Fudge Brownie Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

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Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting - an easy recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting - an easy recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting - an easy recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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?

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting - an easy recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting - an easy recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting - an easy recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Wilton #12 piping tip always does the trick. 😉

Fudge Brownie Cupcakes with 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 vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 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 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp nutmeg (OR 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
  • 2 - 2.5 cups confectioners', sifted
  • 1/4 cup flour (to thicken, as needed)
  • salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 325F degrees.  Line 12 muffin tins with baking cups or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. 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.


Recipe Notes:

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.

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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!


  1. I was so excited to try the pumpkin frosting. I made it as per your recipe but found it extremely sweet for my taste and too thin to stay on the cupcake. I doubled the amount of butter and cream cheese and it was better for me 🙂

    1. So glad you made the frosting! Try adding a touch of flour next time. That will thicken the frosting without making it sweeter. I’m glad you added more cream cheese and butter though… can’t go wrong there!

    1. Not a huge pumpkin fan? Stephanie you must get tired of all the pumpkin recipes in the blogworld this time of year then! But yes, brownies are ALWAYS an enjoyment, that’s for sure!

  2. I do love pumpkin and these cupcakes sound incredible – fudge, pumpkin and cream cheese all in one bite! I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution as always). Thanks for always inspiring me with your creations…

  3. hello! i want to make these for a bake sale tomorrow, but i sont have that tip 🙁
    would it pipe well the the big wilton star tip? it is all i have

    1. I love the star tip! I would definitely try that out. But just know that the frosting isn’t super thick like bakery frosting. You could always just swirl the frosting on with a knife for a more rustic look as well.

    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!

  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!

  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?

  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?

  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!

    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. https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/12/30/ultimate-fudge-brownies-with-peanut-butter-chips-2/

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

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