Lazy Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Yes, another cupcake post. I couldn’t resist. And after you hear more about these beauties, you won’t blame me for screaming about cupcakes for the better part of a week.

I saw a mention of 3 ingredient pumpkin bread on good ol’ Pinterest a few days ago and was intrigued. You see, my mother makes a pumpkin bread that is the standard against which I measure all other pumpkin breads. It is dense without being heavy, it has just the right amount of sweetness and the pumpkin flavor is noticeable but not overwhelming. It toes the line between bread and cake, which means that it can be eaten in the morning with a cup of coffee or after dinner with a glass of milk. Or both. Usually both. I have tried other pumpkin breads and I have yet to find one that I like as much.

So when I saw these “3 ingredient pumpkin bread” claims, I didn’t have terribly high expectations but I still had to creep around and get some more information. There are a bunch of blogs and recipe sites that feature versions of this recipe, but unfortunately I couldn’t track down the original. There was some variation from site to site regarding the exact ingredients that one should use and also what the end product would be – cookies, cupcakes, muffins, bread, cake – but the basic idea was the same: you put 3 ingredients in a bowl, mix it, bake it, and glorious things happen. I like glorious things and baked goods involving pumpkin, so I decided to give it a shot.

And wouldn’t you know it, this recipe is a winner. Enter the SoA:

Nice to see you, friend. It’s been a while.

Back to the recipe. The 3 ingredients that I chose to use were as follows:

  • a box of spice cake mix (folks mentioned that the recipe works with different types of cake mix, but adding a little extra spice to the recipe sounded nice so I went with it)
  • a 15oz can of pumpkin (real pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix – that was a constant across all of the variations that I saw)
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (optional but the flavor is really nice)

I mixed everything by hand and the result was a pretty heavy batter. I had muffins in mind since they’re easier to grab in the morning on the way out the door, so I lightly greased some muffin tins and filled them about 3/4 of the way.

Since I wasn’t sure what the end result would be, I sprinkled some sugar on top of half of the sections to see if that would yield a crispy top. After 25 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees, these guys were ready to go. I let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then transferred them to a cooling rack for a bit.

Once they were done cooling, we conducted an official taste test and 2 things were decided:

1) they were surprisingly good
2) based on the texture and sweetness, these suckers were leaning more towards ‘cupcake’ than ‘muffin’

As a result, I decided to frost the heck out of ’em. I had never made a cream cheese frosting before so I looked up a recipe and found one that had a lot of good reviews (here), but the ratios were way off for me. I ended up having to add a lot more powdered sugar than what was stated in the recipe for the frosting to be thick enough to hold its shape.

Here is the recipe that I ended up with:

Cream Cheese Frosting
makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pound of confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in the confectioners sugar and then add the vanilla extract and stir until combined.

I’m not 100% sold on this cream cheese frosting recipe though, so if you have one that you like, feel free to leave it in the comment section!

All in all, this is a pretty solid recipe. Sure, it’s not super fancy, but the cupcakes are moist and flavorful and really easy to make. They definitely fall into the “easier than they look” category and are perfect for a Halloween bash, bake sale, or fall-themed dinner party.

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2 thoughts on “Lazy Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

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