Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting


So, do I have you drooling yet? Simply put, these are by far the best fall cupcake! I keep seeing all these pumpkin cupcake recipes popping up everywhere but they all seem to be just about the same, slightly lacking something. Don’t get me wrong I do love the traditional pumpkin cream cheese cupcake but I think it’s time to fancy things up a bit. Hence, I developed this ultimate fall cupcake: the light fluffy moist pumpkin cupcake, smothered in thick chocolate ganache, piped with creamy spiced cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with crunchy pecans. There you have it! Falls best cupcake! Please do not attempt to throw in a different cupcake recipe in place of this one! It is so light and delicate, so if you were to use one of those heavy dense pumpkin cupcakes in it’s place things just wouldn’t be the same. If you are looking to impress friends, colleagues, a loved one, your grandma =), and even yourself please make these cupcakes! You will not be disappointed! I fell in love with just one bite! They will leave you speechless!


Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 24 cupcakes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 recipe Thick Chocolate Ganache , recipe follows
  • 1 recipe Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting , recipe follows
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Thick Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese , softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 350degrees. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt, set aside. In a separate large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, combine vegetable oil, applesauce, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Add eggs and stir until combine. Stir in pumpkin puree and buttermilk and stir until well combine. Slowly add dry ingredients. Stir until no longer lumpy about 1 - 2 minutes. Pour about 1/4 cup mixture into buttered muffin cups or paper lined muffin cups and bake 20 - 23 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let muffins cool 5 minutes in muffin tin. Remove to a wire rack and let cool 30 minutes.

Thick Chocolate Ganache

  1. Place chocolate chips in a medium mixing bowl, set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring whipping cream just to a boil. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips and whisk until smooth. Spoon 1 tsp ganache over each cooled cupcake and spread near edges, allow to cool. Meanwhile make spiced cream cheese frosting.

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, whip together cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add vanilla, salt, powdered sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and whip until smooth and fluffy. Pipe cream cheese frosting over cooled chocolate ganache covered cupcakes and sprinkle cupcakes with chopped pecans.


  • Amalia: Oh my nelly! These sound AMAZING AND LOOK STUNNING! I don’t know why I felt the need to write that in all caps, probably because I NEED TO MAKE THEM NOOW! :) October 24, 2011 at 5:14pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Thanks! I hope you get a chance to make them! I wish I had more! They didn’t last long at my house =). October 24, 2011 at 5:39pm Reply

  • Mar: Is 1 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree around the amount of a 15 oz can? October 24, 2011 at 6:06pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Yeah, 1 3/4 cup is almost exactly equal to a 15 oz can (I think to be totally exact its 1 7/8 c). When I was making it I was using a 29 oz can so I thought I’d just give the exact measurement so people didnt have to guess if they were using a large can =). Hope that helps! October 24, 2011 at 7:40pm Reply

  • Anne: Instead of brining predictable pumpkin pie for the upcoming Thanksgiving gathering with my family, I plan on baking from your cupcake recipe. Thanks for sharing.
    BTW, very nice photo styling with your props. November 8, 2011 at 6:26pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Anne, you and your family wont be disappointed =)! I adore these cupcakes! My brother who doesn’t like dessert loved them! That’s when I know I’ve succeeded =). November 8, 2011 at 9:00pm Reply

  • Anne: Shhhh. Don’t tell. I made the cupcakes this a.m. to test out. I ate 3. To die for. Thanks again!
    Walking Whale Anne November 9, 2011 at 2:14pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you enjoyed them Anne! And don’t worry I ate 3 too =)! November 16, 2011 at 5:29pm Reply

  • Brittany: Did you double the frosting for the photos? November 21, 2011 at 2:41pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: No, but some did have a little bit more frosting on them than others. Some people don’t like a whole lot of frosting and others like tons =). If you are a frosting lover you could always do 1 1/2 the recipe. November 22, 2011 at 9:53am Reply

