Recipe | Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes

I love carving pumpkins for Halloween but it always feels like such a waste not to do something with the flesh (I hate that word but I’m not sure what else to call it!) – and even though I’m a big pumpkin pie fan, it’s a bit of a hassle to make one – so I thought I’d do something more straightforward, but equally as tasty, with the leftovers.

Warming and comforting, these spiced pumpkin cupcakes are perfect for baking on a crisp October afternoon. You can’t go wrong with pumpkin and cinnamon – they’re basically autumn in a cupcake. Plus, filled with fruit and spices, they make your kitchen smell so homely when they’re baking in the oven. You could even add nutmeg to make them extra aromatic, a.k.a a pumpkin spiced latte in cake-form.

If you’re not carving the pumpkin afterwards you can simply scoop out the seeds and cut into chunks to grate the flesh. As I wanted to turn mine into a lantern I sliced out sections of the flesh to grate, being careful not to cut through the sides, which was a bit fiddly and time consuming but you might find a more efficient way of doing it! Once you’ve finished dissecting the pumpkin though, they’re really easy to make.

Read on to find the recipe if you want to have a go at baking them yourself this Halloween. You could even make them with grated butternut squash or carrot all year round.


  • 3 large eggs

  • 175g light muscovado sugar

  • 175ml sunflower oil

  • 200g grated pumpkin

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • Zest of 1 orange

  • 100g sultanas

  • 200g self-raising flour

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • 200g cream cheese

  • 85g icing sugar


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a 12-hole muffin/cupcake tray with paper cases.

  2. Beat together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla essence and then add the grated pumpkin, orange zest and sultanas.

  3. Stir in the flour, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda. Don’t worry if the mixture is quite wet, it’s supposed to be!

  4. Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for 25 minutes until they bounce back when you gently press them.

  5. Leave them to cool completely before making the frosting by beating together the icing sugar and cream cheese. Spread the frosting on top and leave plain or decorate them with nuts, sprinkles, sweets, anything you like – I decorated mine with subtle orange and black sprinkles but feel free to go full Halloween!

Let me know in the comments below what you like to make with leftover pumpkin – I’d love to hear your suggestions.