Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Orange Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting


Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Orange Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

Letting Go

Batch of Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

“Do you have many books? Not many here–thirty or forty. But your are welcome to any of them you haven’t read.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck


Grasping with all our might we hold on tightly. Until we don’t. We let go. I came stuttering into fall. Didn’t want to let our Indian Summer go. September, early October, I rebelled against all things pumpkin and spice. Late in the afternoon I find myself in the garden searching for straggling, late season tomatoes. They aren’t very good tomatoes; mushy, without gloss, yet sweet. They are not slicing or galette making tomatoes. I tuck them into a full-bodied sauce or hearty soup that’s already simmering and feel good about using them. When I’m in the garden the late afternoon sun warms my shoulders, reaching past my sweatshirt to caress and soothe. The warmth eases the grip I have on the day. My hands loosen, relax as they clammer past the tangle of a busy day for one last tomato. That’s what I’m not ready to give up. But I will let go.

The smell of cinnamon and the sight of huge piles of pumpkins propels us into fall. There is no denial of the slow decent into shorter, colder days. Finally, I let go of summer and got swept up in all things pumpkin. This Autumn Spice Blend captured my imagination. Fragrant with vanilla, warm and spicy with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves it hits all the right fall notes. I grate my own nutmeg and suggest giving it a try. It has a fresher more pronounced aroma and flavor with a different color and texture than the already ground nutmeg purchased from the grocery store. With inspiration from the Autumn Spice Blend I’ve made my own pumpkin spice lattes and muffins and waffles. Now it is time for pumpkin cake and cupcakes.

Making Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes


My cookbook shelf is full. And with new books being released all the time I want several, especially this. It is time to make room for the new by letting go of the books I don’t use. I thought to cook and bake from some of the books that I haven’t recently used. If there was something I didn’t like about the recipes or book I would be able to make room on my bookshelf. I haven’t made any room on the bookshelf but I have made a batch of irresistible Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Orange Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting. Spare on photos and with a huge footprint I thought Bon Appetit Desserts would be a likely candidate. I forgot about the marvelous and mostly easy recipes. After making these fragrant light and fluffy cupcakes Bon Appetit Desserts went back on the bookshelf. Oh, and before it went back on the shelf I found a recipe for Halloween Candy Cake that looks heavenly….

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Orange Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

I changed the recipe; but not much. I made cupcakes instead of a cake. The recipe made 23 beautifully domed cupcakes. With just enough frosting for 20 cupcakes the last 3 stragglers were happily reclassified as Pumpkin Muffins. I used the Autumn Spice Blend instead of the spices in the cake recipe and added 1 teaspoon of salt as none was included. The final change was to make Orange Caramel Sauce instead of regular caramel to mirror the orange zest in the recipe. More Autumn Spice went into the caramel and frosting. A dusting of the spice blend tops the decadent caramel cream cheese frosting. I would make this recipe again; it is easy and the outcome is fabulous. Making a layer cake with the recipe would be an irresistible celebration cake for Halloween or Thanksgiving. For a stunning presentation double the caramel recipe for enough to decorate the cake or puddle around the slices before serving.


Halloween Fun

Halloween Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Orange Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

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44 Responses to Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Orange Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. We are on the same wavelength with our cupcakes today, these are beauties! Love the orange caramel frosting!

  2. The cupcakes are gorgeous! I so want one now! I’m not giving up on summer, though it is clear mother nature has. However, the tomatoes and much of the other summer produce is still quite tasty here.

    • Deb says:

      Thank you Laura! We also have a melding of both summer and fall crops. Strawberries are still being harvested!

  3. Carol Sacks says:

    Looking very spooky at your house, Deb:) Lovely post — those cupcakes looks divine!

  4. My mouth is literally watering, Deb! They look quite delish, and I am sharing them!

  5. Deb, I recently cleaned my bookshelves of any unused or impractical cookbooks to make room for – dare I say – the dozens of new books I have bought just this past year. I love my cookbooks. They are like loyal friends, always on the ready to lend their help and give advice.
    Is it possible that just weeks into Fall I am already yearning for a homegrown tomato? Although I am so enjoying the fruits, squashes, and root vegetables so plenty during this season, memories of summer produce lingers.
    Your cupcakes look just adorable. I especially love the combination of orange and caramel in the frosting.

