pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream

by amy on 15 September 2011

remember when i had a Let’s Bring on Fall party to attend + asked for ideas on what to make? y’all definitely delivered with fantastic recipes. all have been bookmarked or pinned on pinterest, + i’ve started making them. for the party itself? there was no question in regards to the dessert – pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream, suggested by fabulous reader jaclyn.

i owe jaclyn a million cookies. or a huge hug. or both. because these cupcakes were AMAZING. i mean, was there any question that they would be? how can anything with salted caramel buttercream be anything but delicious?! they were just as popular with the kiddos as they were with adults, which is always great — fancy enough to impress foodies while, flavor-wise, simple enough to appeal to kiddo palates. now that the temperatures are finally dropping + fall is around the corner, i know lots of you are looking for cooler-weather sweets. look no further, my friends, because this is the perfect fall treat. consider yourself warned though, these are addictive!

pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream

makes about 20 cupcakes, adapted from made in mel’s kitchen

for the pumpkin cupcakes:


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree


preheat oven to 350 degrees. line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, + allspice; set aside.

in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, + eggs. beat on medium speed until well combined. add dry ingredients + mix on low until smooth. fold in pumpkin puree.

divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. bake until tops spring back when touched, + a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 – 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. transfer to a wire rack + let cool completely.

for the salted caramel buttercream

1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick salted butter
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups powdered sugar


in a saucepan, stir together granulated sugar + water. bring to a boil over medium high heat. cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color. remove from heat + slowly add in cream + vanilla, stirring until very smooth. let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm, but still pourable.

in a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter + salt together until lightened + fluffy. reduce speed to low + add powdered sugar. mix until thoroughly combined.

scrape down the side of the bowl + add the caramel. beat on medium high speed until light + airy, + completely mixed (about 2 minutes). mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration. if your caramel was too hot when added, it will cause your icing to be runny – if this happens refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

51 Cindy November 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Made these for a recent tailgating party and they were a huge hit! So moist, and the frosting is fabulous. I could hear people in the group moaning with pleasure as they bit into one. My sister asked for me to modify the recipe to turn it into her birthday cake. And in a true testament to the deliciousness of the frosting, we caught my two-year-old niece licking it off and returning the naked cupcakes to the serving platter. Next on my to-cook list from your blog: the red wine-braised beef stew. Thanks for all the goodness you share via your recipes!

52 amy November 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm

that is so fantastic to hear, cindy + how fabulous that your niece loved the frosting. hope you caught a picture of that! =) + do let me know how the beef stew turns out for you – it’s my favorite beef stew that i think i’ve ever eaten!

53 Amy L January 23, 2012 at 9:21 pm

These look so good! I’ve always had problems making a good salted caramel buttercream and I couldn’t find a good recipe for it. This one seems promising, so thanks for sharing! :)

54 amy January 23, 2012 at 9:23 pm

thanks so much, amy! i found this salted caramel buttercream to be one of the easiest (+ tastiest) i’ve ever tried. hope it turns out great for you — do report back!

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