Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s pumpkin season, which gives us plenty of reasons to get the pumpkin spices out and overload everything with those deliciously aromatic autumnal spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg!

Credit: Baked by Sarah, Hokkaido Pumpkins

Hokkaido pumpkin is perfect for baking with and especially perfect for gluten free bakes. Gluten free bakes often risk being too dry or crumbly, but adding fruit or vegetable purees such as pumpkin or beetroot, can bring back that missing moisture and create a beautifully soft and fluffy texture. Making your own pumpkin puree may be time consuming but it is very rewarding when you see the amount of delicious bakes you can get out of it. Plus, the whole pumpkin can be used so nothing goes to waste. The seeds can be roasted with salt for a healthy snack inbetween!

Credit: Baked by Sarah, Pumpkin Patch

These pumpkin cupcakes are simple to make with fresh or tinned pumpkin, are packed full of autumnal spices and are topped off with a silky cream cheese frosting. As usual they are 100% gluten free, the cupcake sponge is also dairy and a dairy free alternative can be used instead of the cream cheese frosting like a soy whip.

What equipment do I need for this cake?

  • Muffin or cupcake baking tray
  • Stand mixer or electric hand-held mixer (optional)
  • 12 Medium sized cupcake cases

What ingredients do I need?

  • Olive oil– A standard vegetable oil or canola oil can be used as an alternative too
  • Brown sugar – Light brown sugar or brown sugar is perfect, try to avoid muscavado sugar as it may change the taste of the cupcakes
  • Eggs – Medium free range eggs at room temperature
  • Gluten free flour – A gluten free flour blend such as Doves Farm Self-raising Flour with added Xanthan gum is perfect for this recipe, otherwise a standard flour blend will work fine
  • Vanilla Essence – Vanilla essence, extract or vanilla paste can be used as long as it is gluten free
  • Baking Powder – Any baking powder can be used, just check the label that it is gluten free
  • Pumpkin Puree*- Homemade or tinned puree is fine for this recipe. The most important thing, is that any excess water has been removed either through blotting or the cheesecloth draining method
  • Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is essential for most gluten free recipes and there’s no exceptions here. Doves Farm is my preferred choice
  • Cream Cheese – Any plain full fat cream cheese is fine
  • Butter – Unsalted butter is preferable for this recipe, if using salted, leave out the extra salt
  • Icing Sugar – Standard sieved icing sugar will ensure no lumps in the cream cheese frosting
  • Mixed spices – For this recipe you can use your own mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger or a pumpkin pie spice mix, all spice mix or mixed ground spice, depending on what is available in your area


  • Blotting or draining – It’s imperative to blott or drain the pumpkin puree beforehand so as to remove any excess water before baking. Too much water will make the cupcakes soggy and wet and has the potential to ruin the cupcakes ( speaking from experience!)
  • Room temperature ingredients – Room temperature ingredients are also extremely important for optimal fluffy cupcakes and a frosting that doesn’t curdle!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Moist pumpkin cupcakes packed with pumpkin spice and topped with a silky cream cheese frosting that’s to die for!

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 15-18 minutes

Chilling Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Servings: 12 medium cupcakes

Difficulty: easy

Author: Sarah | Baked by Sarah, Gluten Free


For the cupcakes:
  • 150g gluten free self-raising flour
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 120ml olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 medium eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence or paste
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 250g pumpkin puree*
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
For the cream cheese frosting:
  • 125g butter, softened and room tem
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 50g cream cheese
  • 30ml double cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 ° C fan assisted and line a cupcake or muffin baking tray with cupcake cases.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and Xanthan gum in a bowl and whisk until combined.
  3. In a separate bow, whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla essence and pumpkin puree.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until thoroughly combined and no pockets of flour remain.
  5. Spoon the mixture evenly into the cupcake cases, filling 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for around 15-18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Middle shelf is prefereable
  7. Once baked, set aside on a cooling wrack to cool completely whilst preparing the cream cheese frosting.
  8. For the frosting, cream the butter in a stand mixer or using an electric whisk until paler in colour and light and fluffy.
  9. Sift in the icing sugar in batches and continue to whisk on the highest setting.
  10. Add the cream cheese and double cream and whisk until well combined.
  11. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes, adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to finish.

Happy Baking!

Tried this recipe? Let me know what you think!

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