Pumpkin spice cupcakes: a vanilla mix gets a fall makeover

I truly love being a make-it-from-scratch baker. I love sifting, stirring, measuring, tasting, blending, and tasting some more. There are days, though, when a speedy mix can be my best friend.

Even better, a mix can be your springboard, your jumping-off point for experimentation. Why not? The basics are already done, your flour and leaveners are all in proportion so you can jazz up the flavors and work in some add-ins knowing you have a good solid base.

Here on the baker’s hotline we often get calls from customers who have a certain mix, but would like to play with it a bit. Think of it as a new twist on an old favorite. Let’s pick one of our popular mixes and give it a go, shall we?


Vanilla bean pound cake mix has been a hit since we introduced it. It’s a great base for so many toppings, but today we’re going to play with the spices a bit and make Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes.

Start by placing the mix in a large mixing bowl.


8 tablespoons very soft butter
1/3 cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


Stir together until the mixture is smooth. See those small little lumps? That’s what I get for rushing, and not letting my butter really get soft. Be the better baker, and take the time.


To that batter add 3 large eggs and 1/4 cup milk. These are the original liquids called for in the mix. The pumpkin will also add moisture, which helps these cupcakes rise up a little bit higher. They’ll still be more of a pound cake texture than a fluffy white cake texture, but to me that’s part of the charm of these treats.


Divide the batter among 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the center tests clean with a toothpick. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and immediately turn them out onto a rack to cool completely.

Top with your favorite icing and grate a little fresh nutmeg over the top. We found that the fresh nutmeg is a lovely touch and very, very good.


I couldn’t resist adding a few fondant mushrooms to the tops of some of these cupcakes. After all, I’m a fun-guy! (I know, I know, but fun-gal just doesn’t make as good a joke!)

Please make, rate, and review our recipe for Pumpkin & Spice Cupcakes.

Print just the recipe.

Share your jazzed up mix recipes in the comments below.

MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour’s baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. waikikirie

    MJ you are a “fun-guy” teehee. This is one of the reasons I check the blog daily. I can get great recipes, tips, techniques and of course a giggle or two. I so love reading your blogs. They usually give me a lift….xoxoxox

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Awww, thanks so much! Lately I’ve been feeling like a frayed knot, so this made my day! XXOO right back at ya! ~ MJ

  2. horsydressage

    I love your blogs. They are so helpful, and I feel as though you are right in my kitchen helping me bake! These cupcakes are so easy and very yummy. Making a batch for my son’s teachers’ luncheon. They will be a hit for sure! Thanks for your wonderful descriptions and fun blog.

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      I think that would work out just fine, although I have not tried it specifically. ~ MJ

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