Brownie Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

brownie cupcakes topped with pumpkin cream cheese frosting

I had my first bake sale this past weekend. Reader Maggie (hi Maggie!) from the Hillyer Art Space in DC approached me this summer and asked that I bring and sell a few baked goods to their art showing.

The original brownie cupcakes on my blog have been so popular, I knew a fall-inspired version of them would be a huge hit.

brownie cupcakes topped with pumpkin cream cheese frosting

Plus, I’m a tad obsessed with pumpkin and I don’t think I’m alone in that. 😉

brownie cupcakes topped with pumpkin cream cheese frosting with a bite taken from one cupcake

Needless to say, these babies were the first item to sell out.

For the cupcakes, I remixed my original recipe and melted some good quality chocolate in the batter instead of cocoa powder. The melted chocolate makes these brownie cupcakes dense, rich, moist, and decadent. Pure chocolate decadence. Is there really anything better?

brownie cupcakes topped with pumpkin cream cheese frosting

Yes. There is something better. Adding pumpkin. The pumpkin cream cheese frosting was an afterthought. I spied some pumpkin puree leftover from my healthy pumpkin bars in my refrigerator, and instantly knew I should incorporate it into the cream cheese frosting.

It’s lusciously creamy, perfectly spiced with pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon, and the dollop of pumpkin gives it a beautiful light orange color. Doesn’t it just look like a puffy cloud on top? So soft and silky. I love the spice speckles peaking through!

brownie cupcakes topped with pumpkin cream cheese frosting

What you will love most about this recipe is that it comes together fairly quickly.

With the dozens of cookies and other treats I made for the bake sale, an easy and quick cupcake was a glorious sigh of relief.

brownie cupcakes topped with pumpkin cream cheese frosting

Wilton #12 piping tip always does the trick. 😉

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brownie cupcakes topped with pumpkin cream cheese frosting

Fudge Brownie Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Fudgy brownie cupcakes topped with silky smooth pumpkin cream cheese frosting!


Brownie Cupcakes

  • 4 ounces unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: ground ginger, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg (OR 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice)
  • 22.5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup heat-treated all-purpose flour (to thicken, as needed)
  • salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line 12 muffin tins with baking cups or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Make the cupcakes: Melt the chopped chocolate and sliced butter together in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each until completely smooth and combined.  Allow to cool for a few minutes. Stir in sugar, then vanilla. Add in eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the flour and salt.
  3. Pour batter into 12 muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. Mine took 22 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center will have moist crumbs. Be careful not to overbake the cupcakes.
  4. While the cupcakes are cooling in the pan, make the pumpkin frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese, butter, pumpkin, and spices on medium speed until creamy. Add the 2-2.5 cups of sifted powdered sugar depending how sweet you’d like it. If frosting is much too thin, add in the flour to thicken it. Add salt to cut the sweetness, if you prefer. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.


  1. Frosting: The frosting will not be super thick, but will still spread or pipe well and maintain its shape on the cupcake. I used a Wilton #12 tip for piping.
  2. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

Keywords: fudge cupcakes with pumpkin frosting, fudge brownie cupcakes

The bake sale was so much fun! I knew today’s cupcakes would be popular. You can’t go wrong with chocolate & pumpkin! I also made some Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies for it.

Many thanks to Maggie for the invite and to my best friend, Erin. Erin was my photographer for the day and navigated our way down to DC. I’m not very good at driving in that city!


Comments are closed.

  1. I found your site and was wondering how I would make this with a box mix (brownie mix)?

    1. Hi Charmaine! Just mix up the brownie batter according to the package instructions and bake in cupcake tins instead of a baking pan. Then frost with my pumpkin cream cheese frosting. The baking time will depend on your mix, but go for at least 20 mins and insert a toothpick into the center of the brownie cupcake. If it comes out mostly clean, they are done. You will have to double the pumpkin frosting recipe depending on how many brownie cupcakes your boxed mix bakes. thank you!

  2. Do these need to be refrigerated or do they store well in an airtight container once cooled and frosted?

    1. Hi Nicole! I cover them and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Sorry I forgot to add that in!

  3. Leslie Pieper-McQueen says:

    Hi Sally! I have a cupcake blog called My Year of Cupcakes. I featured your Fudge Brownie Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting recipe on day 70. They were AMAZING!! Here’s the link if you wanna take a look:
    Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Thanks!

