These incredibly moist vegan pumpkin cupcakes taste and look like fall. Packed with pumpkin spice and topped with vegan cream cheese frosting, they make the perfect fall treat.
The BEST Pumpkin Cupcakes EVER!
It has been a storm of fall desserts in my kitchen lately (just check my Instagram stories for the details haha!), and I think my latest experiment might just be my favorite.
Okay, okay, so I love them all. I guess it’s like choosing a favorite child. You really can’t!
But boy, do these healthy pumpkin cupcakes have a very deep place in my heart! I’m a huge lover of Thanksgiving pies, but I think the next trend should be Thanksgiving cupcakes because these pumpkin spice cupcakes are like a bite into fall magic.
Truly, these secretly vegan pumpkin cupcakes are packed with warm spices and sweetness and topped with a deliciously vegan cream cheese frosting, but…they’ve been lightened up a bit! I promise you won’t notice though 😉
And while we’re spilling secrets, these cupcakes just so happen to be vegan, dairy free, gluten free, and refined sugar free!
Ingredients to make vegan pumpkin cucpakes
To make the fluffiest pumpkin cupcakes that are secretly egg-free, you’ll need just a few simple ingredients:
- Flour (you can use gluten free 1:1 flour or all purpose flour here)
- Pumpkin puree
- Coconut sugar
- Flaxseed (this will be for the “egg”!)
- Dairy free milk
- Maple syrup
- Olive oil (I do give a low fat version using applesauce, but I highly recommend using olive oil if possible- it will yield the best result!)
You’re probably also wondering what goes into the vegan cream cheese frosting (which oh by the way is irresistible):
- Vegan butter
- Vegan cream cheese
- Powdered sugar or powdered coconut sugar
If you want to go fully refined sugar free, you can actually blend coconut sugar in a food processor to create a Paleo powdered sugar. It will yield a tan-colored cream cheese frosting, but your pumpkin cupcakes will still taste amazing!
How to make pumpkin cupcakes
So you don’t have to make these pumpkin cupcakes Paleo because the process is entirely the same, and I’m going to show you right here. Any way that you choose to make them, I know you’re just going to love ’em!
The vegan pumpkin cupcakes:
If you watch the video (highly recommend, I do make several Office references, if you’re a fan 😉 ), you’ll see that making Paleo cupcakes is not all that different than regular cupcakes.
Here’s where they’re both similar:
- First start by combining the dry ingredients. Straight forward and easy right?
- Then add the wet ingredients. You’ll then mix it all together! Use a hand mixer or a spoon like I did.
- Pour into cupcake liners and bake. So simple, right? You’ll bake these cupcakes according to the recipe card below, but a sure sign they’re done is if the
Trust me, these pumpkin cupcakes are easier than you think! And if you don’t want to make them entirely gluten-free, no problem. I’ve listed a few ingredient swaps for just making them a lightened up version of your favorite Thanksgiving cupcake.
The vegan cream cheese frosting:
Now, if you’ve never made a dairy free frosting before, do not worry!
Making a vegan cream cheese frosting is extraordinarily similar to a regular cream cheese frosting.
Essentially you start by whipping the vegan butter and vegan cream cheese together in a large bowl, then add in the powdered sugar and beat it until it’s nice and fluffy.
Once your cupcakes have completely cooled, you can frost and decorate!
Tips & Tricks for Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Whether you’re making these lightened up pumpkin pie cupcakes for your Thanksgiving table or just because it’s fall and you want to, I want to make sure you get the best cupcake ever that suits your needs (because we love options!).
To ensure this, let’s go over a few tips and tricks I have for the latest edition to your favorite healthy fall treats!
- Fill the liners about 2/3 of the way full: or even 1/2 way full! You don’t want your cupcakes to muffin-top while baking. This will ensure that they bake just until the top of the liner.
- Need lower sugar? Slash the powdered sugar in half with coconut flour (see the recipe card for the exact measurements). You’ll still have that sweet flavor without the same amount of added sugar in more traditional cream cheese frostings.
- For a completely Paleo vegan cream cheese frosting: swap out the powdered sugar for coconut sugar- simply pulse the coconut sugar in a food processor, like how I did for my Paleo vegan chocolate zucchini cake, until it’s a fine powder. The frosting will look more brown and maple-y than white, but it will taste amazing!
- Piping and decorations: for these pumpkin cupcakes, I used a Wilton extra large piping tip, and for decorations, you can do a sprinkle of cinnamon, top with pumpkin buttercream balls like I did, or place little maple sugar candies on top!
- To make the pumpkin toppers: reserve about 1/2 cup of cream cheese frosting before you pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Mix in beet powder and turmeric powder together until you get a vibrant orange. Freeze the frosting for 10 minutes. Then remove from the freezer and roll into 12 small balls. Place the balls onto a piece of parchment paper and freeze again for 5 minutes. Use cinnamon sticks or twigs for the stems and top your cupcakes!
Trust me, you’re going to go crazy for these healthy pumpkin cupcakes. And basically everyone around you too. You’re just going to be the talk of the Thanksgiving table, okay? Is that cool?
I hope you love these pumpkin spice cupcakes as much as I do!
Happy vegan pumpkin cupcake baking!
More healthy vegan pumpkin desserts
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- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour or gluten free 1:1 flour
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp pumpkin spice (or blend of ground cloves, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed with 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup coconut or almond milk mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup olive oil (or avocado oil or coconut oil)
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 3/4 cup vegan butter, softened (I use Miyoko’s, which is Paleo) or coconut oil
- 1 8-oz. container vegan cream cheese (I use Miyoko’s, which is Paleo) or chilled coconut cream + 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 cups powdered sugar *see not for Paleo/low sugar options
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 12-tin muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flaxseed eggs with the pumpkin, coconut sugar, vanilla, maple syrup, coconut milk with apple cider vinegar, and olive oil using a spoon or hand mixer. Mix until well combined, then set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt.
- Fold in the wet ingredients to the mixed flour and mix with a spoon until well combined, being careful not to over mix and to make sure all clumps have been removed.
- Distribute pumpkin cupcake batter evenly among 12 cupcake liners, filling to about 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake the pumpkin cupcakes for 27-33 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool completely before frosting.
- When you’re ready to frost, combine the vegan butter and vegan cream cheese in a large bowl with a hand mixer on high speed. Beat the two until light and fluffy.
- Add in about 1 cup of powdered sugar and continue beating, adding in additional sugar until it’s a thick frosting.
- Add in the vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
- Spoon frosting into piping bags and frost each individual cupcake.
- Keep cool to prevent the frosting from melting (I recommend storing in the fridge and when ready to serve, let the cupcakes come to room temperature for about 12-15 minutes).
*Eggs: To make a ground flaxseed egg, combine 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed with about 1/3 cup filtered water. Let the combination sit for 5-7 minutes.
*Sugar: To make this Paleo, use 3 cups powdered coconut sugar, which you can make by processing the coconut sugar in a food processor or 1/3 cup maple syrup. To make this lower in sugar, swap in 2 cup coconut flour for 2 cups powdered sugar, and keep 1 cup powdered sugar or 1 cup coconut sugar.
To make the pumpkin toppers: reserve about 1/2 cup of cream cheese frosting before you pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Mix in beet powder and turmeric powder together until you get a vibrant orange. Freeze the frosting for 10 minutes. Then remove from the freezer and roll into 12 small balls. Place the balls onto a piece of parchment paper and freeze again for 5 minutes. Use cinnamon sticks or twigs for the stems and top your cupcakes!
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