Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cookie Butter Frosting

October 19, 2017 by Nicole Collins

The birthday festivities continue!

I told you we’d be celebrating all month, and I meant it!

Remember in elementary school, we used to bring in treats for the class on our birthdays? Did you guys do that? Is that still even a thing?

I grew up in a small school with the same group of kids in my class from kindergarten through 6th grade, and at least half of the class had a birthday that fell within a 2 month span from October-December. I feel like that must’ve been trouble for our teachers; because on top of all of the birthdays, 3 major holidays fell in that range too.

It’s funny, but though I remember always bringing in treats for birthdays, I don’t remember being on a sugar high 24/7 from all of the treat opportunities. I know we all did it, but I certainly don’t remember birthday overload. Is that weird? Was I so jacked up on sweet treats that I don’t remember what happened?

Well anyway, I felt like the kid that was toting treats around for her birthday this year. You see, I’ve had this cupcake idea on my mind for a hot minute. But the thing is is that as much as I love to bake, I’m really not a huge cake person.

I know…I’m a fraud!

It’s not that I don’t like cake, per se. But, I’d much rather sink my teeth in to a soft, buttery cookie. Mmmmm… #cookiemonster

Sometimes, I just find cake to be too much work to eat. I mean, you have to cut it. Then, you have to knife and fork it. Or if it’s a cupcake, you make a mess of yourself getting icing all over your face when you bite in. Or if you’re trying to be dainty with a cupcake, you get icing all over your hands when you pull it apart. Too. Much. Work. (Or, at least it’s too much work when I’m involved.)

But, I’m getting off topic…shocker. So, I’ve had these Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cookie Butter Frosting on the brain, but there was no way I’d eat anywhere near enough of them to make worth making. So, I needed to wait until I had an event coming up where I’d see people to test the recipe for me.

I know…I make my friends and family be taste testers of sweet treats. I’m sure they hate it!

I knew that I was going to be seeing my friend, Alison, and her family for a show on my birthday, and I figured what better crowd to test out my treat? I definitely had a flashback to childhood bringing along a treat with me on my birthday. But, I enjoy baking for others more than myself, so it was really just the gift that keeps on giving.

The leftovers came to work with me. So again, I was the kid that brought the birthday treats to school (work). My coworkers start drooling whenever they see me walk in the door with a pan, so I think that’s a pretty good sign.

Now, let’s talk about these amazing cupcakes.

The base of the cupcake starts with a store bought yellow cake mix, but you’d never know it! You guys know by now that I’m not ashamed to take help from the grocery store when I can turn it in to a quality, delicious product. So, that’s what I did here. We add 3 special ingredients (pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and cream soda) to the cake mix beyond what the box calls for, and it becomes a completely different ballgame.

We’ve all had a pumpkin cupcake before. That’s not new news. But, the frosting on the cupcake? That’s where it’s at, let me tell you!

Cookie Butter Frosting. That’s right. Cookie Butter Frosting.

I am totally obsessed with cookie butter right now. I’m even more obsessed by the cookie butter/pumpkin flavor combo, as I’m sure you can tell from this ice cream recipe I just gave you last week.

We let the cookie butter speak for itself in the icing, which makes the icing a super easy 4-ingredient mix. But when you slap that icing on top of the cupcake, you’ll definitely hear the angels singing in the background. It’s soooooo good!

It’s sweet, but not too sweet. The warms notes from the spices in the pumpkin pie spice and the cookie butter help to cut the sweetness with a little extra zipadeedoodah. Meanwhile, the cupcake is soft and moist under the creamy icing. Yummy!

I’m telling you, this should be your “go-to” cupcake of the season, for sure! What a great way to incorporate pumpkin in to your Halloween parties. Or how about a new pumpkin treat to bring to the Thanksgiving dessert table. Or really, just make a batch just because. You don’t need a reason for deliciousness.

So, enjoy. And, let’s eat!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cookie Butter Frosting

Serves: 24 cupcakes Print

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (I use Betty Crocker)

  • 1 cup cream soda

  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin

  • 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

For the Frosting:

  • 1 stick (½ cup) butter, softened at room temperature

  • 1 cup cookie butter

  • 1 lb (16 oz or about 4 cups) powdered sugar

  • ½ cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with 24 cupcake liners. Mix all cake ingredients by hand until everything is combined (roughly 2 mins). Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 20-25 mins until a toothpick inserted in to the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Remove from pan, and set aside to cool.

  2. For the frosting: Add softened butter and cookie butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix together on medium high speed for 1 minute until everything is mixed together and looking creamy. Add the powdered sugar and heavy cream to the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds until the sugar starts to incorporate in the butter mixture. Turn up to medium high speed, and finish mixing for about 1-2 minutes until the frosting is smooth and creamy.

  3. Once the cupcakes are completely cool to the touch, decorate the cupcakes any way you like! Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Recipe notes:

*These can sit tightly covered at room temperature for 3-4 days.

*I prefer Betty Crocker brand cake mix. If you prefer another brand, adjust the eggs, oil, and cream soda to the measurements listed on the box directions. The cream soda replaces the water in an equal amount.

*Make sure you get pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling!

*You can find cookie butter in the same place you find peanut butter in the grocery store.

*I've always mixed box cake mixes by hand. This isn't an official ruling, but I believe that mixing by hand prevents over mixing which in turn leads to a fluffier cake. The batter is thin enough that it's not a struggle to do. That's what I tell myself anyway!

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