Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Frosting and Cream Cheese Glaze

These chocolate cupcakes with pumpkin frosting were a trip to make, let me tell you. You know those days were it seems like so many little things are going wrong that really they add up to one giant thing? I was having one of those days when I made these cupcakes.

When the first batch came out of the oven looking like hockey pucks (the signature sign of forgetting the baking soda), I was immediately reminded of my first bakery job, where I forgot to put the sugar in a batch of muffins and ruined two massive trays of muffins. If you’ve ever worked in a bakery, you know that’s ALOT of muffins. Oops.

Batch number two followed shortly after. It is, after all, my go-to chocolate cake recipe that I’ve made so many times I could almost do it in my sleep. Almost. Once I made it to the frosting stage, I realized I was out of piping bags. It wasn’t long until I discovered that DIY parchment paper-fashioned piping bags are ridiculous and whoever invented those things, anyway?

Fast forward a quick trip to the store (I’ve graduated to reusable piping bags) and I was ready to photograph these beauties. But alas! A dead camera battery stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t help but laugh at the sequence of events that day, it’s almost as if these cupcakes knew how good they were, and how dare I put their recipe online for the world to see! And yes, we food writers love to anthropomorphize our food…deal with it.

The bright orange pumpkin frosting is the star of the show here, letting the super moist chocolate cake take a backseat. A little tang from the cream cheese glaze amps up the flavor and adds a little something special. Granted you don’t make a million mistakes as I did, it’s a pretty quick recipe to whip up, too. Enjoy

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Frosting and Cream Cheese Glaze

Author: PaletteDining
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 16 cupcakes


  • [i]Cupcakes[/i]
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TB cider vinegar
  • 1 TB vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • [i]Frosting[/i]
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 TB milk
  • [i]Glaze[/i]
  • 2 TB cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 TB milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two cupcake pans with 16 paper liners. Take out the cream cheese from the fridge to soften on the counter while the cupcakes are baking.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. Make a well in the center and add the cider vinegar, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Gradually add the water, whisking as you go. Pour the batter into the liners and fill them 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops spring back to a touch.
  3. To make the frosting, add the butter, pumpkin, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and milk to a mixing bowl and mix beginning on low, then moving to high as the sugar gets incorporated. Mix until light and fluffy.
  4. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, ice them with the pumpkin frosting. Add the glaze ingredients to a small bowl and whisk, then drizzle atop the frosting. Serve.

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