Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes

Fall is in the air here in Denver, Colorado.  We’ve already had a few days of 32F weather, the trees in town are turning and dropping leaves, and the pumpkins are starting to appear on people’s front porch.

With my nieces and nephew in town now, I look for more sweet treats for them, but I also want something natural and homemade, without too much fuss.  I came across a recipe for pumpkin bundt cake and thought I’d adjust it for Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes.  I also reworked it for high altitude.

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These pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are a big hit in the neighborhood!  Fragrant with pumpkin spice, dense and very moist, with just a dollop of frosting on top, they earned quite a few oohs and aahs!  Try a batch for your Halloween party!

I found the cupcakes need only a dollop of frosting on top. Or, they are moist and sweet enough to take just a dusting of sugar if you prefer. Enjoy!

Here’s a decorating tip: I found these Halloween cupcake stencils on Etsy:

Halloween Cupcake Stencil Tops

They are really simple to use – if you use the right sugar. If you dust your cupcakes with regular powdered sugar, it will immediately absorb moisture from the cupcake and turn translucent. If you simply sift together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1 cup of powdered sugar, you’ll create a non-melting decorating sugar that will last a lot longer on your cakes and cookies.

It also helps to freeze the cupcakes for about 15 minutes. This will prevent the stencil from sticking to the top of your cake, and “flipping” sugar all over when you go to remove it!

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes
Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes

Pumpkin puree, butterscotch, and pie spice make this treat a moist and delicious addition to your next Halloween or Thanksgiving party.  And they couldn’t be easier to make.  Includes regular and high-altitude instructions.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Total Time33 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Halloween Recipes, Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes, Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Author: Don Herman

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Butterscotch morsels I used Guittard (which does contain some artificial color, darn it.)
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 3/4 cups Sugar
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder This heavy batter needs some extra baking powder for oompf.
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (Or use whatever your favorite pie recipe calls for.)
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree (Use puree, not pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 lg Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese (At room temp)
  • 4 tbsp Butter (At room temp)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla (Or be creative – some use a touch of cinnamon)
  • 4 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Milk or Cream, if necessary (Just to bring the frosting to consistency)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Line two muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.  (I used aluminum liners and they came out perfectly clean.)
  • Melt butterscotch morsels over double-boiler or in microwave for about 30 seconds, stirring and heating again until JUST melted.
  • In one large bowl, combine the Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Spice and Salt.  Whisk together until blended.
  • In a mixing bowl, lightly blend the pumpkin, vanilla and vegetable oil.  
  • Add the melted butterscotch chips and blend just for a minute. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated.  
  • Add the flour mixture in 4 portions, blending just until moistened.  Beat at medium for two minutes.
  • Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. (I use an ice-cream scoop.)  Make sure all the liners are well-seated in the tin and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into an inner cupcake comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from tin and cool completely

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Beat together the cream cheese and butter until blended and smooth.
  • Add vanilla and blend.
  • Beat in the powdered sugar.  I put ALL the sugar in the mixing bowl and drape a large, very light tea towel over the whole thing.  This keeps the sugar from floating all over the kitchen and spares me from mixing it in batches.
  • If the frosting is too thick for spreading or piping, add a few DROPS of milk or cream and mix again.  I usually never have to.

Here’s the high-altitude version:

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes (High-Altitude Version)

The high-altitude (5000 ft.) version of my Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes.  For the regular altitude version, click here.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Halloween Recipes, Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes, Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes
Servings: 24 Cupcakes
Author: Don Herman

