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recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

If you love Pumpkin Spice Lattes, then you'll love these Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes topped with pumpkin espresso frosting. So deliciously perfect for fall!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword coffee, cupcakes, espresso, frosting, latte, pumpkin, pumpkin spice
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes



  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder 1 packet
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree - not pie filling
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup strong coffee or espresso divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 ½ cups confectioner's sugar



  • Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 12 cupcake tin with paper liners.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, instant espresso, and pumpkin pie spice.
  • In another bowl, combine the vegetable oil, pumpkin puree, whole milk, ¼ cup coffee, eggs, and vanilla.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until they are combined-- be sure not to overmix!
  • Divide the batter between the tins, filling each one ¾ of the way full.
  • Bake the cupcakes for 14-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • While the cupcakes are warm, remove them from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack and poke the top a few times with a fork. Drizzle over the remaining ¼ cup coffee (I added about 1 teaspoon to the top of each cupcake).
  • Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting.


  • Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat it on medium speed until smooth.
  • Add in the vanilla, espresso powder, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix to combine.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the confectioner's sugar a little at a time.
  • Once all of the sugar has been incorporated, turn the mixer to high speed and beat until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.
  • Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with your choice of tip (I used a Wilton 2A).
  • Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.


Ingredient Notes - Cupcakes
  • Flour gives the cupcakes structure. Make sure not to pack your flour too tightly or you’ll end up with dense cupcakes.
  • Brown sugar adds a rich sweetness. Granulated sugar will also work if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Baking powder helps the cupcakes rise.
  • Instant espresso powder adds a strong coffee flavor.
  • Pumpkin pie spice adds that classic warmth and spice flavor we all love.
  • Vegetable oil adds richness to the cupcakes and helps keep them soft.
  • Pumpkin puree adds moisture, as well as classic pumpkin color and flavor. Make sure to use 100% pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Milk adds moisture and richness to the cupcakes.
  • Coffee helps enhance the “latte” flavor for the cupcakes.
  • Eggs bind the cupcakes together.
  • Vanilla enhances the flavor of the coffee and pumpkin.
For the Frosting
  • Butter gives the frosting structure. Make sure it’s fully softened!
  • Espresso powder makes the frosting slightly coffee-flavored.
  • Vanilla enhances the espresso and spice in the frosting.
  • Pumpkin pie spice adds warmth and spice to the frosting-- as well as the cupcake.
  • Confectioner's sugar gives the frosting structure and sweetness