Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

I wasn't sure if I wanted to make mini donuts or cupcakes today. I got a new mini donut pan that I really wanted to try out, but I went with cupcakes today.  You can't really go wrong with cupcakes. 

I found these in Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book and had never tried them before.  The crumb is full of flavor and not too dense. When you pick one up, they are definitely heavier than a regular cupcake.

My go-to-frosting is a swiss meringue buttercream.  I personally love it because it's not too sugary.  But for these I choose a Cinnamon Cream Cheese Buttercream/Frosting.  It's not as sweet as a regular sugary frosting but it's not as light as a buttercream.  It's somewhere in the middle, which turned out really well for these cupcakes since they are so rich.

You must make these.  There's something about the browned butter and pumpkin…just to die for. Just the right mixture of spice and sweetness. 

Pumpkin Brown Butter Cupcakes

From Martha Stewart Cupcakes, Makes 15, but I made 12 because I'm badass like that!


  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for tins
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for tins
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs



  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Brush standard muffin tins with butter; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the sage, if desired, and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown. Skim foam from top, and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to stop the cooking, leaving any burned sediment behind; let cool.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, both sugars, eggs, and brown-butter mixture. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
  4. To finish, dip top of each cupcake in icing, then turn over quickly and let set. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed, keep at room temperature until ready to serve.


Cinnamon Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting


  • 1 cup  unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2  tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups powdered sugar



  1. In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes
  2. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and mix until well-combined.
  3. Gradually add half the powdered sugar, 1/2  cup at a time, with the mixer on low speed.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. 
  5. Continue adding the rest of the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
  6. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and whip the frosting.
  7. If the buttercream is too thick, add a teaspoon or two of milk, and if the consistency is too thin, add more powdered sugar until you reach piping consistency.

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