I had the huge pleasure of two home-made birthday cakes last week, neither made by me, and despite having lots of orders to bake, it inspired me to try something different flavour-wise. 

Because I’m a September baby, I get really excited by this time of year.  I love the subtle shift from fresh, light summer dishes to richer more comforting food and the excitement of Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas.  I love the opportunities to bake interesting, fun things and have noticed in our Internet age, that regional traditional flavours and ingredients have become more universal.  Pumpkin pie is something I think of as quintessentially American, but a few years ago after being given the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book for my birthday, I baked some pumpkin whoopie pies with a delicious marshmallow fluff (another US import) and cream cheese filling.  The recipe uses tinned pumpkin (I posted the recipe last year – find it here) which seems to be seasonal in availability in the UK, with this in mind I must have stocked up as there was a tin lurking at the back of the cupboard and half a jar of marshmallow fluff that was still in date by 3 weeks!  
I’d bought some beautiful little cupcake cases which i really wanted to use, so instead of whoopie pies, I opted for a spiced pumpkin cupcake.  Adding pumpkin puree makes the sponge really moist and reduces the amount of butter you need.  It also gives them a rich, orange colour and they turned out fairly dense so these cardboard cups were perfect for this puddingy cake which is best eaten with a fork. I’m also buying some more of these gorgeous little cups in red or maybe green for some Christmas treats! 

This was an experimental recipe so hasn’t had extensive testing – but all three girls and my chief cake-testing husband really enjoyed them!
Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

Makes 12

For the sponge:
75g unsalted butter, softened
150g soft brown sugar
3 large eggs

150g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp mixed spice
100g pumpkin purée

For the frosting:
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g full-fat cream cheese such as Philadelphia

400g icing sugar

3 tbsp vanilla marshmallow fluff


  • Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees celsius (gas mark 3) and put 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin.
  • Cream together the butter and soft brown sugar in a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer) until fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  • Fold in the flour, mixed spice and pumpkin puree.
  • Divide evenly between the 12 cupcake cases (an ice cream scoop is very useful for this) and bake for 15-20 minutes until the sponge bounces back when pressed lightly. 
  • Remove the cupcakes from the tin straight away and put on a wire rack to cool, this reduces the likelihood of peeling cases.
For the frosting:
  • Beat the butter and icing sugar together (either in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer) until light and fluffy (anything up to 10 minutes).
  • Beat in the cold cream cheese and marshmallow fluff until well combined (don’t over-beat or it will become runny).
When the cupcakes are completely cold, pipe on some frosting and decorate any way you think fit!