These pumpkin spice cupcakes are light and tender with the perfect crumb. They feature delicious swirls of fluffy vanilla-espresso frosting. These fall treats rival those from the best bakery in town.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly-packed
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup espresso (or strong coffee), divided
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
VANILLA ESPRESSO FROSTING
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
- Sea salt, to taste
- Ground cinnamon, as desired
RECIPE PREP: Adjust oven rack to center position. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-well cupcake pan with parchment-paper cupcake wrappers.
- In a large batter bowl, combine dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, light brown sugar, baking powder, sea salt, instant espresso powder, and pumpkin pie spice.
- In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients: vegetable oil, pumpkin puree, whole milk, and 1/4 cup of coffee (espresso), eggs and vanilla extract.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Don’t over-mix or cupcakes will be flat instead of fluffy.
- Divide the batter between the 12 wells of prepared cupcake pan. Fill each 3/4 full. If you have one, use a cookie scoop. Bake cupcakes 14 to 16 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of 2 cupcakes comes out clean.
POKE, DRIZZLE AND COOL
- Transfer cupcakes to a metal rack positioned over a baking tray. With a fork, poke a few holes in the top of each cupcake. With remaining 1/4 cup espresso, drizzle 1 teaspoon coffee over the top of each cupcake.
- Cool cupcakes on the counter 1 hour before frosting. Or speed up the process: cool them in the fridge for 30 minutes.
VANILLA ESPRESSO FROSTING
- Add butter to the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Turn speed to low. Add vanilla, espresso powder and pumpkin pie spice. Blend to combine. Add powdered sugar slowly.
- Once sugar is fully incorporated, increase speed to high. Beat a full 2 minutes until frosting is light and fluffy. Do a taste test. If frosting is too sweet add a tiny pinch of salt. For my taste: 1/16 teaspoon is perfect.
- Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a metal tip. I recommend a Wilton 2A. Pipe on icing in beautiful swirls. If desired, garnish with a light sprinkling of cinnamon.
MORE IDEAS FOR GARNISHING: Mix turbinado sugar with ground cinnamon and finely-minced candied ginger. Or try topping the cupcakes with a drizzle of caramel. But for this option, use more powdered sugar in the frosting to make it stiffer. We want it to support the weight of the caramel without slumping.
HOW LONG DO CUPCAKES LAST? The general rule is to enjoy them fresh on the day they’re baked, or within 24 hours. But stored in an air-tight container at room temperature, cupcakes can last up to 2 days.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes, Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes