Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

When I was a little girl, my grandmother would add butterscotch to all sorts of recipes to liven them up just a notch – from rice krispie treats to pound cake.  It gave everything she added it to an extra element of sweetness, and it was hard to resist having seconds (or thirds).

This time of year just seems to scream pumpkin and spices, so I had a craving for some pumpkin cupcakes – and my grandmother’s little trick came to mind.  I thought about butterscotch chips, but I didn’t really want to drown out the pumpkin flavors – instead, I wanted to aid in bringing them out even more.  I opted for a butterscotch pudding mix added to the batter, and boy – I’m glad I did.

The result is a perfectly spiced cupcake that signals fall is upon us  It doesn’t really have a butterscotch flavor, but instead gives it ‘that something‘ that I was hoping for. And, it made them so moist.

Light, delicate – perfectly sweet, but not too sweet.

I paired them with a traditional cream cheese frosting that I amped up just a bit with a little hint of brown sugar & vanilla bean. Then, I topped them off with a little candy pumpkin and a light dusting of fall sprinkles, just as an added touch.


Also… I’ve got to share something with you.  Those little candies are awfully hard for little kids to stay away from.  Just look what kept happening when I was trying to take the photos for this post around my 2 year old.  Little fingers sneaking into my photos over & over again to steal candy & sprinkles.  He better be thankful he’s darn cute 😉


Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

Servings 24 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3.4 ounce package instant butterscotch pudding mix
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree

For the frosting:

  • 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese,
  • softened
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean optional
  • miniature pumpkin candies


For the cupcakes:

  • Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, & pumpkin pie spice in a bowl; set aside.
  • Beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin puree with the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting:

  • In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla & the insides of a vanilla bean (if using), then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar & brown sugar..


  • Once the cupcakes are cool, frost them with the cream cheese frosting. Garnish with sprinkles and candied pumpkins, if desired.