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Butterscotch Morsels I used Guittard (which does contain some artificial color, darn it.)
  • 2 Cups Flour PLUS 2 TABLESPOONS
  • 1 3/4 Cups Sugar LESS 2 TABLESPOONS
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie spice (Or use whatever your favorite pie recipe calls for.)
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 lg Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese (At room temp)
  • 4 tbsp Butter (At room temp)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 4 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Milk or Cream, if necessary (Just to bring the frosting to consistency)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 365F
  • Line two muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners. (I used aluminum liners and they came out perfectly clean.)
  • Melt butterscotch morsels over double-boiler or in microwave for about 30 seconds, stirring and heating again until JUST melted.
  • In one large bowl, combine the Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Spice and Salt. Whisk together until blended.
  • In a mixing bowl, lightly blend the pumpkin, vanilla and vegetable oil.
  • Add the melted butterscotch chips and blend just for a minute. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  • Add the flour mixture in 4 portions, blending just until moistened. Beat at medium for two minutes.
  • Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. (I use an ice-cream scoop.) Make sure all the liners are well-seated in the tin and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into an inner cupcake comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from tin and cool completely

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Beat together the cream cheese and butter until blended and smooth.
  • Add vanilla and blend.
  • Beat in the powdered sugar. I put ALL the sugar in the mixing bowl and drape a large, very light tea towel over the whole thing. This keeps the sugar from floating all over the kitchen and spares me from mixing it in batches.
  • If the frosting is too thick for spreading or piping, add a few DROPS of milk or cream and mix again. I usually never have to.

If you enjoy these cupcakes, check out some of my other cake recipes, like Old-Fashioned Coconut Cake, or All-Natural Lemon Blueberry Cake.


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If you tried these Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes, drop me a note and let me know how they turned out for you. I love to hear from you.

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10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Well, you sold me! I just printed off a copy of this recipe and I cannot wait to make them next weekend.  I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, but I do enjoy pumpkin muffins or pumpkin in something baked. This recipe looks absolutely delicious.  Thanks for sharing and I will let you know what my verdict is once I make them 🙂

    1. Avatar

      Thank you Nicki – I think you’ll really like them.

  2. Avatar

    I’ve been looking to make some treats for the kids this coming Holloween and your recipe is just perfect. Homemade, seasonal and pumpkin happens to be one of their favorite food. Definitely going to give this a try and if it turns out good, I am going to make some extra for the homes too. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Avatar

      Your friends will love them I promise.

  3. Avatar

    Hi, Thanks for this helpful post.I liked this Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes recipes. it sounds very tasty pumpkin cake and I really want to put a bit time to create it for my family. There were a lot of subtle things that I honestly didn’t know about that. This morning,I thought to myself the baking Cupcakes time is just know.but when I have started to make preparation of ingredient I noticed that something were lack.I was totally stuck until I came across your website and I m glad to read and understood the essential points on this blog.I picked up a lot from that. Thank you

    1. Avatar

      Best of luck!

  4. Avatar

    hi there, well looking at your site really made me hungry.  A lot of nice looking images of food and deserts.  I was stationed in Colorado when in the service, loved it.  Very informative, some of the recipes I never heard of but they sound very tasty.    Nice looking webpage  

    1. Avatar

      Come back again!  I always have something new posted.

  5. Avatar

    Hi, Don!

    What a great idea for a niche!  I love that you’re from CO and have discussed baking at higher altitudes.  My family and I live in southern CO (moved here from the midwest).  We’re approximately 9000 ft. here, and something I learned early on is that my baking recipes weren’t turning out, due to the altitude.  This was a foreign concept! 

     I notice in your high altitude recipe for your cupcakes, you’ve added 2 tablespoons of flour.  That’s the amount I’ve heard from the folks around here as well.  Something I’ve never heard of or even tried was lessening the amount of sugar.  Does this help the baking process in some way?  I’m always looking for ways to reduce sugar intake with two kiddos in the house, but if there is an added benefit of less sugar helping the baking process, then it’s even more appealing!

    This recipe looks and sounds delicious.  I’m envious of your neighbors who get to test out all of your trials!  🙂  Keep cooking!  Great site here!

    1. Avatar

      Yes, reducing the sugar is kinda the opposite end of increasing the flour.  You can definitely decrease it more if you find it too sweet.  And skip the frosting entirely – they are moist enough without!  

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