Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I first made these cupcakes on a whim a few weekends ago for a football game. The game plan is usually for my parents to bring a TON of food to my apartment if they have tickets, and all my friends will come over to eat. If my parents don't have tickets, we'll decide to make something ourselves or do a potluck type deal at my place. And I love it.

Usually, my contribution is dessert. Of course. :)

I don't really know how I feel about pumpkin. Or pumpkin spice. I really want to like the taste of pumpkins, mostly because it's so popular right now, but I don't think I really do. There are so many creative uses of pumpkin floating around food blogs and Pinterest. Pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pies, pumpkin donuts. It's everywhere! And I really wanted to contribute.

One day at the grocery store, I almost bought a can of pumpkin puree. Seriously, I stared at it for a good minute or two before I put it back on the shelf. What if I bought it, opened it to bake something, and decided  I didn't like it? A few minutes later, I was walking past the milk and coffee creamers and saw a pumpkin spice creamer. I don't know why I thought that would be a better idea, but I bought it and it turns out it was!

So, because of my uncertain feelings toward the pumpkin/pumpkin spice flavors, I decided that I couldn't go wrong with a chocolate cupcake. Right? Right! Almost everything tastes good in chocolate.

adapted from my Black Magic Cake recipe

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup pumpkin spice coffee creamer
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee
  • Make a pot of strong coffee.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Carefully whisk them together.
  • In another large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, eggs, vanilla, oil, and pumpkin spice creamer. Mix well.
  • Measure out one cup of coffee in a heat proof measuring cup and measure out the buttermilk in another measuring cup.
  • Add half the coffee, half the buttermilk, and half of the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated.
  • Repeat: add the rest of the coffee, buttermilk, and dry ingredients.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degress. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
  • Divide batter evenly between the cupcake pans. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake and it comes out clean.


1 eight oz package of cream cheese
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup), room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups powdered sugar
  • Once the cupcakes are cool, cream the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. 
  • Add vanilla, milk, and cinnamon. Mix until combined.
  • Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl between each addition.
  • If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar 1/4th cup at a time. If it's too thick, add milk one tablespoon at a time.
  • Then I transferred the frosting to a decorating bag with a tip, but you can frost them however you want. I also added some orange sugar sprinkles.

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Notes: For someone who doesn't really like pumpkin, I really enjoyed these cupcakes. Mainly because they were mostly chocolate, but the pumpkin spice is definitely in there. I personally found that it wasn't too strong, but if you'd like more of a pumpkin spice flavor, you could do 1/2 cup of buttermilk and 1/2 cup of pumpkin spice creamer instead of 3/4 cups and 1/4 cups.

Originally, I wasn't sure about this cupcake + frosting combination, but they work really well together. If you're looking for something that isn't too pumpkiny for Thanksgiving, you should give these a try and let me know how it goes!

Happy early Thanksgiving!


  1. Great photos! The cupcakes sound awesome.

  2. These sound amazing! Personally, I'm a huge fan of everything pumpkin, so I'm sure I'd love these. So glad I found your blog! Pinned :)

    1. Thanks so much! I'm glad you found my blog because I just looked at yours and I love it! Thanks for following me on Instagram too! :)

  3. Wow! Just WOW! Why didn't I get to eat one of these? You must have hidden them in the Beth Cave somewhere out of sight!

    1. You could have eaten one if you wanted to! You were standing right there when I was frosting them!

    2. No way! I was too busy hauling in tons of food for Beth's friends!

  4. Your photography keeps advancing! I LOVE cooking with pumpkin and basically all things pumpkin. The recipe seems really tasty!

    1. Thanks, Aunt Jane! I think I like pumpkin a little bit better than I thought I did, but I'm still not sure about it. haha :)