Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Bourbon Frosting

Finally, FINALLY I’m enjoying my first day of truly chilly fall weather. The wind is blowing, the air is crisp, and I’m missing fall leaves, apple cider, and my college days in D.C. more than ever.

Not that I’m not happy with my life here in Phoenix. Honestly, I can’t remember a time when things were this good for me. I’m loving my life. It’s just that I could love my life even more if I had real, true fall here.

Luckily, I can bring a little more of fall to me via my kitchen. I can make hot apple cider (with bourbon, of course) and bake up as many yummy pumpkinny, mapley, cranberry treats as possible.

Starting with these delicious cupcakes. Bridget, of “The Way the Cookie Crumbles”, chose these as the winner of her pumpkin cupcake comparison. When Bridget blogs, I listen. The girl knows what she’s talking about. Especially with these cupcakes. Oh yum.

Thank goodness for fall evenings…

pumpkin cupcakes
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Bourbon Frosting
cupcake recipe originally by David Leite, adapted by “The Way the Cookie Crumbles”
frosting recipe an “Apple a Day” original


For the cupcakes:
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. firmly packed dark-brown sugar
⅓ c. granulated sugar
2 c. cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. freshly-ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
½ c. buttermilk mixed with 1 tsp. vanilla
1¼ c. canned solid-pack pumpkin

For the frosting:
12 TBSP (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 c. confectioner’s sugar
2 TBSP bourbon (Maker’s Mark is my favorite)

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350° (175°C). Prepare a cupcake tin with 18 liners.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.

4. Add the eggs 1 at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition.

5. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth.

6. Using a standard-sized scoop, divide the batter equally between the cups. (They’ll be about ¾ full.) Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool the cupcakes on racks completely. 

7.  While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter on low speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes.  Add confectioner’s sugar in three additions, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Add bourbon and cinnamon. Mix until incorporated.  Frost the cupcakes once completely cooled.

pumpkin cupcakes
One year ago: recipe exchange chili

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Bridget
    October 30, 2009 / 1:20 am

    Oh wow, I love these cupcakes so much! I even made them again a few weeks later, and that never happens for me. Cinnamon-bourbon frosting could only make them better.

  2. Anonymous
    October 30, 2009 / 2:54 pm

    What a perfect frosting to pair with the cupcake. Sounds fabulous

  3. Just Breathe
    October 30, 2009 / 3:27 pm

    They sound delicious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *