Caramel Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes: Pumpkin spice cupcakes balanced with a deliciously sweet caramel frosting and topped with chopped Heath bar pieces. Perfection!

Cupcake Camp New Haven has come and gone and I’m so happy to have participated!  It was a nerve-wracking couple of weeks leading up to the event for a couple of reasons.  First, I was questioning my sanity about putting myself “out there”; I am just a home baker after all and I knew the event would be filled with area professional bakeries. And second, I couldn’t decide on a final flavor to make.

But once I had that final flavor chosen, made, and tasted, all of my worries were washed away in a sea of caramel frosting.  This cupcake boosted my confidence and sent me on a sugar high for the rest of the weekend.

I should note here that I’d never made any sort of pumpkin cupcake before this weekend and went solely on the recommendation of Elly from Elly Says Opa! about it’s greatness. And the caramel frosting was a new recipe for me too – talk about taking a chance!

I’m a lover of all things pumpkin but to tell you the truth, I could take or leave pumpkin pie.  That’s why these caramel pumpkin pie cupcakes are so great!

They’ve got all of the fabulous flavor of pumpkin pie without the so-so texture.  The caramel frosting is really what pulls the whole experience together though!  You’ve got a warmed spiced (not heat spicy) cupcake balanced with this deliciously sweet caramel frosting…top it with a few Heath bar pieces and you’ve got yourself an out of body experience.

So…I didn’t win any contests at Cupcake Camp New Haven with these caramel pumpkin pie cupcakes (not sure what the judges were thinking!) but I’ve got an outrageous new cupcake in my repertoire!

Caramel Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

  • Prep Time: 15min (cupcakes) + 15min (frosting)
  • Cook Time: 18-22min
  • Yield: About 27 cupcakes and enough frosting to liberally frost all of them


For the cupcakes:
1 ½ sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 3 tbsp granulated sugar
3 cups cake flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
¾ tsp table salt
¼ tsp plus 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 can (15oz) pumpkin pureé (not pumpkin pie filling)

For the caramel frosting:
3 ½ sticks unsalted butter; room temperature
3 tbsp vegetable shortening
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 ¼ lbs confectioner’s sugar, sifted
½ cup caramel sauce – slightly colder than room temperature
¼ tsp Kosher salt


  • 01

    To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare two standard-size muffin/cupcake tins with cupcake papers.

  • 02

    In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl; set aside.  Measure out the buttermilk and stir in the vanilla. Add the eggs 1 at a time to the mixer mix for 30 seconds each, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Using a large ice cream scoop, fill muffin papers.

  • 03

    Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the pans on racks for 5 minutes and remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 04

    To make the caramel frosting: Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the vanilla extract, salt and caramel sauce and combine well. Gradually add the sugar and mix thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, give it a taste and decide if you want to add in more caramel sauce. For thicker frosting you can gradually add in a little more sugar.

cupcakes adapted from Leite’s Culinaria | caramel frosting adapted from My Baking Addiction

You Might Also Like:

Leave a Comment

  • September 20, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    Those cupcakes look SOOO good and beautiful! I love the combination of flavors, what a fantastic idea. 🙂

  • September 20, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    This cupcake sounds to-die-for! As a picky eater, I’m totally with you on pumpkin pie’s potential texture issues, but it’s hard to go wrong with cake, caramel frosting and toffee!

  • September 20, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    I have a funny story about Pumpkin Pie. My first Thanksgiving in the UK, I missed home so bad. What I missed most of all? PUMPKIN! You can’t find it in cans there, and you can barely find suitable for eating pumpkins. I’d never made pumpkin puree from scratch, but I was dying for pumpkin pie (I do not share your aversion to the texture) and so I marched forward.

    After I managed the puree and the pie all from scratch, I proudly took it to work the next day. The Brits I worked with didn’t know what to make of it. A few boldly tried it and loved it. Then one friend, Holly, took a bite and ran straight for the trash can to spit it out. She could not handle the texture at all, and was mad at me for not warning her it was similar to flan! Sheesh. I thought that much would have been evident when she cut it.

    Did you know they don’t even have Pumpkin Spice Lattes at the Starbucks in Britain? It’s an awful, horrible, no good place to be when you love pumpkin as much as I do.

    I’ll be making these cupcakes STAT. Caramel icing for the win!

  • September 20, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    yum! i really love everything pumpkin:-)

  • September 20, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    So pretty! Anything with pumpkin has my vote!

  • September 20, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Hooray for another pumpkin recipe available to me 🙂 These look ROCKIN’!

  • September 20, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Oh goodness – how did you not win?! These cupcakes sound AMAZING. We’re love anything with pumpkin! And caramel!? Dreamy!

  • September 20, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    Love how that flavour combination just screams fall. (Okay, it also screams “eat me now”, but that’s another story).
    I’m a total sucker for anything pumpkin-flavoured at this time of year, so these are totally going on the must-try list for my next baking extravaganza. Thanks so much for sharing! (and good luck on PFB… you’ve got my vote)

  • Liz @ Blog is the New Black
    September 20, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    These look amazing. I made caramel apple cupcakes this weekend and I, too, was in need of a great caramel frosting. I really enjoyed the one I used, to be posted tonight. 😉 Great job!

  • September 20, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    These cupcakes look so decadent and perfect for fall! Best wishes in the competition!

  • September 20, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Oh yum! I love anything pumpkin, but I’m definitely making these this week. Thanks for sharing!

  • September 20, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    This cupcakes sound and look incredible. Love the flavors and the frosting sounds to die for!

