Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes are a perfect fall dessert. Tender and moist, full of warm spices, topped with silky smooth latte buttercream and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. A perfect dessert to welcome sweater weather.

As August turns into September, pumpkin spice lattes are all the rage. Call me strange, but I like an iced pumpkin spice latte rather than hot. In my opinion I can taste the flavors more if in the cold beverage.

And that’s one reason why I love these Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes so much. The flavor is spot on delicious, for when you want a little cake and frosting with your PSL.

an unwrapped cupcake with coffee frosting

Why you’ll love these cupcakes:

  • 100% homemade
  • Moist pumpkin cupcake that is perfectly spiced
  • Homemade silky buttercream made with a coffee pudding base
  • Pumpkin desserts freeze well so these are great for making in advance

What does a pumpkin spice latte taste like?

If you’ve never had a pumpkin spice latte, you first of all have to like the taste of coffee. Although it isn’t a strong coffee flavor, there is espresso in a latte. You’ll also taste creamy milk and a slight pumpkin flavor from a pumpkin sauce or syrup. Then there is the pumpkin pie spice, which is made up of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and sometimes cloves or allspice.

How to Make Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with 12 paper liners: set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.
  • In a large bowl, beat pumpkin puree, oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until combined.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold in dry ingredients until no flour pockets remain.
  • Divide the batter between the baking cups, filling each about two-thirds full.
  • Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to completely cool.

It’s key to let the cupcakes cool before icing them or the icing will slide right off. I find 30 minutes of cooling time is usually enough. Pop them in the fridge for a few minutes to get them to cool more quickly.

Coffee Buttercream

This silky buttercream frosting is just a little bit different than traditional buttercream. It’s more like a swiss meringue buttercream that starts by making a cooked flour and sugar “pudding”. You then cool that cooked mixture and blend it into butter. The frosting ends up not being overly sweet. You’ll love it!

  • In a small saucepan, mix milk, flour, granulated sugar, instant coffee, and salt. Place saucepan over low heat and allow the mixture to come to a boil, whisking continuously. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until thickens.
  • Scrape the “pudding“ into a clean bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the pudding. This keeps skin from forming. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • In a medium bowl, beat butter until light and creamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the cooled pudding, one tablespoon at a time, and mix until the buttercream looks thick, smooth, and creamy.
  • Using a rubber spatula, stir the buttercream to get rid of any large air pockets. Small pockets of air are good and keep the frosting light.
pumpkin spice latte cupcakes sitting on a table

What frosting goes with pumpkin cupcakes?

Don’t like a coffee flavored buttercream? Try one of our other frostings instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use gluten free flour?

You cannot switch out the all-purpose flour for almond or coconut flour. However, an all-purpose gluten free flour may work.

Can I use pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger?

Yes. I’d use about 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice in place of those spices.

Can I use pumpkin pie filling?

No. Canned pumpkin pie filling has sugar and other ingredients in it that will affect the cupcakes. Use only solid pack pumpkin puree.

Can I freeze pumpkin cupcakes?

Yes! Pumpkin desserts freeze really well.

pumpkin spice latte cupcakes sitting on a wire rack
pumpkin spice latte cupcakes sitting on a wire rack

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

4.46 from 11 votes
Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes are a perfect fall dessert. Tender and moist, full of warm spices, topped with silky smooth latte buttercream and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. A perfect dessert to welcome sweater weather.
Servings 12
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes

Ingredients
 

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour spoon & level method
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated preferred
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light or dark brown sugar packed
  • ½ cup oil canola, sunflower, or any neutral tasting oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin puree

For the buttercream:

  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 3 teaspoons instant coffee powder/granules
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • pinch of salt

Garnish, if desired:

  • 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
 

Make the cupcakes:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with 12 paper liners: set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.
  • In a large bowl, beat pumpkin puree, oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until combined.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold in dry ingredients until no flour pockets remain.
  • Divide the batter between the baking cups, filling each about two-thirds full.
  • Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to completely cool.

Make the buttercream:

  • In a small saucepan, mix milk, flour, granulated sugar, instant coffee, and salt. Place saucepan over low heat and allow the mixture to come to a boil, whisking continuously. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until thickens.
  • Scrape the "pudding“ into a clean bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the pudding. This keeps skin from forming. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • In a medium bowl, beat butter until light and creamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the cooled pudding, one tablespoon at a time, and mix until the buttercream looks thick, smooth, and creamy.
  • Using a rubber spatula, stir the buttercream to get rid of any large air pockets.

Decorate the cupcakes:

  • Put the buttercream into a piping bag with a star nozzle attached (or whichever you prefer), and pipe it onto the cooled cupcakes.
  • If desired sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Notes

The calories shown are based on the recipe making 12 cupcakes, with 1 serving being 1 cupcake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 121mg | Potassium: 143mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 2127IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 442
Keyword pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin spice, thanksgiving dessert

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