Organic pumpkin cupcakes with colored sugar glaze for Halloween

I’ve made pumpkin muffins before, but I’ve never been able to find a decent pumpkin cupcake recipe. Usually pumpkin cupcakes end up more like muffins – a bit stiffer and a little more heavy. But a decent cupcake should be lighter and fluffier in my opinion – more of a treat vs. a breakfast muffin.

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Then finally, this year, I found a really good pumpkin cupcake recipe. Light, spicy and bonus, stands up well to glaze, which is a perk, because I’m not a frosting fan. Most cupcakes soak up glaze leaving the glaze uneven and sketchy, but these are heavy enough that the glaze coats them nicely, without sinking in. These are very easy and fast too.

However, they are very cupcake-like (i.e. sugar induced). The pumpkin helps offset the sugar nicely though, and these aren’t too sweet. Just letting you know ahead of time that these aren’t health-muffins, but if you need a fast cupcake recipe for a Halloween party, these are perfect. I made a few dozen for my son’s school Halloween carnival.

Organic pumpkin cupcake ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose organic flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 and 1/2  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup packed light-brown organic sugar (I made some with dark brown sugar, and they came out okay)
  • 1 cup granulated organic white sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted organic butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) organic pumpkin puree or avoid BPA in cans and make homemade organic pumpkin puree instead
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Mix your batter:

  • Get your baking pans ready by coating them with a light spray of olive oil or lightly spray some reusable silicone baking cups.
  • In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • In a larger bowl, whisk brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter and eggs until smooth.
  • Add dry ingredients to the larger bowl and mix until smooth.
  • Mix in pumpkin puree.
  • Bake in a 350 degrees oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the tops spring back a bit when touched.
  • Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let them cool completely before glazing or decorating.

Decorate your organic pumpkin cupcakes:

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Note: You’re going to go through the glaze process twice. If you make too much glaze at once, it’ll get stiff and gloppy in the bowl. This recipe made me about 2 dozen cupcakes, so one batch of glaze works for about 12 cupcakes.

  • To make your sugar glaze melt 4 tablespoons of organic butter in a small saucepan – don’t let it brown! Immediately pour over 1 and 1/4 cups of organic powdered sugar. Add 4-5 teaspoons of organic milk, a dash of organic vanilla extract and whatever food color you like, and whisk until smooth.
  • Working VERY quickly, dip the top of each cooled cupcake into the glaze, swirl it a bit to let the glaze settle right and place your cupcake on a wire rack. Some of the glaze may drip off, so place a clean dishtowel under your rack.
  • Repeat the glazing process with your other cupcakes.
  • This glaze should be totally set in about a half hour to an hour. After it sets you can decorate your cupcakes with frosting if you like. If you want sprinkles or sparkles, add them as soon as you glaze.

To color your glaze:

I suggest using non-toxic, natural food coloring. I had a fit with this batch of cupcakes (shown in the gallery) because I ran out of natural food coloring, and although I checked about four stores, NO ONE had natural food coloring in stock. Annoying! This is a longer post topic, because you shouldn’t have to order natural food coloring online. It should be stocked in stores (right?) So, sadly, my lovely organic cupcakes have regular old food coloring in the glaze. I did use gel, because gel coloring goes further in my opinion, so you use less, but I was still pretty annoyed.


  • If your cupcakes are for a party, and you need liners for people to hold onto, aim for eco-friendly liners. Because mine were for a school party, I needed liners, so I used If You Care Unbleached Large Baking Cups, which are unbleached and chlorine-free. Normally, I’d skip the liners altogether.
  • I left a batch glaze free for people who wanted only organic and/or no glaze.
  • These keep well for a few days – even glazed.
  • If needed, they could likely be frozen, but I would freeze them glaze-free.

These are wonderful warm, right out of the oven, but also taste good cooled.

More Halloween recipes:

Related Posts with Thumbnails

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  1. Jennifer Chait says

    They’re SOOOOOO good Lynn. Usually you know how pumpkin stuff is heavy? These are very fluffy. Plus the glaze is light. I was really happy with them.

  2. says

    OK Jennifer. You talked me into it. I’ll hang on to the recipe and when my grandkids come we’ll make some to take to the fire station. I have to do that or guess who will eat them ALL. Not the grandies :)

  3. Jennifer Chait says

    Happy firemen (and firewomen)! :) Now I need to think up a Christmas flavored cupcake….

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