Easy vegan pumpkin cupcakes that are so light and moist you won't believe they are vegan! Dairy-free, egg-free and made with oil instead of butter, you'll love that they stay fresh and light for days. Topped with a silky cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes are a perfect Autumnal or vegan Halloween treat. If you're looking for a spookier treat to smash out, try my Halloween Toffee Apples!
Originally posted October 23, 2018. Updated September 25, 2021 with process images and a revised recipe.
I first created my pumpkin cupcakes as a Halloween treat for my then 4 year-old daughter. At the time she loved the idea of Halloween as long as there was nothing scary, bloody or in any way spooky. Fast forward three years and the needle hasn't moved a great deal. We still prefer unicorns to witches, dislike the dark but we now love trick or treating during the day. Baby steps.
What We Love About These Vegan Cupcakes
These cupcakes are:
- So easy to make
- Convenient - they stay fresh for days because we are using oil not butter
- Quick - you can have these pumpkin cupcakes in the oven in a round 10 minutes and they bake in around 20.
- Delicious and moist.
What You'll Need Ingredients
This recipe is easy-peasy and you'll most likely have all the ingredients at home.
You are going to need all-purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda.
Pumpkin: Pumpkin puree gives us that wonderful colour and sweet pumpkin taste. It also helps to bind the cupcake - bonus! I make my own because here in Australia, canned pumpkin is not readily available. Use pumpkin puree not pumpkin filling.
I cook up 2 cups of chopped pumpkin with a little water in the microwave (yup, the microwave) and pop it in the blender once it's cooled to puree. Add a little water to get things moving.
Spices: You'll need aromatic cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
Salt : I always add a little salt to my desserts, it lifts the flavour of everything it touches. Use a fine sea salt if you have it.
Sunflower Oil: I love using oil in my baking, it guarantees a moist crumb. I generally use sunflower oil but you can use any neutral flavoured oil.
Sugar: We are using both raw caster sugar and brown sugar in these vegan cupcakes for the texture and flavour.
How To Make Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes
You'll find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. This is a summary of the process with images to guide you.
Are you ready? You are 5 steps away from my new and improved vegan pumpkin cupcakes with more fluff and less stuff. Wait, what...?
Step 1. Whisk the dry ingredients - other than the sugar - together in a large bowl.
Step 2. Whisk together the sugar and wet ingredients in another bowl
Step 3. Add the two, stirring until just combined
Step 4. Fill your lined muffin/cupcake tray two-thirds of the way up
Step 5. Bake for around 22-minutes at 160 degrees (fan forced) or 180 degrees (conventional). Let them cool and you're good to go.
Ta Da! So easy, right? I topped my cupcakes with the yummiest cream cheese frosting (recipe in the recipe card) and the cutest pumpkin toppers (thank you Etsy). I think they look adorable and while yes, I made these for Halloween, they will work for any pumpkin-loving festive occasion.
For this recipe I used fresh steamed pumpkin (Kent) which I pureed in a food processor with a little water until smooth and silky.
The recipe for the cream cheese frosting will make more than enough. It depends on how much frosting you like on each cake. You could half the recipe and make more if you need it.
I wouldn't recommend freezing frosted cupcakes but you can bake these, allow them to cool completely, and then store them in a freezer proof container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To thaw, allow them to gently thaw on your kitchen counter before frosting.
This recipe uses pumpkin puree, that's pure pumpkin. Pumpkin pie filling is sweetened and will change the balance of your cupcakes completely.
More pumpkin recipes (yeah, I have a thing for pumpkin):
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If you like this recipe, please check out my cookbook. Great Vegan Meals for the Carnivorous Family is full of simple, carnivore-approved family recipes.
Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes
For the Pumpkin Cupcakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¾ cup pureed pumpkin around 2 cups cooked pumpkin, pureed
- ½ cup raw caster sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar packed
- ½ cup sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup dairy-free milk
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 226 grams vegan cream cheese room temperature
- ½ cup vegan butter room temperature
- 3½ - 4 cups confectioner's sugar (icing sugar) sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pre-heat oven to 160° C conventional (320 ° F) or 180° C fan (356° F) and line a 12-pan cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
- In a separate larger bowl, whisk together the pureed pumpkin, sugars, sunflower oil, vanilla and milk.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk together until combined. Don't over mix; stop when the lumps are gone.
- Fill each cupcake pan ⅔ of the way up with the cake batter and bake in the oven for 18 - 22 minutes or until a skewer comes away clean from the centre of a cake.
- Remove the cakes from the oven to cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- To make the cream cheese frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer of using a hand mixer until well combined and light.
- A cup at a time, add the sifted icing sugar and continue beating until well combined. After each cup is completely incorporated in to the frosting add the next cup until you have your desired sweetness and texture.
- Add the vanilla extract and continue beating until everything is combined and the frosting is thick and glossy.
- Transfer the frosting to a piping bag to pipe or simply apply it to the cakes with a palette knife.