Halloween pumpkin cupcakes recipe

(114 ratings)

These Halloween pumpkin cupcakes contain pumpkin puree in the cake batter and take 18 minutes to bake.

halloween pumpkin cupcakes
(Image credit: Getty Images)
Preparation Time22 mins
Cooking Time18 mins
Total Time40 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories399 Kcal20%
Sugar48.2 g54%
Fat16.1 g23%
Saturated Fat4.5 g23%
Protein3.3 g7%
Carbohydrates60.3 g23%

Our Halloween pumpkin cupcakes are under 400 calories per cake and only take 18 minutes to bake. 

If you’re looking for an adorably spooky and autumnal cupcake recipe to make this Halloween, these pumpkin flavoured cakes are perfect. We’ve used real pumpkin in the cake batter and flavoured the icing with vanilla but you could use some more maple syrup if you prefer. 


  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 170g pureed pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

For the frosting:

  • 60g butter, softened
  • 60g cream cheese, softened
  • 240g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Green and orange food colourings
  • Pretzel sticks, to use as stalks (optional) 




  1. Heat the oven to 180C (160C, Gas 4). Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
  2. Sift the flour with the ginger, nutmeg, allspice, baking powder, soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl mix together the sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and maple syrup until evenly combined.
  4. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the flour mixture.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them around three quarters full. Bake for 18 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  6. For the cream cheese frosting: In a large, clean mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth, gradually add the icing sugar and continue to cream until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla until combined.
  7. Place a scoop of the frosting into a separate bowl and colour with green food colouring.
  8. Colour the remainder orange. Spread a layer onto each cupcake, then use a piping bag to pipe a pumpkin design around each cupcake.
  9. Use the green to pipe the pumpkin leaves and finish with a pretzel stick as the stalk, if desired.

Top tips for making Halloween pumpkin cupcakes

If you don’t have any maple syrup you could opt for honey or golden syrup instead. For more tasty flavour substitutions and cupcake tips, continue reading below. 

Can I use store bought frosting to decorate these Halloween pumpkin cupcakes?

Yes. Store bought frosting tends to be quite soft, so you may wish to bolster it with a tablespoon of icing sugar (sifted). You can add colouring in the same way as above.

How can I make these cute pumpkins a little spookier?

Using a black tube of writing icing, drawn on little triangle shapes for eyes and a nose, and a zigzag line for a mouth, to make them into Jack-o'-lanterns.

You could also cut a little of the cupcake centre out and fill with strawberry or raspberry jam. Replace with the cupcake sponge to 'close' the hole and then ice as instructed. When you cut open the cupcakes or take a bite it will look like they are 'bleeding'. 

What flavours go well with Halloween pumpkin cupcakes?

The spices in the cake batter make the sponge pair nicely with chocolate. You could use melted dark chocolate to pipe faces onto the iced pumpkins or swap 25g flour for some cocoa powder in the batter.

Alternatively, if you love the autumnal flavours of a pumpkin spiced latte, consider adding a little espresso powder or coffee extract to the buttercream. 

If you’re fed up with your baking bowls not stacking nicely in your cupboard when you’re not using them, consider swapping to this 9-piece nest set from Joseph Joseph.

Joseph Joseph Nest 9 set - View at Amazon

Joseph Joseph Nest 9 set - View at Amazon

The large mixing bowl is perfect for this recipe and the nesting sieve is useful too. Also included is a 5-piece cup measuring set which is great for American recipes but they can also be used to separate your ingredients when preparing to bake. 

We have lots more Halloween recipes including these simple but delicious pumpkin cupcakes. If you’d prefer something classic that’s perfect at any time of year, give our chocolate cupcakes recipe a read. 

Jessica Ransom
Senior Food Writer

Jessica is a freelance food writer, stylist and recipe tester. She previously worked as Senior Food Writer at Future. While at Future Jessica wrote food and drink-related news stories and features, curated product pages, reviewed equipment, and developed recipes that she then styled on food shoots. She is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.