Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

These cupcakes are the perfect combination of sweet and fall spice with a frosting that is sweet yet smooth and creamy.

Your family will love these cupcakes for Thanksgiving or any fall parties you have planned!  I always love to change it up every year with my pumpkin inspired desserts and this one is so delectable it will be a hit.  I made these for my neighborhood bunco night and the girls loved them!

The frosting is my favorite part.  I am not the biggest fan of frosting made with powdered sugar, I like regular sugar better but it always just depends on the cupcake to determine what type of frosting is best.  The reason why most frosting is made with powdered sugar is because it dissolves easy but frosting made with real sugar is such a treat and will impress your friends and family.  Around Christmas time my mom would make my sister and I trade off with her for about an hour with an electric mixer beating the butter and sugar to get the sugar to dissolve to make this frosting.  One time we even burnt out the motor.  I found a much easier method of making this frosting which I am going to share with you and it won’t take you an hour and will save your mixer.


Inside the Wire:

-Mix the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices together in a large bowl and make sure all is well incorporated.

-With an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy and then add the eggs in one at a time mixing well after each addition.  Next, add the dry ingredients about a half cup at a time alternately with the milk until incorporated.

-Add the pumpkin and vanilla in and beat until smooth and mixture should look like below.


-Fill the cupcakes with the liners about a half to three-quarters full.  It makes a little over a dozen depending on how much you pour into each liner.  If you have to use a second muffin pan and there are empty spots left just fill them half full with water.  This makes sure those cupcakes cook evenly.  Just be careful when pulling them out of the oven so you don’t spill hot water on yourself or the dog that is right under your feet.

-Cook until the toothpick from a middle cupcake comes out clean.  Let them cool in the pan.


-Making homemade caramel can be intimidating but don’t let it intimidate you.  The first time I attempted it I tried 4 times before I got something that tasted like caramel.  Hopefully this will help you make the yummiest caramel on the first try!  First whisk your sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Once the sugar is dissolved let is boil and do NOT stir and wait until it turns to an amber color.  Once it starts to color it can burn very, very quickly so watch it carefully and as soon as you see that amber color take it off the burner immediately.  Then whisk in the heavy cream slowly because it will bubble up quite a bit and then add the butter.  Once the butter is melted stir in the salt and wallah homemade salted caramel!!!


-For the frosting in a separate bowl you will want to cream your butter until creamy and pearl like.


-The trick to dissolving the sugar in the egg whites is so easy it’s like how did we not think of this sooner.  In a medium sauce pan add water to halfway and put on medium heat.  Next, get a glass bowl that fits at least the bottom of the bowl barely touching the water in the saucepan as shown below and add the eggs whites and sugar and whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves.  You can check this by sticking your index finger in the mixture and then rubbing between two fingers.  Once it no longer feels gritty and it feels smooth it’s done!  This takes about a minute or less so watch carefully you don’t want those egg whites to cook or get too warm.


-Once, you get the sugar dissolved add to a stand mixer or electric mixer and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.  You will want to start out on slow speed then gradually increase the speed to medium-high.


-Next, add in the creamed butter about forth a cup at time and about halfway through it will start to look chunky and runny but keep going that’s normal don’t give up.


-Once all the butter is added keep beating until it is smooth and creamy.  Then beat in the vanilla, and lastly add the salted caramel.

-Ice the cupcakes and then drizzle with remaining salted caramel.  You can drizzle caramel by pouring some into a ziplock back and cutting the corner of the bottom.  You can also pour the remaining into a mason jar and use it on ice cream.





Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Butter Cream Frosting and Caramel Drizzle

  • Servings: a dozen + cupcakes
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print



-2 cups of All-Purpose Flour

-2 teaspoons Baking Powder

-1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

-1/2 teaspoon Salt

-1 teaspoon Cinnamon

-1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

-1 teaspoon Ginger

-1/8 teaspoon Cloves

-1/3 cup Granulated Sugar

-1 cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed

-1/2 cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature

-1 1/4 cup canned Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

-2 large eggs at room temperature

-1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

-1/2 cup Milk

Salted Caramel:

-1 cup Sugar

-1/4 cup of Water

-3/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

-3 ½ Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

-1 teaspoon of Sea Salt

For the Buttercream Frosting:

-1 ½ cups (3 sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature

-4 large Egg Whites

-1/2 cup of Sugar

-1 teaspoon Vanilla

-1/8 teaspoon Salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


  1. Insert cupcake liners into a medium sized cupcake pan.
  2. In a large bowl cream, together the butter and sugars with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Then, add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.
  3. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves until well combined.
  4. Next, add the dry ingredients into the wet about a half cup at a time and alternating with the milk until all is well incorporated on medium to low speed. Don’t overbeat.
  5. Now add the pumpkin and vanilla extract and beat until smooth on medium to low speed.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners one-half to three-quarters full.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean of one of the middle cupcakes.  Let the cupcakes cool in the pan.

Salted Caramel:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and whisk over medium to low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high if needed to bring to a boil.
  3. Boil the syrup until it becomes amber in color. About 6-8 minutes.  Watch carefully once it starts to turn to amber it can burn in quickly.
  4. Immediately remove from heat and whisk in the heavy cream very slowly as the mixture will bubble up.
  5. Once heavy cream is mixed in add the butter and stir until the butter is well incorporated.
  6. Lastly add the salt and cool completely before adding to the buttercream frosting.

Butter Cream Frosting:

  1. Add the butter to a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan add water to about halfway and heat up on stove at medium heat.
  3. In a small glass bowl that fits perfectly over the pot of water combine the sugar and eggs whites and whisk over the hot water until the sugar is dissolved. This should take less than a minute.  You can test by rubbing a bit between your fingers and it should no longer feel gritty.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or electric mixer, add the egg white/sugar mixture and beat starting on low speed and gradually increasing the speed to medium-high until stiff, glossy peaks form. It takes about 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Reduce the mixer to medium-low speed, and gradually add the butter, 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and salt.
  6. With the mixer, still on medium-low, gradually add 1/3 cup of the salted caramel or more depending on your taste, and continue beating until it is completely incorporated.
  7. Now ice the cupcakes and finish off with the left over salted caramel and drizzle.