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!

  • 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