Sugar and Spice

Every fall, our adorable mom sends us care packages full of seasonal baking accessories (thanks, mom!)- cupcake liners, sprinkles, you name it! This fall was no different, and one day after work we returned home to find an amazing care package packed to the brim. Growing up, the three of us would bake at least every week, always fighting over who got to lick the spoon. Our mom made baking a tradition for any occasion and it is still one of our favorite activities every time we are together. Now that Jess and I both live together in San Francisco and our mom is still back in San Diego, baking just isn’t the same without her! Her thoughtful care packages give us a way to include her in each cupcake and cookie even though she may be 500 miles away. We couldn’t wait to use these cute cupcake liners and fall sprinkles, and what better way to celebrate fall than with pumpkin cupcakes?! We are pumpkin obsessed around here, and wait patiently for autumn to arrive every year so we can use it in just about every recipe. This time, we include both vegan and non vegan versions with maple and cinnamon frosting. Enjoy!





Continue reading for both recipes!


These cupcakes are super moist but also light. The maple-cinnamon cream cheese frosting provides a fluffy, luscious topping on a seasonal favorite. Let’s get baking!




  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs


  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp good maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon


First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners (preferably fun seasonal ones, of course), set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Stir to mix. Set aside.

In a stand mixer or large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, both sugars, vegetable oil, and eggs.


Pour dry ingredient mixture over wet ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist.

Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tray. Place into oven and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.


Now for the fun part, the frosting!


Cream the butter and cream cheese together in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.

Slowly add the sugar until it is mixed in completely. Next add the maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix for 10-20 seconds, until evenly combined. For fool-proof frosting, pour frosting into a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Cut off one of the bottom tips (about 1/4-1/2 inch cut). Now you have a homemade piping bag! Frost cupcakes as desired and add your toppings of choice- sprinkles, pecans, cinnamon, the possibilities are endless!

pumpkin cupcakes


What better way to kick off fall than indulging in these fluffy cupcakes! These cupcakes have a nice pumpkin flavor without being too overwhelming, and this buttercream frosting recipe adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World is amazing. These cupcakes are delicious as is, or you can add walnuts or chocolate chips to the batter to give it a little something extra! These have become my new favorite fall treat!



  • 1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup soy or almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening (I found mine at Target, Whole Foods is also a safe bet)
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (just a rough sift to get out major clumps)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

This makes a lot of frosting, feel free to halve the recipe, or save some for your next batch!


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and fill your muffin tin with muffin liners. In a large bowl whisk together pumpkin, sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until moistened.

Scoop the mixture into each muffin tin, allowing some room at the top for rising. Bake for 20 minutes, or until they pass the toothpick test. Better for cupcakes to be a little gooey than too dry.

While those are baking and you’re sipping your (soy) pumpkin spice latte, start the frosting.

I use an electric mixer for this step but if you’re looking for a good arm workout, skip the electric mixer and go old school. Beat the shortening and Earth Balance together until it starts to get fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about three minutes. Add the vanilla and soy milk and beat for about three minutes. Next, add the cinnamon and beat for an additional two-four minutes until you have that fluffy, creamy texture of buttercream frosting.


If you plan on piping the frosting, scoop the frosting either into piping bags, or a large ziploc bag and cut off a tiny edge of one of the corners. You can also just spread the frosting on the tops of the cupcakes. This frosting can get a little melty and gooey so you may want to put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Make sure it is already in the piping bag and check back often to make sure it isn’t getting too hard.

Get your decorating station ready! You’ll want to let your cupcakes cool down before icing or the frosting will melt off. Spread the frosting on or swirl it on with your piping bag. I topped some of mine with chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts, sprinkles and cinnamon. Make sure to store in a cool place.





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