Celebrate fall with these easy pumpkin cupcakes, warmly spiced and topped with a light and fluffy boiled milk frosting!
These pumpkin cupcakes a simple yet delicious pumpkin spice dessert, perfect for enjoying during the cooler days of autumn!
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It’s so much fun to be a “keeper of the seasons,” isn’t it?
As moms, we get to enjoy each time of the year in a different way, as we watch it unfold through the eyes of our children.
It’s so special to be able to create memories and traditions with them, to celebrate the big things like season changes and holidays in even small ways.
I’m finding that it is often the small things that can brighten an ordinary day into a mini-celebration, and that’s where these easy pumpkin cupcakes come in!
Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes from Scratch
There is no shame in doctoring up a cake mix to make a delicious dessert in a flash.
But I don’t always have a cake mix on hand, and sometimes, you can very quickly whip up a tasty treat just with the ingredients already in your pantry.
These pumpkin spice cupcakes can be easily made with staple ingredients, so this recipe is perfect for those days when you want a special sweet treat, but don’t want to run out to the store for one or two random ingredients.
They are soft and moist, and have just the right amount of warm spices that make it taste like fall in a cupcake!
I top them with a light and fluffy boiled milk frosting, which is sweet but not overpowering, so it lets the pumpkin spice shine through.
What is Boiled Milk Frosting?
Boiled milk frosting, or sometimes known as Ermine frosting, may sound a little strange.
Most of us are familiar with buttercream frosting or cream cheese frosting, but boiled milk frosting isn’t quite as well-known.
Essentially, you cook milk and flour together to make a paste, then you beat it into a mixture of butter and granulated sugar until it’s light and fluffy, almost like whipped cream.
The first time I had boiled milk frosting was many years ago when Miss Betty, a sweet older lady from our church, made us a banana cake topped with a frosting that was sweet but fluffy.
My husband raved about the frosting, so I asked her if she would share the recipe. She jotted down some notes on a scrap of paper, and I was confused by the frosting ingredients. Flour in frosting?
She explained the concept of the frosting to me, saying, “You just keep beating it until it comes together.”
And she was right! It does take several minutes for everything to come together, but if you keep beating it, it will eventually transform into a light and fluffy mixture that you’ll want to eat with a spoon.
Another reason I like to use this frosting instead of buttercream or cream cheese frosting is that you probably already have all of the ingredients!
I don’t always have cream cheese on hand, and I may not have enough powdered sugar for buttercream, but I pretty much always have milk, flour, plain white sugar, and butter!
I added a hint of maple extract to my frosting this time around, but you could certainly just add vanilla extract or no extract at all if you don’t have any on hand!
How to Make Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Boiled Milk Frosting
You’ll start by mixing together some vegetable oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.
Mix in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, you’ll combine all of the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt.
With the mixture on low speed, you’ll gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
Divide the batter into prepared muffin cups, then bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes.
While the cupcakes are cooling off, prepare the frosting.
In a small pan over medium heat, you’ll whisk together some milk and flour, cooking it until it starts to form a pudding-like paste.
Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool completely (I often scoop it into a bowl and put it in the fridge so it will cool faster). It’s important to let it cool completely, so it doesn’t melt the butter in the next step!
With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy. Then, add in the cooled milk/flour mixture and the maple extract (if using).
Beat this mixture at high speed until it is light and fluffy. At first, it will look pretty strange, but just keep beating it and it will come together (it usually takes about 7-8 minutes for mine to come together).
When it’s done, it will be similar to whipped cream, and it won’t be grainy.
Then, you can frost the cooled cupcakes. You can pipe the frosting on in a pretty design, or you can simply spread it on with a knife or spatula.
I hope you enjoy this special taste of fall!
More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes You’ll Love
- Amazing Pumpkin Cobbler
- Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
- Frozen Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- For the Frosting:
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp maple flavoring extract
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer), mix together vegetable oil, brown sugar, and white sugar until combined well.
- Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Add in pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and mix to combine.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing only until everything is combined.
- Divide batter into 12 muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.
- While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together flour and milk.
- Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken, then continue stirring with a spatula or wooden spoon. Continue to stir and cook until it is thick and pasty (like pudding or school paste, if you remember that!).
- Allow the mixture to cool completely (you can transfer it to the fridge to cool if you're in a hurry. You don't want it to be warm at all or it will melt the butter).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or with an electric mixer), mix butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in the cooled milk mixture and maple extract, beating at high speed until it becomes light and fluffy (it will look strange at first, but just keep on beating it until it comes together--this usually takes about 7-8 minutes for me). When it's done, the frosting will be similar to whipped cream, and the sugar will have dissolved (so it won't be grainy).
- Frost cupcakes as desired and serve!
Cupcakes slightly adapted from Live Well Bake Often. Frosting adapted from Betty Foley.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 316Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 186mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 4g