I’m ready for pumpkin, apples, cinnamon, caramel, you name it, I’m ready to bake it, starting with these pumpkin cupcakes with caramel cream cheese frosting! I always feel like if I just start baking for fall, fall will come. Fall is my favorite time of the year, probably like spring in colder climates – finally a break from our heat and a return to being outdoors. I love everything about fall, especially the fabulous flavors. This weekend I made one of our all time fall favorites, pumpkin cupcakes with caramel cream cheese frosting. If you love pumpkin, put these on your baking list. They are DELISH!
A few years ago we were having family over and I made a pumpkin cake. At the last minute I decided to drizzle some caramel sauce on it while it was still hot, like a poke cake, and it became legendary in this house.
My daughter still talks about that cake two years later. The combo of pumpkin and caramel goes together so wonderfully, especially if you add the caramel sauce while the cake is hot, it sort of just seeps into the pumpkin cake. So if we can do it with cake, we can do it with cupcakes!
There are a few ways to do this. You can poke holes in your cupcake, which I do with a straw, or you can actually cut out a small section from the center, fill it with some caramel sauce, then place the top back on prior to frosting. Both ways are delicious, and honestly I don’t notice a huge difference because the caramel basically melts into the cupcakes. I think the poke the hole method is probably quicker.
You can skip this part if you like. The cupcake will still be absolutely amazing – I promise, I actually make them without caramel quite a bit. But if you love caramel, you should go for it. I probably use about a teaspoon per cupcake, but honestly I just dip my spoon in and start drizzling, very unscientifically! Though do note, they can be a bit messy (hello, caramel!), so they end up being best eaten with a fork. If you need them to be neat and clean, you might want to skip the caramel part and just enjoy the caramel flavored frosting.
And this caramel cream cheese frosting. Whoa. It’s good. I might have even saved some from this batch to serve warm over a dessert (if you have never heated up a cream cheese frosting, you are missing out, it’s all kinds of amazing). What I love about this frosting is that it’s not overpowering in flavor from cream cheese or caramel – it’s mellow, not crazy birthday cake sugary sweet, and so delicious.
Pumpkin Cupcakes With Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 standard size box spice cake mix I typically use Duncan Hines
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 pkg. 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 1/2 - 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping sauce
- Pinch of salt
- Extra caramel sauce for drizzling onto cake and/or on to frosting.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Place 24 cupcake liners in cupcake pans.
- In a large bowl, combine cake mix, water, eggs, oil, pumpkin and cinnamon. Once all ingredients are combined, mix on medium speed for two minutes.
- Fill cupcake liners with batter approximately 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake for 17-22 minutes or until tops spring back lightly when touched.
- Remove from oven and place on wire rack. If drizzling with frosting, use a knife, fork or even straw to poke 2-3 holes per cupcake, and drizzle caramel sauce over holes while cupcakes are still warm. Allow to cool completely prior to frosting.
- BEAT cream cheese, butter, caramel and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until blended. Gradually beat in sugar. Blend in salt. Spread or pipe onto cupcakes. Optional, garnish with a drizzle of caramel sauce and pinch of sea salt.
- STORE cupcakes in refrigerator.
Nutrition information is estimated as a courtesy. If using for medical purposes, please verify information using your own nutritional calculator. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
We love these! I always think of these as a bit more of a sophisticated cupcake flavor wise, as the adults always loves these every bit as much as the kids do. If you love pumpkin, I have lots of other great pumpkin recipes you might want to try!
Big news here at Love From The Oven, it looks like Amazon is shipping copies of my book, SMART COOKIE, a little earlier than expected. Those who have pre-ordered received notice this weekend that SMART COOKIE should arrive in their mailboxes on Friday. The pre-order price is still at $12, a great deal, so if you are thinking of ordering (or buying a few for Christmas gifts!) now is a great time to do so. Click here to order. I am so excited, I hope that everyone loves this book and has a lot of fun with it. It’s pretty cool to see all of the things that you can do with store bought cookies! Every cookie you see below started out on a store shelf or bakery!
These are the best cupcakes ever! I make them only for thanksgiving and everyone absolutely loves them! I don’t use the Carmel but I’m sure they’d love them even more with it! Thank you so much for sharing!
Very good and easy recipe. I am going to make them for Thanksgiving in mini bundt pans.
I have made these 2 or 3 times now and absolutely love them! My question is about the icing. I cannot get it to piping consistency. It’s thick, but not stiff enough to pipe. I have upped the amount of powdered sugar, but didn’t help. Any suggestions? Thanks!
Hi Hollie, what consistency are your butter and cream cheese? If those are too soft, that can be the culprit. Also it seems like there is quite a bit of variation in caramel sauces, so a runnier sauce could also be the issue. My first instinct is to either try a different caramel sauce, a thicker one if possible (jar vs squeeze bottle type of thing) and back off on the caramel sauce a bit, adding a little at at time and stopping when you have the consistency you want.
When does the pumpkin pie spice go in? I think probably with the cupcake ingredients.
Debbie, yep, just with the dry ingredients, sorry!
Tonya smith says
Y store in frig? Do u have to?
Tonya, they have a cream cheese frosting, and I always store cream cheese frosting in the fridge.
These look amazing! I think I am going to make them for my sons school Thanksgiving party! What tip did you use for the icing?
Kaytlin, thank you! Sorry, I’m not sure what tip I used, I typically just grab and go, I’m not much of a cupcake decorator! 🙂
I made these for a potluck dessert contest at work, and it was a huge hit (I actually won the best overall dessert)! I couldn’t find any spice cake, so I used yellow cake mix and upped the pumpkin spice to 2 Tablespoons. It turned out awesome! Thanks for sharing!!
What tip did you use for the piping on the top of the cupcakes?
Allison, honestly since I’m not much of a cake / cupcake decorator, I really pay very little attention to the tips, and usually just grab either a round, open star, closed star, or French tip. My guess is this was an open star, probably 1M.