  • September 20, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    These look phenomenal. I will make them the second the temperature drops below 80 degrees here in hot, humid Florida! YUM!

  • September 20, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    These cupcakes look gorgeous! I love anything pumpkin so I’m sure I’d love these!

  • September 20, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    These cupcakes sound so delicious and perfect for fall. And kudos to you for stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something challenging! Looks like it was a huge success! 🙂

  • September 21, 2010 at 3:47 AM

    So creative! And they look so cute and I just want to bite into it

  • September 21, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    it is totally nerve racking putting yourself out there! good for you! takes guts! and the cupcakes look awesome!

  • September 21, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    These look amazing!! I will have to try them since I have a little pumpkin left over from last year.

  • September 21, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    OMG..these are so not fair to my waistline. 🙂

  • September 21, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    Wow… these are so gorgeous!! Great job!!! I’d love one if you’re sharing 😉

  • September 21, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    Absolutely beautiful photos of your cupcakes! They sound delicious.. I love everything pumpkin and can’t wait to try these out- especially that frosting!

  • September 21, 2010 at 9:46 PM

    These look amazing! I’ve been waiting to cook with pumpkin til fall officially gets here tomorrow. I have so many recipes saved up at this point (this one now included) that I’m going to be busy in the kitchen for quite awhile!

  • September 22, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    These cupcakes sound absolutely devine!!! I love anything pumpkin but have never thought of pairing it with caramel. Can’t wiat to try these!

  • September 22, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    mmm those sound delicious, Tara – and what a perfect frosting swirl!

  • September 22, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    I made these today and gave my taste testers a chance with cream cheese or this caramel. The caramel won hands down. Thanks, I need to get the heath bars as I forgot those and they will make them even better.

  • September 23, 2010 at 11:24 PM

    I LOVE all things pumpkin too! These pumpkin cupcakes look and sound amazing!!!!

  • September 24, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    OH. MY. GOLL.

  • September 24, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    Oh my gosh, I love pumpkin ANYTHING! I’ll have to try that recipe ASAP!

  • […] here for pumpkin scones too Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting | Sweet Pea's Kitchen Caramel Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins with Pecan Streusel what megan's making…: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies […]

  • September 28, 2010 at 12:31 AM

    YUM with a capital Y! These look incredible! I am totally gonna make these and maybe add some mini chocolate chips to the batter….because chocolate and pumpkin are awesome together!

  • Bobbi
    September 28, 2010 at 10:29 PM

    On your caramel icing, it says caramel topping, like ice cream topping that you squeeze out of the bottle? Which one did you use?

    Your cupcakes look divine. I love all things pumpkin, including pumpkin pie, but I love love love cupcakes and so how can you go wrong combining cupcakes and pumpkin its the best of both worlds. I will have to make these soon, Thank you for sharing your recipies!

    • smellslikehome
      September 29, 2010 at 5:22 AM

      Bobbi: Thanks for your comment! You can use any kind of caramel sundae topping for this recipe. We love Mrs. Richardson’s but if you’re adventurous and have a few extra minutes, you can make your own caramel too (there are recipes out there). Hope that helps and thanks for stopping by!

  • Becky
    September 30, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    i made these cupcakes last weekend and they were amazing. Some of my trusted taste testers even said they were the best ones yet! Thanks for the great recipe, i’ve passed on your blog to so many people asking for the recipe. Oh, and i did add quite a bit more caramel than your recipe but it still wasn’t too sweet, came out just right.

    • smellslikehome
      September 30, 2010 at 1:57 PM

      So glad you and your taste testers enjoyed them so much! They are a big favorite around here. 🙂 A big thanks for passing my blog around!

  • […] Like Home shares her Caramel Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes, such great flavors, perfect for […]

  • carol
    October 10, 2010 at 8:12 AM

    Why all that baking powder. Wouldn’t the baking soda and buttermilk, with one teaspoon bp be sufficient?

    • smellslikehome
      October 10, 2010 at 9:57 AM

      Carol, I didn’t write the recipe so you may want to ask David Leite this question.

  • October 20, 2010 at 6:27 AM

    […] but small dessert to make. I had a half  of a can of pumpkin I needed to use up, so I went to this recipe I had bookmarked a while back. She made them into cupcakes, but I made them into a 4 inch double […]

  • Monica
    November 8, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    I baked these cupcakes this weekend for my family, and they are absolutely deeeelicious! The frosting is the perfect consistency for piping big swirls, and it tastes sooooo good! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  • Fernanda Paguaga
    November 24, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    OMG! I made these cupcakes and they came out phenomenal! they were a huge hit for my class’s potluck! I will definitely be doing these again <3

  • Rebecca Kipe
    October 20, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    i have these cooling on my counter right now 🙂 I made them for the grown ups at my kids’ birthday party. i was wondering if i can make the frosting ahead of time and put it in the fridge? then bring to room temp or until spreadable and frost the morning of? thanks!

    • October 21, 2011 at 5:26 AM

      Rebecca: Yes, keeping the frosting in the fridge and bringing it up to room temp before using it will be fine. Let me know how they turn out!

  • September 27, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    looks delicious! i’m so excited that its finally pumpkin recipe time!! 🙂

  • Rebecca
    September 30, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    These are amazing! I had just made them with my hubby. We are in love! I used 100 Grand instead of the heath bar since I am not allowed to take nuts into work. And they are still very yummy! Thanks so much for sharing! I will have to make this every fall!