Pumpkin Muffins/Cupcakes with Honey Walnut Cream Cheese Frosting

pumpkin cupcake

The cupcake versus muffin debate is as old as time.  Some say that frosting draws the line; cupcakes are frosted, muffins are not.  Others say it’s about the ratio of fat to flour. Still other folks claim it’s about using oil or melted butter (muffins) versus creamed sugar and butter (cupcakes).  I like this last one, I think, because fluffy creamed butter and sugar result in a more airy pastry. Which is why I’m having a hard time deciding if these pumpkin cuties are muffins or cupcakes. The frosting and soft crumb would indicate cupcakeness.  But the frosting could easily be served alongside as a spread, and the butter here is melted and moderate in amount, so I’m thinking it’s really more of a muffin.

In reality, it doesn’t matter.  They are delicious.  Whatever we call them, they are filled with fall flavor and pumpkin goodness, and I have no qualms about eating them any time of day.  They would be great for Halloween – for breakfast or dessert!

muffin with honey walnut cream cheese

While these Muffins/Cupcakes are lovely on their own, I think it’s the cream cheese icing that really makes them spectacular.  My mother-in-law and I share an obsesion for honey walnut cream cheese.  She came over for breakfast last week and I bought bagels and honey walnut cream cheese from our local bagel shop.  And then I ate up the rest of that cream cheese on graham crackers as a fabulous evening snack through the rest of the week.  And when I finished that tub of cream cheese, it occurred to me that I could easily make my own.  Just whip some cream cheese, a bit of honey, and a few toasted walnuts together and that’s it!  It’s fantastic on toast, on a banana, on waffles, and, of course, on pumpkin Muffins/Cupcakes.

pumpkin muffin with cream cheese

Pumpkin Muffins/Cupcakes With Honey Walnut Cream Cheese Frosting

makes 24

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup applesauce

1/2 cup melted butter, cooled

4 eggs, beaten

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree

16 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 12-cup muffin tins. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate bowl, wisk together the sugars, applesauce, butter, eggs, and pumpkin.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Divide the batter among the muffin tins and bake 20-25 minutes until set.  Cool.

While the muffins/cupcakes cool, make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add in the honey to combine, and then the nuts.

Frost the cupcakes (or serve alongside the muffins!) and enjoy.

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Published in: on October 28, 2011 at 6:25 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. they look really good! I love cream cheese forsting 🙂

  2. Beautiful cupcakes!

  3. These look and sound absolutely divine judging by the ingredients; I am intrigued by the addition of applesauce; I guess this is to give added moistness?

  4. These look perfectly delicious! I love the addition of the honey and nuts in the creamed cheese. I would eat spread it on my muffins too 🙂

  5. Yum, Yum, Yum. I still have plenty of pumpkin and definitely want to give these a try!

  6. Dear Katie – The flavors are too darm good to truly care if these are cupcakes or muffins. Let’s just call them muffcakes be done know?..he…he

    I love that you added apple sauce in them which is very interesting with the pumpkin in it.

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  7. Oh.. I love thoser muffins. They look great! I bet the flavor was out of this world. Great job.

  8. I love muffins and I totally believe the best muffins taste like cupcakes, minus the icing! But I would 100% eat a cupcake for breakfast, a muffin for dessert and put icing on a muffin! Someone should come up with a muffin-cupcake hybrid word that we could use. Like cuffin or mupcake lol

    Great cupin idea by the way 😉

  9. […] of pumpkin.  Layered in a yogurt parfait, swirled into oatmeal, stuffed in ravioli, or baked in a cupcake, you really can’t go wrong with canned pumpkin. The slightly sweet earthy pumpkin works […]


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