Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

It was a dark and spooky night…all around the cottage nothing could be heard but the rustling of cupcake papers….

Halloween is almost here! Halloween isn’t a big thing here in Australia, but my family and I love any excuse to decorate the house (Dad has been working hard on decorations all year), dress up in silly costumes, and share a few sweet treats. These gluten free pumpkin cupcakes made an early appearance to get us in the Halloween mood last weekend – spicy, sweet, and with some cute and spooky sprinkles they were a Halloween hit.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

When I saw these pumpkin cupcakes on Jen’s blog I knew it wouldn’t be long until I needed to bring them to Thoroughly Nourished Life and give them a little gluten free makeover. You all know that I love spiced baked goods and the heady aroma of these cupcakes is delightful mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom. The butternut pumpkin (squash) I used added a sweetness to the cupcakes, and the brown sugar ensures that the cake stays soft and sweet. These are a very tender cake so they might appear a little crumbly. Just remember to cook them for the correct amount of time and allow them to cool completely before frosting and eating. The inclusion of ground chia seeds helps bind the gluten free flours without any strange tasting vegetable gums.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Cream cheese frosting with cinnamon is the perfect tangy-sweet topping for the fluffy cupcakes. I used the same recipe as the frosting on my Chai Spiced Cake. It’s the perfect frosting to pair with anything filled with any of your spiced baked goods. I use it on cakes, cupcakes, and even baked doughnuts (coming soon to Thoroughly Nourished Life) – sometimes it’s a little too tempting not to just lick it straight off the spoon!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I love Halloween even though I am not a fan of scary movies, scary stories, or those weird plastic costume masks. I love a mild spooky night filled with shrieks that border on delight and fear, with a sweet reward at the end. This Halloween Chris and I will be spending the night with Mum and Dad taking part in the Haunted Driveway that my Dad has created. Although Chris isn’t too keen on Halloween (don’t worry, he’s learning) we have our costumes picked out (ghost bride for me, Dread Pirate Ginger Beard for Chris) and I can’t wait to spend the night tricking and treating the little (and big) kids in our neighbourhood.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Milk and Honey | Makes 12 cupcakes | Gluten Free


For the cupcakes

  • 40 grams brown rice flour
  • 40 grams white rice flour
  • 40 grams almond meal
  • 50 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds, ground
  • 115 grams butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

For the frosting

  • 125 grams cream cheese (full fat is best), softened
  • 50 grams butter
  • 3-4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (a decent sprinkle)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Sprinkles for decorating (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line 12-hole cupcake pan (1/4 cup capacity) with cupcake papers.
  2. In a medium size bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond meal, buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  3. In a small jug combine buttermilk and ground chia seeds. Allow to sit until required.
  4. In a large mixing bowl use a hand mixer to beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
  6. Turn mixer speed to low and beat in half the flour mix until just combined. Add buttermilk and pumpkin puree and beat until incorporated and then mix in the rest of the flour until just combined.
  7. Divide batter evenly among cupcake papers.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched.
  9. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  10. To make frosting: beat together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add 3 cups of icing sugar, spices and milk. Beat until combined. You want a slightly stiff mixture. If frosting is too loose add extra cup of icing sugar.
  11. Spoon frosting into a piping bag fitted with your choice of tip. Decorate cupcakes as desired and then sprinkle with decorations (if using). You could alternately use a knife to frost the cupcakes.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tell me, dear readers, how do you celebrate Halloween? Is anyone else dressing up?

10 thoughts on “Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Love your gluten free makeover Amy. These cupcakes look amazing with the cute sprinkles and all.

    I’m not usually into Halloween. I’ve always thought it’s a bit too commercial and doesn’t really have any relevance to me. But this year my older sons school is having a bake sale on Friday (Halloween) to raise money for Prostate Cancer research. Kids and parents have been asked to bake something with a Halloween theme to contribute. I must admit, now that I have a legitimate excuse, I’m just a little excited at the prospect.

    I hope you have fun on Friday and get more treats than tricks (Does that sound wrong?) lol

    • Thanks Jen. I made these twice and it was just too tempting not to post them 🙂
      I hope you have fun baking a Halloween themed treat for a good cause. Knowing you it will be utterly amazing.
      I’m hoping for more treats than tricks for sure 😉

  2. Pingback: Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty-Four | Thoroughly Nourished Life

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