Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream

Happy Pumpkin Season, my friends!

These pumpkin cupcakes are deliciously moist and the chai spice gives them the perfect fall flavor!


Chai Spice + Topping

  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Brown Sugar Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar


  1. To make the chai spice, mix cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and black pepper. Divide in half. Mix one half with the 1/3 cup granulated sugar, set the other half aside for the batter.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 16 cupcake wells with paper liners.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, and pumpkin until just combined. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining half of the chai spice. Mix until smooth, but don’t overmix.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among prepared wells. Bake in preheated oven and bake 18-22 minutes until topping is set and no longer wiggly. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  5. To make the frosting, melt together 2 tablespoons of the butter, the cream, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan.
  6. Bring to a boil and cook for one minute or until sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl in the freezer for 15-20 minutes or until cool to the touch.
  7. Grab the cooled mixture from the freezer, add the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter, the vanilla, cinnamon, and the powdered sugar to the bowl. Beat together until well combined and smooth.
  8. Frost each cupcake and sprinkle with chai sugar. Decorate with cinnamon sticks if desired.

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