    • Deb says:

      Mary thank you so much for the gracious comment! I miss summer too; sandals, ice cream and peaches have created an intense longing and daydreaming wondering where it all went?

  6. Spree says:

    Beautiful writing, and a gorgeous gorgeous layout! Bon Appetit would be better for your photography! Don’t do sweets often, but this looks like a keeper! Pinning! : ) And thanking!

    • Deb says:

      Spree thank you so much for your beautiful comment! It’s just the inspiration I need to charge my camera battery and shoot once again!

  7. Cathy says:

    Those pictures are so lovely – all warm and cosy ready for Halloween! I love the combination of spices at this time of year. The frosting with orange in it sounds scrummy too!

  8. These cupcakes look divine, Deb. I want a bite!

  9. Deb, these are truly gorgeous cupcakes! They look so perfect and so stunningly beautiful! Orange caramel cream cheese frosting sounds very interesting – I’d love to make these cupcakes someday for sure!

    • Deb says:

      Thank you Julia! The Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting is so decadent, it’s worth the extra step of making the caramel!

  10. Valentina says:

    I just delved into pumpkin this week, too. These cupcakes look dreamy and delicious! I’d cozy up with one on the sofa with a good book, warm blanket and a fire in the fireplace. That is, in another life when I’d have time for such things. 😉 The cupcake, I’d always have time for.

  11. Cher says:

    These are gorgeous.
    I absolutely refused to acknowledge pumpkin until mid-October. I am not ready for winter…

  12. Hannah says:

    I love all your decorations, Deb, and your photos are beautiful! You’ve made some very tempting cupcakes here…especially love your caramel cream cheese icing. Looks like you’ve embraced fall well now. Happy Autumn to you!

  13. Claire says:

    Hi Deb, I know what you mean about giving up on summer and the last tomatoes – although they symbolise summer they taste of autumn and are definitely better off made into sauces.
    as to your sweet treats – your photography and icing (frosting) skills know no bounds! tempting, oh so tempting. And I’m with you on using fresh nutmeg, I’ve also been grinding fresh cinnamon for cake making too – another delight!

  14. Jacquee says:

    Oh my! What a mouthwatering flavour combo and good looking too!!

  15. Rosa says:

    Beautiful cupcakes and pumpkins!



  16. Now I miss a temperate fall.

    These are delicious – looking and ‘tasting’, even if virtually.

  17. I completely gave up on having to get rid of cookbooks and food mags. They’re all staying with me! And new ones keep on appearing, mysteriously…jaja! You can’t get rid of a book that has this type of recipes. Gorgeous Deb! And you know what they say, one great recipe is worth the entire book.

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for the reassurance Paula! I am sure I will be a complete failure at getting rid of any cookbooks! How can I ever decide?

  18. Gretchen says:

    Wow! Another stunning blog post. Your photos really bring pumpkin season to life 🙂

  19. @yumivore says:

    Ah the cookbook conundrum. Sigh. Well Deb, you dished up another wonderful treat for the season, and one for Halloween. Beautiful post, sweet as ever!

  20. You know I have been just as stubborn and clingy! I finally fell head first into fall with 3 pumpkin recipes in the last 4 days but just had to eat fresh raspberries with my leftover pumpkin pancakes this morning – just to remind myself of why I pay so much to live in CA!!!

    Lovely post as usual Deb. And I adore the add of the orange to the caramel!

    • Deb says:

      Thank you Beth! Yes we pay dearly to live in paradise. But it is going to be 75 later this week, nothing less than amazing for November!

  21. These look heavenly. I just adore that caramel cream and cannot wait to try it. Fantastic fall recipe.

  22. shannon says:

    so pretty! and i want that Nigel Slater book so bad it hurts right now. I’m on a little bit of a “do not buy cookbooks” rule right now, because i feel like my shelves are at max capacity and i got so many cookbooks last year that i feel like i haven’t even spent time with. i don’t need more, right? except maybe the Nigel Slater; his books are more like art books you can read like a novel. 🙂
    love these cupcakes; especially the frosting! orange to me is such a seasonal scent, nostalgic in a way, because my mom always had oranges hanging around during the winter. and you did a lovely job frosting them; reminds me that one of the things i DO need soon are pastry bags and tips.

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for the gracious comment Shannon! I have the pastry bags and tips and just need to keep practicing my skills!

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