Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Molasses Frosting

Gluten-free pumpkin cupcakes made with pumpkin butter, and topped with molasses cream cheese frosting. more »

I’m afraid of an open flame. I have burned myself, like, a million times on a hot oven, hot pan, hot pot. I’ve got scars all over my hands and forearms. Occupational hazard, I guess. But it’s the open flame that really does a number on me. Since I have a gas oven and stove, even without power I should be able to bake in my current state. The State of Blackout. I’m too chicken to light the pilot myself, though. Lucky for us, I baked ahead.

I write to you from the local library. Even those of you (read: not me) in the path of the storm lucky enough to have your lights back on may not yet have Internet access. I got nothin’. Which means that I’m rendered practically mute. I’m barely keeping it together, here. I’m good in a crisis, but not one of this open-ended nature, I’m afraid.

On a brighter note, I am digging this baking-with pumpkin-butter thing! You really can’t match the depth of flavor in pumpkin butter with an equal amount of pumpkin puree – canned or fresh. I made mini cupcakes thinking that I would pack some in my kids’ lunches this week. They’re always talking about those little bags of “mini bites” that Nabisco or somebody or other makes. These stay moist enough that they’ll survive a few days on the counter so you can keep packing them for lunch – minus the frosting of course. When it turned out that there would be no school all this week (thank you, dear hurricane), we just ate them all by candlelight.

Part of me can’t believe that my kids feel deprived that they don’t have those prepackaged mini muffins in their lunchboxes. I mean, can you even begin to imagine the embarrassment of baked riches in their lives? But most of me totally gets it. They’re kids. I’m pretty sure Janet Jackson was talking about being a parent. It’s all “what have you done for me lately?” So here’s what I’ve done for you lately: Soft and moist, 2-bite mini pumpkin butter cupcakes with just a dollop of cream cheese molasses frosting. If you want to make these maxi, in a standard 12-cup muffin tin, just bake them for about 10 minutes longer, still at 325°F.

Please, if it’s not too much trouble, think good power thoughts for me. We’re so so close (a new utility pole is up! the fallen trees are removed!) but the power company hasn’t seen fit to attach us to the new pole! I may have to get up the nerve to light that oven pilot light after all. ;)

Prep time: 10 minutes       Cook time: 10 minutes       Yield: 48 mini cupcakes

1 1/2 cups (210 g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

5 ounces pumpkin butter

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 extra-large eggs (120 g) at room temperature, beaten

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups (230 g) confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons milk or cream

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease or line two 24-cup mini muffin tins and set them aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well.  Add the brown sugar and whisk to combine, working out any lumps in the brown sugar. Add the butter, pumpkin butter, vanilla and eggs, and beat until well-combined and smooth. The batter will be light, but scoop-able.

  • Fill the prepared muffin cups about 2/3 of the way full, and place in the center of the preheated oven. Bake until golden and the top springs back when pressed gently with your fingertip (about 10 minutes). Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.
    Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy (1-2 minutes). Add the molasses, pumpkin pie spice and salt, and mix again on high until well-combined.  Add the confectioner’s sugar, and mix on low speed to combine. Once the sugar has been absorbed by the butter and cream cheese mixture, add 1 tablespoon of milk and turn the mixer up to high speed and mix for about 3 minutes, or until the frosting is fluffy and thickened. If necessary, add the remaining tablespoon of milk and continue to beat until the frosting is fluffy.

  • Transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a small tip, and pipe a generous amount of frosting on top of each cooled cupcake. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers at room temperature in a sealed container for 2-3 days.



P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of both of My Cookbooks! I can’t keep the blog going without your support!

  • Patti

    Hope all power is returned soon!  Glad you are safe.
    Received new cookbook yesterday.  Great fun reading it last night!  Yea, I am one of those that reads cookbooks for pleasure.  I like the ones where the author shares her/his personality.  You do and you do a great job of it!
    Question: Any brand recommendations on the pumpkin butter? 
    Thank you Nicole.

    • gfshoestring

      Hi, Patti!
      So glad you’re enjoying the cookbook. Do you mean to say that some people don’t actually read cookbooks like that? They don’t know what they’re missing. ;)
      I don’t know any good GF pumpkin butter personally to recommend as I haven’t bought any in so many years (I made my own with a recipe I referred to in the text of the Pumpkin Chips Ahoy! post), I’m afraid. I know that Trader Joe’s sells it this time of year, but I honestly don’t know if it is GF. I will check next time I’m in the store (and now I have a working refrigerator to stock!) and report back if I learn anything good!
      xoxo Nicole

      • Patti

         Completely skipped over the pumpkin butter bit in the Chips Ahoy recipe.  Oopsie.  Made some yesterday in crock pot (left lid slightly ajar to let steam escape………..love it!)  What yummy stuff!  So the cupcakes are baking right now & I am going to whip up a batch of the cookies.  Fun!!  Thank you.

  • JoAnn C.

    Sending good thoughts your way.  Also, fear not, this month is sure to bring you happiness.  After all it is our birthday month!  

