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Squash September: Pumpkin Caramel Corn Cupcakes

The last time I went grocery shopping, I bought four cans of pumpkin purée. Yes, FOUR.

I now have no cans of pumpkin left. In fact, the last can of pumpkin I used was for the sweetest, most delicious cupcakes.

I’m an atrocious baker. Something won’t set right, or I’ll forget baking powder, or the moisture in the air futzed with the baking temperature…I don’t know what it is, but I just cannot bake.

However, the past few times I have baked have been successful! Granted, they were all bundt cakes which don’t take much effort and take a lot to mess up, but hey! You have to take the wins when you can.

 With the last of my pumpkin purée stash, I concocted this recipe; a mash-up of a pumpkin cupcake recipe I found here (taking out and adding in a few ingredients here and there), made a basic cream cheese frosting, and added a few surprises!

I took the dozen cupcakes—well, dozen minus one (I couldn’t help myself!) —to work the next day and they were devoured within minutes. They were so moist. So wonderfully moist!

 Warning! This recipe is sinfully sweet….and perfect for hoodie-Starbucks–crunchy leaves weather 🍂

Pumpkin Caramel Corn Cupcakes

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bag or 6 soft caramel chews (I used the Werther’s Original soft caramel chews)
  • 1 jar caramel syrup (don’t use the squeeze bottle! It’s a weird consistency), for topping
  • Caramel Popcorn (again, I bought a bag of Werther’s Original caramel popcorn)
  • 1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pumpkin pie spice, for topping  
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup baking pan with cupcake liners. In large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice together. 
  2. In another large bowl, whisk together pumpkin purée, both of the sugars, and vegetable oil until well combined and no lumps remain. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking while adding.  
  3. Add half the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, folding it in with a rubber spatula. Add the other half of the flour mixture and fold until well combined and no flour pockets remain. 
  4. Divide pumpkin batter among the cups—filling 2/3 full. Place 1 small caramel chew into the center of each cupcake, burying it with fingers in the pumpkin cake batter. Bake 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out from near the center clean—or caramely. Set aside to cool.   
  5. Make the cheesecake icing: in large bowl, beat the butter until creamy with an electric mixer. Add cream cheese, vanilla extract, milk & salt and continue to beat with mixer about 1-2 minutes, making sure to scrape the sides. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until thick consistency is met.  
  6. Once cupcakes are cool, ice them with the cream cheese icing. I used a ziploc bag with the tip cut off since I don’t have a cake decorator kit. Top each cupcake with icing, then add three pieces of caramel popcorn to the center of the icing. Sprinkle pumpkin pie mix over the top. Using a spoon, drizzle caramel syrup over the cupcakes. Serve. 

These little morsels of heaven were so hard not to eat all of them in one sitting. Enjoy!

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2 thoughts on “Squash September: Pumpkin Caramel Corn Cupcakes

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