  • Roxy: I just took the cupcakes out of the oven and have the frosting ready to go. All I need is to make the ganache once these babies have cooled. Ohmygoodnessgracious they look insanely good. I plan on leaving some unfrosted and pretend they are muffins for breakfast tomorrow. November 1, 2012 at 7:41am Reply

  • Sara Schultz: I made these for my halloween party last week! They were DELICIOUS. You really hit fall on the nose with these. The only thing I did differently was that I changed the frosting to a buttercream but used the same spices as I don’t like cream cheese frosting. They were incredible. We could’ve even eaten the cupcake alone they were so good! But they were so rich (and it may have been because the buttercream was very sweet) but I would consider making them as mini cupcakes in the future. I thought they’d be perfect if they were bite-sized! November 4, 2012 at 10:14am Reply

  • Tiffany@Fizzy Party!: I saw these on pinterest and had to come over and take a look. Oh my goodness, not only do these sound good they are DELISH! It’s hard to not want to eat a lot of these but I’ll be nice and share :) Thank you for the recipe. November 11, 2012 at 8:51pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Thanks for the comments Roxy, Sara and Tiffany! I’m glad you enjoyed! November 12, 2012 at 11:35pm Reply

  • Kelly: Does the recipe work well for mini cupcakes?
    November 13, 2012 at 12:34pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Kelly – I haven’t tried it yet but I don’t see why not, you’d just have to decrease the baking time and other than that everything else should be the same. I hope you give them a try! November 14, 2012 at 9:41am Reply

  • Tiffany@Fizzy Party!: I took some of these cupcakes to work and one of my co-workers office mates after taking a bite said,”does she have a business card?” Your recipe is a HUGE hit in my office building. When I heard that comment I had to share with you because that comment was really for you. Not me. I just followed your scrumptious recipe. Thank you. November 14, 2012 at 6:50pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks, you are so nice! But you successfully made them so definitely give yourself most of the credit =)! I’m so glad to hear everyone enjoyed them, these are one of my favs! Thanks for your kind comment! November 16, 2012 at 10:22am Reply

  • Lauren Steen: Made these last night and they were a hit! Best cupcakes for the fall! Thank you! October 10, 2013 at 5:34pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked these Lauren! These are one of my favorite fall cupcakes too :)! October 19, 2013 at 7:47pm Reply

  • Caroline: Just fell in love with this recipe so im gonna do this cupcakes but have some issues, i mean what is buttermilk? Well ive never seen buttermilk in my country. Is this just butter with milk? Or what?
    And applesauce is any other product i can use to replace apesauce? October 14, 2013 at 1:49pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: For the buttermilk, you can make a simple substitute by whisking together 1 cup minus 1 Tbsp milk with 1 Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice and let it rest 3 minutes. For the applesauce if you can’t find it you can make that homemade here is a link (I might leave out the sugar though since I used unsweetened applesauce): http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/applesauce/ October 26, 2013 at 6:51am Reply

  • Kadela: Hi…i made these tonight but instead of store bought pumpkin puree i grated pumpkin on the finest side of the grater….and for some reason my frosting was runny, so i cudnt make a swirl as in the pic. Yes i followed the recipe to a T…help? wat cud’ve gone wrong? October 24, 2013 at 4:52pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It could be the type of cream cheese (I prefer Philadelphia as it seems to be the smoothest) and also it may have been too soft, when it was softened you don’t want it to melt. You can whip it cold (the cream cheese) until fluffy then mix in the rest and you could cut back on the amount of cream cheese by a few ounces and that may help. October 29, 2013 at 7:43pm Reply

  • Pumpkin lover: Hey, Jaclyn, here to ask you again. How sweet is this recipe? Would it be a good combo to pop an oreo in this and remove the chocolate ganache? I’m also making pumpkin cupcakes with oreos hopefully! I love the idea of the spiced cream cheese frosting-yum! October 30, 2013 at 11:11pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It’s quite sweet like most cupcakes :). The oreos sound delicious! October 31, 2013 at 7:26am Reply

  • Sarah: Baked these yesterday and loved them. Thanks for sharing the recipe! November 27, 2014 at 9:24am Reply

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