    • gfshoestring

      That’s right, JoAnn! Can’t forget our birthday month! Looks like Nov. 1 was the charm after all, as I’m now back, and the first day of November hasn’t yet passed. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Anneke

    Lots of good thoughts for you!  I could live without the power, but the kids home unexpectedly for a week — I shudder to think how hard that must be!

    • gfshoestring

      Oh Anneke you know me well (and I you). That’s the real zinger! Hopefully they’ll be marching back to school on Monday! They were pretty good, though, I have to say, in much less than ideal circumstances.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kristi

    Did you include the xanthan gum in your batch or did you omit it since you were using Better Batter?

    These look terrific, going to make them this afternoon!

    • gfshoestring

      Yes, omit the xanthan gum if you are using Better Batter, or any other blend that already contains xanthan gum. Enjoy!
      xoxo Nicole

  • RebeccaLB

    These look yummy!  I like the little cupcakes better than the big ones – I can eat two if I want and not get over full!  I bet if you tempt those power workers with your baked goods you will have connections in no time at all!  Bribery works!

    • gfshoestring

      Oh, believe me I’m not above pretty much anything, Rebecca! I offered them plenty, but they politely refused – and then fixed my power anyway!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Carole

    Now I know what I’m taking to the Thanksgiving feast. A perfect size for ovestuffed people.
    With two recipes calling for it maybe now I’ll make the pumpkin butter.
    May the power be with you real soon.

    • gfshoestring

      Your kind words may have made the difference, Carole, ’cause I have power! I agree that these are the perfect size for the great Thanksgiving overstuffed. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001145807829 Linda Stoddard

    We were spared outages which is ironic considering we’re not that far apart, but this must be driving you up the wall. Sending mucho good vibes for your power to be restored soon and your life back to where it was. Your new book arrived and it’s incredible. I’m hoping for a book signing so I can come and get your autograph. Stay tough. xoxlinda

    • gfshoestring

      It worked, Linda! I don’t really do book signings much, I’m afraid (I have learned, as I long suspected, that they are merely for purposes of vanity and do not actually help sell a book), but since we are in the same general area, maybe someday… ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Bettyjeanbowman

    Where do you get pumpkin butter?

    • gfshoestring

      Hi, Betty Jean,
      I made my own (I refer to my simple recipe in the Pumpkin Chips Ahoy! recipe), but I know Trader Joe’s sells it this time of year. You’d have to make sure it’s GF, though. I’m honestly not sure. Lots of other companies sell it, though.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Farida

    I’m so glad that you are all okay, and hope the power comes back soon. “Camping” is fun when it’s a choice, not an affliction.

    I’m grateful for the pumpkin butter recipe. My husband loves pumpkin flavored items, but has discovered that he has adverse reactions to allspice. So many commercially made pumpkin items have allspice, so he relies upon my homemade versions.

  • http://www.kidd2kidd.blogspot.com/ Jess

    Alright!  I just finished my pumpkin butter (which- I do have a question about- was it supposed to take forever?  Or am I just pumpkin butter challenged?)… and it’s onto the cupcakes!  Thanks for thinking of us while you are still without power- if there ever was a time to be self-absorbed this might be it!  Keeping our fingers crossed your get your lights back on soon!

    love jess

  • Marilee

    Glad you have your power back. It’s not fun without. I don’t normally comment on blogs but…. My husband and I made the choice to go gluten free about 2 weeks ago for health reasons and I immediately started trying to figure out how to replace bread. Found your blog, bought both of your books (and I’m among those who read cookbooks like novels :-) ) and am in heaven. Haven’t made anything yet because I’m in weight loss mode and once I start baking, forgeddaboutit!

    Anyway – thank you – I love you’re blog, love your books – count me a fan!

  • Rochelle9999

     Thanks so much for your dedication to us –going to the library to post :)
    I have your first cookbook but I think I will order the 2nd one on Amazon.   Wishing you Electricity soon!!

  • Kristy B.

    I can’t believe you’re just bloggin it up, no big thing. :) You must really love us *tear*. We love you right back. Crossing my fingers your power is miraculously back on today.

  • Jayneej

    Do you know if there is gluten free all purpose flour that doesn’t have white rice flour
    Or potato starch or flour in it. I have problems white rice
    And white potatoes. It seems all the brands have white rice or flour and
    the with white rice.

  • joanne jensen

    oh, my heart goes out to you (and all of you that were in the hurricane;s path)! i am originally from brick, nj, now living in tennessee. i have relatives and friends living in new york city, freehold, collingswood, toms river, point pleasant, manahawkin & brick. i cannot imagine what all of you have been going through,  it boggles the mind! i am continuing to think good warm, powerful thoughts for all of you. hope your power retuens soon!! 
    thanks for the delish cupcake recipe…joanne

  • Mary Garrard

    Hi, I made these cupcakes for a neighborhood party with one other GF person. Everybody loved them, even the non GF folks. Thanks for the recipe. It’s a keeper. One thing though, it was WAY too much frosting. So I was required to eat the leftover frosting out of the bowl with a spoon……..

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This recipe was brought to you by Nicole Hunn of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/pumpkin-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-molasses-frosting/
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