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Pumpkin Apple Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream

by Haley
Pumpkin Apple Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream

A blend of pumpkin puree, apple butter, and fall spices makes these pumpkin apple cupcakes with brown sugar buttercream the ultimate fall cupcake!

What says “fall” more than a pumpkin spiced treat? One with pumpkin AND apple, of course!! This week, I’m taking a little break from layer cakes to finally bring another cupcake recipe to the blog. The cupcake section of my recipe archives is embarrassingly lacking, so I’ll be solving that problem over the next couple weeks!

Three pumpkin apple cupcakes on a white cake stand

In other exciting blog news, I’ll be doing a little mini-makeover on the blog in the next week or so, and I’m really excited about it!! The site may be down for a few hours while I update everything, but I promise I’ll have it back up and running as soon as possible. Don’t be surprised if things look a little different next time you stop by. I hope you will enjoy the new look!

Now, about these pumpkin apple cupcakes. Of course, layer cakes are my thing, but having some good cupcake recipes up your sleeve is never a bad idea. Especially when you need to put something together a little more quickly. For example, when you get home from the airport at 9PM after a week out of town and need to bake something ASAP (this exact situation may or may not have happened to me last Thursday….).

Pumpkin puree, perfect for making pumpkin apple cupcakes

Since I get so excited each fall about baking with apples and pumpkin, I inevitably started thinking about combining both these classic fall flavors. And that’s how this cupcake recipe came to be. Two birds, one stone, am I right?

I originally thought about adding diced apples, like in my walnut apple cake recipe. However, I ultimately decided to go with a smoother batter for these pumpkin apple cupcakes, which is what I typically prefer when it comes to cupcakes. So instead of diced apples, this recipe calls for apple butter. Together with the pumpkin puree, it blends in to the batter seamlessly.

A pumpkin apple cupcake with a swirl of brown sugar buttercream

The brown sugar buttercream was a perfect match for these pumpkin apple cupcakes and one of my taste testers even said that this was the best cupcake she’d ever had! But I think options are always fun, so here’s a couple other frosting possibilities, any of which would be just as good:

  1. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the brown sugar buttercream  (Jump to Recipe)
  2. Make a cinnamon cream cheese frosting instead (cream cheese frosting is just the best!!)
  3. Make a classic cream cheese frosting (simply leave out the cinnamon in the recipe linked above)

Pumpkin Apple Cupcakes - the perfect fall treat

Pumpkin Apple Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream - Flour Covered Apron

Whatever frosting you choose, these cupcakes are sure to be a hit. I even made a double batch of them! If you do make this recipe, don’t forget to share with me on Instagram by tagging @flourcoveredapron!

Pumpkin Apple Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream

Course Dessert
Cook Time 16 minutes
Servings 14 cupcakes


Pumpkin Apple Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Brown Sugar Buttercream

  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)


Pumpkin Apple Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare cupcake tin with cupcake liners. This recipe makes about 14 cupcakes.

  2. Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices) in a large bowl.

  3. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the oil with both sugars. Then, beat in eggs one at a time.

  4. Add pumpkin puree, apple butter, milk, and vanilla, then whisk until combined.

  5. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold until combined.

  6. Divide batter evenly among cupcake tins - my batch made 14 cupcakes. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for an additional 4-6 minutes, or until cupcakes pass the toothpick test.

  7. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Brown Sugar Buttercream

  1. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

  2. Add powdered sugar gradually, mixing on low speed until combined.

  3. Add salt, vanilla, milk and cinnamon (if using). Mix to combine, then beat until frosting is light and fluffy. 

  4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large, open star tip with frosting and frost cupcakes as desired.

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Karly October 30, 2017 - 2:51 pm

Oh my gosh, I could use one (or 4) of these right now. The perfect fall treat!!

Haley October 30, 2017 - 7:22 pm

That was the goal! I love fall baking. Hope you get a chance to try the recipe soon. You’ll get 4 (plus 10)!! 😉

Amie November 2, 2018 - 4:29 am

What is apple butter please? Can I make it?

Haley November 5, 2018 - 1:31 pm

Hi Amie, apple butter is kind of like a very concentrated apple sauce. You could look up a recipe for it online if you’d like to make it yourself. Personally, I usually buy it, I’ve been able to find it at most grocery stores.


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