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Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

These pumpkin spice latte cupcakes pair pumpkin- and espresso-flavored cupcakes with white chocolate mocha buttercream frosting.

Caramel being drizzled onto one of three frosted cupcakes

When did it become October? I feel like I was just August! I was just sitting on the beach, and now it's three weeks until Halloween. It's time for apple cider, butternut squash, and pumpkin soup.

Yes, I love pretty much all things pumpkin. One of my favorite signs that fall is coming (other than the appearance of Halloween candy in stores) is the seasonal debut of pumpkin spice lattes. #Basic, party of one!

A frosted cupcake drizzled with caramel, with a teal paper straw sticking out of the frosting

These cupcakes are pretty much that coffeehouse beverage, in cake form. The cupcakes are flavored with pumpkin and espresso powder. The espresso powder is what makes the cupcakes so dark in color. If you can't find espresso powder, you can use coffee extract.

I love making pumpkin cake and cupcakes because the pumpkin puree makes the cake so moist. Making these cupcakes is no different than making most other cakes from scratch. It takes only a minute or two more than making cake from a boxed mix.

An overhead view of three frosted pumpkin spice latte cupcakes

But the frosting, oh the frosting! It's unlike anything you can buy in a tub at the store. Swiss meringue buttercream is so decadently smooth and creamy. It's the perfect balance of buttery and sweet.

The buttercream that tops these pumpkin spice latte cupcakes is white chocolate mocha flavored, with melted white chocolate and coffee extract. It's the perfect accompaniment to coffee-flavored pumpkin cupcakes.

A pumpkin spice latte cupcake on a blue napkin, surrounded by coffee beans

Some grocery stores sell instant espresso, which is essentially the same as espresso powder, either in the coffee aisle, or in the "Italian" aisle (usually the aisle where you'd find the pasta). You can also find it online (affiliate link).

If you have coffee extract, you can use an equal amount of the extract in the cupcake recipe instead of the espresso powder. I don't remember ever seeing coffee extract in a conventional grocery store, so I always order online (affiliate link).

If you don't want to wait for shipping, you can substitute instant coffee crystals (don't brew the instant coffee), but the coffee flavor in the cupcakes will be less strong.

A frosted cupcake drizzled with caramel, with a teal paper straw sticking out of the frosting

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

These pumpkin spice latte cupcakes pair pumpkin- and espresso-flavored cupcakes with white chocolate mocha buttercream frosting.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp espresso powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs

For the frosting

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups unsalted butter, cool, but not cold
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp coffee extract
  • 4 oz white chocolate, melted and cooled

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, and spices.
  3. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, canola oil and eggs.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, and stir just until the ingredients are combined.
  5. Use a medium scoop to portion the batter evenly between the liners, filling each ⅔ full. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let cupcakes rest in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature before frosting.
  7. To make the frosting, first fill a medium saucepan with about an inch of water. Set on the stove to bring to a simmer.
  8. Combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set the mixing bowl over the simmering water and whisk continuously (by hand or with a handheld mixer) until the sugar dissolves.
  9. Place the mixing bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, and beat on high until the egg white mixture becomes a meringue with soft peaks. The bottom of the mixing bowl should feel neutral to the touch (not warm). If the bottom still feels warm, turn the mixer speed to low until the bowl cools down.
  10. With the mixer on medium-low speed, begin adding the butter, 1 tablespoonful at a time, waiting until the butter is no longer visible before adding another tablespoonful. Continue adding until all the butter is incorporated.
  11. Continue whipping, increasing the speed to medium, until the buttercream becomes thick, smooth and creamy.
  12. Return the speed to low, and add the vanilla and coffee extracts and the white chocolate. Mix until fully incorporated.
  13. Fit a piping bag with an open star tip, and fill the bag halfway with buttercream. Pipe a swirl onto each cupcake.

Notes

If desired, drizzle each cupcake with salted caramel sauce.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 399Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 179mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 1gSugar: 30gProtein: 4g

I am not a certified nutritionist. This nutrition information is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only.

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Cupcake recipe adapted from Natasha's Kitchen

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