Recipe: Michael Van de Elzen’s Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

These pretty little cupcakes call for lots of grated pumpkin. 

Recipe and words: Michael Van de Elzen

I love these cupcakes and my girls love making them with me in the kitchen. If you’re like us and have grown an abundance of pumpkins but are feeling a bit over roasties, give these a whirl. Pumpkin can seem like an odd choice for sweet baking, but it’s popular in America with dishes such as pumpkin pie.

I like this recipe as it adds a vegetable into a typically high-sugar dish. While this is still a treat food, it is more nutritious than a classic chocolate cake because of the pumpkin, nuts and seeds.

Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
Makes: 16


2 cups raw sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups plain flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
4 free range eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
4 cups grated pumpkin
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup raisins
½ cup pumpkin seeds for decoration
100g coloured sprinkles for decoration

juice of 1 lemon
230g cream cheese, softened
50g butter, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla essence


Preheat oven to 190°C. Lightly grease cupcake moulds or muffin tins. Combine sugar, baking powder, flour, cinnamon and baking soda in a bowl.

Add eggs and oil and mix until just combined. Fold in pumpkin, walnuts and raisins. Divide mix evenly between moulds. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Beat together lemon juice, cream cheese and butter. Add sugar and vanilla essence and beat until smooth.

Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool in tin for 5 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks. Ice when completely cool, and decorate with pumpkin seeds and sprinkles.

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