These perfectly moist, tender and spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes with a Halloween festive Candy Corn frosting will definitely get you in the fall baking mood!
Fall baking makes my heart sing. Each year I simply can’t wait to make my first pumpkin flavored dessert.
These super cute and fun pumpkin cupcakes with a candy corn colored buttercream topping are a great place to start! They are perfect for the entire fall season and also a little fun for Halloween baking too!
Cupcakes are inherently a simple treat to bake because they don’t require much fuss. In a pinch cupcakes can be whipped up for a bake sale, a potluck or to satisfy your Tuesday night sweet tooth.
There’s nothing more that I love than a simple recipe but being a bit of a perfectionist, I always go the extra mile. I mean, why wouldn’t you want your food to be the best it can be?
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- These cupcakes really speak for themselves! My fave American buttercream recipe creates the cute candy corn top on each pumpkin cupcake!.
- An easy fall themed or Halloween cupcake any level cook can make!
- Super cute cupcakes that are absolutely delicious. I seriously could not stop eating them.
The pumpkin flavored cupcake is just how I love a cupcake to taste: moist, light and so flavorful.
- Eggs: Use large eggs for the best outcome and make sure to allow them to come up to room temperature before making the cupcakes.
- Sugar: I added two different sugars as well because I thought the addition of brown sugar would really add a beautiful molasses note to the pumpkin cupcakes. You will also need confectioner’s sugar to make the frosting. It works best because it easily dissolves making the buttercream perfectly smooth and creamy.
- Vegetable oil: Make sure the oil you are using is neutral in flavor.
- Pumpkin puree: I use canned pumpkin puree for more consistent results. You will have a little left from the can which I suggest freezing for later or using it to make ___.
- All-purpose flour: Be sure to sift it before mixing it into the cupcake batter.
- Leavener: These pumpkin cupcakes are made with both baking powder and baking soda so they get the maximum amount of lift.
- Spice: Pumpkin blends perfectly with the cinnamon and nutmeg really elevates the cupcakes, bringing out those wonderful autumn flavors.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter for the best flavor and make sure to give it time to come to room temperature before making the candy corn frosting.
- Heavy cream: Liquid needed to think out the buttercream a bit. Heavy cream delivers a richer flavor than milk alone.
- Vanilla extract: Adds just a hint of warm flavor to the frosting.
- Food coloring: I am using McCormick Color From Nature Assorted food color but you can use any other brand you prefer! I like that these beautiful colors are made from plants, vegetables and seeds and can be used in all of your non-baking needs.
How to Make Pumpkin Cupcakes
Baking the pumpkin cupcakes takes just a few steps! Here’s what you need to do.
- Combine the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a bowl or stand mixer and beat for three minutes on high speed.
- Add the oil, hot water, and pumpkin to the bowl and mix until incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl so everything mixes together.
- Turn your mixer to the slowest speed and carefully add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix just long enough for all the ingredients to come together.
- Scoop the cake batter into your cupcake liners filling only two-thirds of the way up.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out barely clean.
- Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 10 minutes then remove the cupcakes and allow them to finish cooling on a rack.
How to Make Candy Corn Buttercream Icing
Once you’ve got the pumpkin cupcakes baking in the oven, you can move on to mixing up the candy corn frosting.
- Add the butter and salt to your stand mixer and mix at medium low speed.
- Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add the powdered sugar to the butter mixture in small amounts until everything is added to the bowl. Turn the speed to medium high to fully combine.
- Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract to the bowl and mix until nice and fluffy.
- Evenly separate the buttercream into three different bowls leaving one bowl plain. Color one bowl using the sunflower color and set aside. Color another bowl pumpkin by using both the berry and sunflower colors.
How to Decorate the Cupcakes
Once the cupcakes are fully cooled you can pipe the candy corn frosting on them using a round tip and star tip.
- Pipe one wide ring on top of cupcakes of the sunflower color in a round tip.
- On top add a ring of pumpkin color with the round tip.
- Finish the cupcakes with the white colored frosting using the star tip.
How to Store
Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool environment for up to three days. If it’s too warm, it’s best to store them in the fridge.
You can also freeze pumpkin cupcakes without the frosting on top if you want to make them in advance. Thaw them out on the counter and then top with the frosting.
That’s why I’m a big fan of testing recipes until I just know that I’ve perfected it. This recipe is no exception. Searching for some cupcake tips? Look no further.
- Use a scoop to fill your cupcake liners. There’s nothing worse than pulling your cupcakes out of the oven just to find out they’re either raw in the center or overcooked. By using a scoop you ensure that every liner is being filled with an equal amount of batter. Same amount of batter means uniform baking.
- Preheat your oven before placing your cupcakes inside.
- Adjust the racks to the center of the oven. Doing this ensures good airflow and helps to even out heat distribution which prevent overcooking on any one side of the cupcakes.
- Don’t leave the cupcakes in their pans for too long. The heat from the pan will cause the cupcakes to continue to cook and eventually overcook. That means dry cupcakes that not even a glass of milk will help.
- Hot spots in your oven? If your oven cooks unevenly from front to back, rotate the cupcakes halfway through baking.
- Baking more than one pan of cupcakes? Be sure to place them side by side on the rack. Give each pan as much space as you can while still keeping each one as close to the center of the oven as possible.
Give these tricks a shot and I promise you won’t regret it. Every cupcake deserves a fighting chance, right?
Use a large scoop (typically for ice cream) for standard sized cupcakes and a small scoop (used for cookies) for mini cupcakes.
Use the yellow food coloring to create the desired shade of yellow for the candy corn. Then combine red and yellow food coloring to make the orange.
More Fall Recipes
- Caramel Apple Pound Cake
- Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter
- Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe
- Pumpkin French Toast
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Spiced Sweet Potato Cheesecake Recipe
- Pumpkin Fritters
*Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating and leave comments below!* Post a photo of how your version of the recipe came out on Instagram (using #grandbabycakes)!!
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Candy Corn Buttercream
For the Cupcakes:
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar packed
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup hot water
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon McCormick ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon McCormick ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the Buttercream:
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- Pinch salt
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- McCormick Color From Nature Assorted food color
For the Cupcakes:
- Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and adding 16-18 cupcake liners to two 12 muffin pans.
- In the mixer bowl, add eggs and both granulated and brown sugar and beat for 3 minutes on high speed.
- Next pour in oil, hot water, and pumpkin and mix until incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.
- Turn your mixer to the slowest speed and carefully add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix until just combined.
- Using an ice cream scooper, scoop cake batter into each cupcake liner filling only 2/3s of the way.
- Bake for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out barely clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes then remove the cupcakes from the pans and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely.
For the Buttercream:
- In your stand mixer, add butter and salt at medium low speed.
- Next turn the mixer down to low and slowly add powdered sugar in small portions until all is added then turn the speed to medium high to combine.
- Add heavy cream and vanilla extract and mix until nice and fluffy.
- Evenly separate the buttercream into three different bowls leaving one bowl plain.
- Color one bowl using the sunflower color and set aside.
- Color another bowl pumpkin by using both the berry and sunflower colors.
- To pipe cupcakes, start by piping one wide ring on top of cupcakes using round tip with the sunflower color then follow up on top of ring with pumpkin color with round tip and finish piping one dollop of plain color with star tip on top and serve.
This post was originally posted September 2016. It has been updated with new images and content.