Simple Autumn Spice Cupcakes

Autumn Spice Cupcakes make for a wonderful treat this Fall season! Fluffy, moist, and filled with Fall spices, these cupcakes are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Also known in our household as spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes are so simple to make. Boxed cake mix gets a glow up with the addition of warm Fall spices and pumpkin puree. The result is pumpkin cupcakes with cake mix that will save you tons of time, but absolutely no skimping on taste!

Cupcakes with icing laid in rows on top of a cooling tray with a napkin all on a marbled countertop.

Why You’ll Love Autumn Spice Cupcakes!

  • Simple to Make
  • Filled With Warm Autumn Spices
  • Moist and Fluffy

Autumn spice cupcakes are so easy to make! These pumpkin cupcakes with cake mix are a shortcut to the traditional homemade method. Warm Autumn spices and pumpkin puree are added to store bought yellow cake mix, making it a treat that can be whipped up in minutes. You can top these cupcakes with my 4 ingredient cream cheese icing as well. It’s a tangy and sweet addition that takes less than 10 minutes to make. These cupcakes are the Cliffs Notes of baking, but it’s a time saver that will still give you the homemade taste!

A closeup of a group of cupcakes with white icing laid out on cooling rack and napkin all on a marbled countertop.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Fall Spices?

Fall (or Autumn) spices are warm, aromatic spices that add a touch of sweetness, spiciness, or a savory kick to your recipes. Because they’re usually found in dried form, Autumn spices can last throughout the Fall and Winter seasons without spoiling. My spice cupcakes with cream cheese icing are filled with ginger, cinnamon, clove, allspice, and nutmeg.

Can You Make a Cake With This Recipe?

Yes! This recipe makes for a delicious Autumn spice cake as well. Simply adjust your baking time. Check the back of the cake mix box for baking instructions according to your pan size.

What Are Substitutions For The Spices?

You can substitute the spices in this recipe for pumpkin pie spice. Simply use 1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice in lieu of the spices listed in this recipe. Because these spices are already found in pumpkin pie spice, it makes for an easy swap!

Can I Use Buttercream Icing?


Absolutely! If you’re not a fan of cream cheese icing, simply swap it for a buttercream icing instead. Or, if you find icing too sweet for your taste buds, just omit it from the recipe completely. These cupcakes have so much flavor, they will taste amazing even without frosting!

Do I Have To Use Pumpkin Puree?

No. If you’re not a fan of pumpkin, you don’t have to add it to the recipe.

A close up of a group of unfrosted cupcakes laid in rows on a cooling rack and napkin.

Ingredients

For The Cupcakes

  • Yellow Cake Mix – Use your favorite store bought yellow cake mix. I use Duncan Hines and my cupcakes always come out soft, fluffy, and moist.
  • Canned Pumpkin Puree – Use a 15 oz can of pumpkin puree. Be sure to check the can that it’s labeled “100 Percent Pure Pumpkin”. You don’t want to grab canned pumpkin pie mix because it has sugar and isn’t the same as pure canned pumpkin. I repeat, pumpkin pie mix is not the same as pure canned pumpkin. (Trust me, I’ve made that mistake before!)
  • Clove – A very strong spice, I use this spice sparingly as it can overcome your taste buds!
  • Dried Ginger – Warm and spicy, I love the complexity it adds.
  • Nutmeg – Another warm spice that smells amazing! You can also sprinkle it on top of your icing for a nice presentation.
  • Cinnamon – Sweet and a little spicy. I love using cinnamon in larger quantities as it is such a crowd pleaser!
  • All Spice – Another strong spice. This one tastes great in small amounts.
  • Eggs – A basic building block to a good cake.
  • Vegetable Oil – I’ve used olive oil in my recipe. It’s always a safe bet.
  • Water – Hopefully we all have this one hanging around.

For The Icing

  • Butter – I use room temperature, salted butter since it’s a great contrast to the sugar.
  • Cream Cheese – Use full fat! The fat adds flavor, and you don’t want to skimp on that!
  • Powdered Sugar – It’s not necessary to sift the powdered sugar in this recipe. By creaming the butter and sugar beforehand, your sugar should blend smoothly without lumps.
  • Almond Extract – Swap this for vanilla extract if you prefer.
Various baking ingredients including oil, eggs, spices, cake mix, and canned pumpkin, laid neatly on a marbled counter.

How To Store

Because there’s cream cheese in the icing, you will need to store these cupcakes in the refrigerator. After icing, the cupcakes will stay fresh in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Cover your cupcakes in the fridge with either plastic wrap or in an air tight container to keep them from going stale. Don’t let the cupcakes sit on your counter longer than 2 hours as they will spoil.

A closeup of unfrosted cupcakes lined in rows on a cooling rack and napkin.

Variations

You can jazz up your spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting with the addition of a few other ingredients!

  • Add 1/4 cup of sweetened coconut or raisins for more texture.
  • Toss in 1/4 cup of chopped nuts for a satisfying crunch.

How To Serve Autumn Spice Cupcakes

You will want to serve these cupcakes chilled. Just make sure they are consumed within 2 hours of being set outside of the fridge. They make a tasty treat for so many occasions:

  • Birthday Parties
  • Halloween Parties
  • Coffee With Your Neighbor
  • Pot Lucks
  • Bake Sales
A closeup of unfrosted cupcakes in a cupcake pan on a marbled countertop.

How To Make Autumn Spice Cupcakes

A close up of a lined cupcake baking sheet filled with batter.
A closeup of a mixer filled with batter on a wooden countertop.

Autumn Spice Cupcakes

Plain yellow cake mix gets the Fall treatment with the addition of warm spices and pumpkin puree!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time22 mins
Rest20 mins
Total Time57 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cream cheese, desserts, seasonal
Servings: 20 cupcakes
Calories: 304kcal

Ingredients

Ingredients for the Cupcakes

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 can pure pumpkin puree (7.5 ounces)

For the Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup softened salted butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions

  • Line a 12 serving cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  • In a bowl or mixer, combine cake mix, spices, pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, eggs, and water.
  • Mix ingredients completely until smooth.
  • Pour mixture into the cupcake liners. (Approximately 3/4 full).
  • Bake in the oven approximately 18-22 minutes.
    A closeup of unfrosted cupcakes lined in rows on a cooling rack and napkin.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a bowl or mixer, combine butter, cream cheese, and almond extract. Whip until combined and fluffy.
  • Slowly add powdered sugar. Place sugar in 1 cup at a time, and turn mixer on slow to start.
  • Whip frosting until smooth.
    A closeup of a mixer filled with white icing on a marbled countertop.

Notes

  • Please note that my oven runs hotter than normal. I typically lower my heat 25 degrees less than what the cake mix box instructs, (325 degrees Fahrenheit). If your oven doesn’t run hot like mine, keep your oven pre-heated at the instructed 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of your cupcake. If it comes out clean, your cupcake is fully baked. If not, place back into the oven for a few more minutes.
  • Don’t over mix your frosting! Mix ingredients till smooth, but the icing should be able to hold onto the mixer when lifted.
  • Spread cream cheese icing over cupcakes with a knife, or place into a piping bag to create large peaks of icing on top!
A closeup of a group of cupcakes with white icing laid out on a marbled countertop.

I hope you enjoy these easy pumpkin cupcakes with cake mix! Autumn spice cupcakes are a delicious treat that’s sure to enhance your Fall season!

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