  4. Hi Sally! How did you fill the baking cups with this batter? 2/3 full or fill it entirely? I’m wondering if it will rise if I pour the batter 2/3 full since it has no baking soda or powder? I’m going to bake this for my husband’s birthday. I can’t wait!

    1. Hey Carla! I usually fill the cups 3/4 of the way full. Hope you and your husband enjoy!

  5. Hi! If made on a saturday and needed on a wednesday for office potluck…could you freeze? if so can you freeze completely done?

    Thoughts? THANK YOU!

    1. You could freeze the cupcakes and allow to thaw the night before in the refrigerator. You could make the frosting 1 day in advance, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  6. Heeey sally,

    I love your site so you’ll be seeing my comments on here regularly but this recipe sounds amazing, could I still use the cocoa powder though instead of the melting chocolate? and would this recipe work for actually making brownies?

    1. Hi Lauryn, unfortunately cocoa powder is not a substitute for pure solid chocolate. If you don’t have melting chocolate, try using this brownie recipe to make the cupcakes (leave out the peanut butter chips):

      I’m unsure of the baking time though. It should be about the same. This recipe will make less cupcakes.

      1. Thanks!! Does it matter which chocolate brand I use for melting? Or can I just melt chocolate chips?

  7. These cupcakes are exactly what I’ve been looking for! I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect chocolate cupcake, and I will take a fudgy brownie over chocolate cake any day! So excited to make these! Will the recipe double well, or should I do two batches?

    1. This recipe doubles wonderfully! However, to be safe – I usually just make two batches. It’s easy to do that anyway!

  8. The fudge brownie recipe is to die for. I used the peanut butter cream cheese frosting from one of the other recipes and made them for a friend’s birthday. He love love loved them!

  9. Can I sub the chocolate with choco chips? We don’t have cjocolate in bars here 🙁

    1. Hi Alison. So sorry for the delay responding. I was on vacation. I do not recommend chocolate chips here; chocolate chips contain stabilizers making them nearly impossible to melt into a smooth, thin, silky texture. Plus, they don’t taste as fabulous as pure chocolate. Instead of this brownie recipe, try baking this brownie recipe (without the peanut butter chips) in the cupcake liners. About the same bake time as these.

  10. So along with some white chocolate pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies, I made a batch of these to take up to my mother-in-law’s house (while you were away on your honeymoon). Sense a theme here (pumpkin?). My mother-in-law loves everything chocolate….so I felt I needed something else besides the snickerdoodles to make her happy. And pumpkin? Well. it’s seasonal.
    These were great, very moist cupcakes. I did take your advice and thickened up the frosting with a little flour. My mother in law loved them so much, she had to have two for dessert! Everyone loved them. My husband’s only complaint was he felt it was a little too much frosting. But I’m a frosting person and I felt it was just fine as is. Thanks again for another crowd-pleasing recipe!

  11. Sally – I LOVE your other Brownie cupcake recipe.  Wondering why this one has no baking powder or soda?

  12. I spent the past two weekends wasting my life away on another blog’s cupcakes that didn’t turn out either time! I returned here because I’ve made so many of your recipes and they always come out incredibly.

    This one was no different! These are so gorgeous and decadent, they baked absolutely perfectly and I didn’t need any extra thickening for the frosting, either. I split one with my boyfriend and am taking the rest to work tomorrow. Thank you for all the lovely recipes you provide: I know I can trust you to make something that bakes right and tastes amazing!

  13. I’m pumpkin crazy this time of year and was wondering if this pumpkin cream cheese frosting would work as a filling for the September Baking Challenge. If so, would I need to modify the quantity at all? Thanks!

    1. Yes yes yes absolutely! I recommend doubling the recipe to make sure there’s enough for filling each pastry.

  14. Great recipe! Thank you, Sally!

  15. Hi Sally,

    Quick question about the cream cheese frosting – don’t you have to “treat” the flour before using it raw in a recipe? I heard flour needs to be cooked for 5 minutes in the oven to kill any bacteria that might be present.


    1. Hi Amal! More modern recipes with raw flour require heat treated flour, so I recommend using it. I’m updating this recipe to include that information.

  16. LOVED these! I do agree with another commenter that the frosting is extraordinarily sweet. Even the cupcakes are a touch on the sweet side. I ended up doubling all of the frosting ingredients and reducing the sugar by one cup and it was perfect. These are a super yummy and perfectly decadent fall treats.

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