Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

There it is: the first pumpkin of Fall 2008 (and certain not to be the last!) I thought long and hard about what pumpkin-y treat I wanted to bake first, and after seeing the maple cream cheese frosting on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody I knew that I wanted to incorporate it somehow.
I immediately thought of pumpkin cupcakes, because lately I’ve been very fond of cupcakes, but a search for the perfect pumpkin cupcake recipe left me feeling defeated. I didn’t want anything too dense, I didn’t want raisins, nuts or chocolate chips. I wanted my cupcakes to be simple – just pumpkin and spice, to provide a nice base for the main event – the maple cream cheese frosting.
I ended up with this recipe, which I am pretty happy with. It’s delicate but intriguing, and the cupcakes are a beautiful light orange.  I decided to use real maple syrup in the frosting (instead of maple extract), so there is just a hint of maple flavor, but I like the way the cupcakes and frosting go together.  This recipe makes a LOT of frosting, which I love, but if you frost the cupcakes thinly you could easily make do with half a recipe.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
Preheat oven to 350 and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, spices, and sugars.
In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
Gently stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack
4 tbsp butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 cups powdered sugar
With the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese. 
Add maple syrup and beat on medium until combined.
Mix in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, then mix on medium-high until smooth.
Frost each cupcake liberally.

15 Responses to “Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. 1 Joelen September 25, 2008 at 6:15 am

    Beautiful cupcakes and a sweet way to welcome the fall season!

  2. 2 Linds September 25, 2008 at 11:01 am

    I agree with Joelen- what a great way to ‘ring in Fall’….these look delish!

  3. 3 Katie September 25, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Wow! Those muffins look like PERFECTION! YUMMMMM!!

  4. 4 Amy September 25, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Those look delicious. Now I want cupcakes!!

  5. 5 KMAYS September 25, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Now I will not be satisfied with my pumpkin muffin because I will wish it was frosted with maple cream cheese… Thanks. 😛

  6. 6 Colleen September 25, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    These look great, Cate! I love the twist on the cream cheese frosting with maple!

  7. 7 Maria September 25, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Gorgeous cupcakes and perfect for fall!
    I left you an award on our blog!!

  8. 8 RecipeGirl September 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    A perfect fall goodie! Love it!!

  9. 9 That Girl September 25, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Sprinkles makes a fantastic pumpkin cupcake – sounds like the kind you would like. But I love the addition of a maple cream cheese frosting.

  10. 10 Ellen September 25, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Wow. I’d like to eat one of those. These’ll be on my v. long list of things to try.

  11. 11 Vera September 25, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Cate, they are perfect! The frosting is so creamy!

  12. 12 Elly September 25, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    Yum! These look so great. I think I need to make these soon 🙂

  13. 13 Lisa September 26, 2008 at 12:19 am

    I have been looking for a fall cupcake recipe. This is it!

  14. 14 jennrs September 26, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Oh lord those look good. Way to play up the pumpkin with that fab pic of the libbys can.

    If only it would not be 90 degress and humid so I could get in the mood for all things fall.

  15. 15 Mom November 1, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    It’s a good thing you said to frost these liberally–just the thing when all us liberals get together for my election night party!

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