Pumpkin & Cream Cheese Cupcakes

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Instead of the song “What do you do with a drunken sailor?” my house has been filled with the tune “What do you do with a pumpkin puree?”  But really. I sang that.

If you’ve been reading my jibberish for a while now, you know I’ve got a thing for cupcakes. If you’re new, Hi, I’m Carly. I love cupcakes. I love cupcakes with peanut butter and banana, cupcakes with treats inside, cupcakes filled with mousse, and cupcakes for holidays. So naturally, just as it is in my nature to say folks and turn Irish drinking songs into songs about pumpkins, it is also in my nature to answer the question of pumpkin puree with a delicious cupcake.

What do you do with a pumpkin puree?
What do you do with a pumpkin puree?
What do you do with a pumpkin puree?
Put it in a cuuuup-caaake!
(For bonus points, sing along if you know the tune. Send me a video and I’ll love you forever).

But really... 
This just might be the juggernaut of cupcake recipes. It... completes... me. I was just a girl, standing in front of a pumpkin, asking it to love me... Do you get what I'm saying?

Any time I manage to make a substitution for oil, eggs, or butter in a dessert, it's a happy day for me. Pumpkin puree, which has a similar consistency to applesauce, is actually the perfect ingredient to substitute in baking. The end result is an incredibly moist cupcake that has the fiber and health of pumpkin instead of the fat and calories of oil. With such a healthy cupcake, this recipe allows for a slight splurge on the frosting. For a lighter cupcake, go easy on the frosting. For a decadent treat, lay it on!

Prep time: 20
Cook time: 20
Total time: 40
Yield: 20-24 cupcakes
Calories per serving: ~150-200 Calories

  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups Pumpkin Puree (or canned pumpkin for sweeter cupcakes, pumpkin pie filling for VERY sweet cupcakes)
  • 1 box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 8 ounces Cream cheese (low fat)
  • 1/2 cup Walnuts
Cooking Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake molds with paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Add pumpkin puree. Depending on the consistency of your pumpkin puree, you may need to add anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree. If your puree is fairly watered down, go with slightly less. If you've drained your puree and it is fairly thick, go with more.
  4. Beat in vanilla extract.
  5. Place in cupcake papers and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, then set aside to cool.
  6. In a clean bowl, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add butter and mix well, using an electric mixer, for 3-5 minutes. You will likely need to repeatedly scrape the sides of the bowl during this process.
  7. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, spoon the frosting into a piping bag and frost cupcakes.
  8. Garnish with walnuts and serve.


  1. This recipe looks amazing! Sorry if I'm just completely blind (blame it on the daytime cold medicine) - but how many eggs go into the cupcake batter?

  2. Hey Claire!
    Nope you're not blind! I'm just a goof - there are no eggs! So silly, not sure why it said eggs once in that post! I took it out :) Thanks so much!

  3. Can you send some of these to me?!!

  4. Hi!! I'm stopping by from the Super Stalker Sunday Blog Hop! Thanks so much for linking up with us this week! Hope you are having a great week!!

    See you again next week for more fun Super Stalking,
    Kortney @ Kortney's Krazy Life

  5. I'm loving all the pumpkin recipes. They go perfectly with the delightful weather we've been having lately.

    Life…as I see it [Fitness, Health and Happiness]

  6. I'm visiting from the Facebook Like-You-Back hop!! and wanted to say hi! Would love a follow back.

    These cupcakes look awesome BTW! =D Tina

  7. Holy smokes! I'm so trying these!! I love pumpkin and cream cheese anything!!
    Thanks for linking up to Show & Share!! Hope to see you this week!

  8. I want to make these. I just wonder is there any sugar in the cake batter?

  9. Oh yeah...making this one of my Show & Share features tomorrow! Hope you'll come grab a button!!

  10. I'm loving all the pumpkin recipes! Thanks for joining in the Holiday Sweet Swap!

  11. These sound delicious. Great tutorial & pics!

  12. Oh my gosh! :-) these look like HEAVEN! :-) TOTALLY making these! :-)

  13. Made them this past Thanksgiving....they are now my ultimate favs. in the cupcake arena!!! Delish!!!


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