a little runny. Is there anything i can do to make it more hard like frosting from the store so it doesnt just go all over the cupcake? Thanks!

    • says

      Kathy, you can almost always thicken up frosting with more powdered sugar. Frosting is hard as the temp of your ingredients and the temp around you can change things. When I’m not baking for the blog I actually never measure powdered sugar, I just use enough to get the right texture I’m looking for.

      • Stacey says

        I made these and they were delicious! I too had the problem with the runny frosting, but did not read this note before making them. I actually only used 3 cups of powdered sugar as I prefer frosting that is not too sweet. In the future, if I use less sugar, should I also use less of the caramel sauce and cream cheese? In other words, what should I use less of in order to avoid the runny-ness. Thank you!

  6. Crystal says

    These look delicious. This may be a dumb question, but I am no baker of any means! I was wondering what the 2-layer spice cake mix was. I have 2 individual regular size betty crocker spice cake mixes. Can I use these? One or two?

    Thanks, (Can’t wait to try these out)

  7. Ally says

    Made these recently and they were a huge hit! I didn’t use quite as much powdered sugar as it called for. Anyway, they are truly delicious! My co-workers are still raving about them. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I will definitely make these again.


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