Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Here's the Dish

My sister is a third grade teacher, and I knew that when I came to visit that I had to bring a Dashing Dish treat with me! I began to brainstorm what kind of treat is a sure to be a hit with kids, and cupcakes came to mind! With only a few simple ingredients, these cupcakes turned out moist and full of pumpkin flavor. I was delighted to see the huge smiles on the kids’ faces as they enjoyed these pumpkin spice cupcakes. Little did they know that this treat has about half the sugar and fat of a traditional frosted cupcake!


The estimated total time to make this recipe is 30-40 minutes.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 (12 cup) muffin tins with cupcake liners. Combine cake mix, pumpkin, and water in a large bowl, and mix until batter is smooth. Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Meanwhile, to make the frosting, combine milk and pudding mix in a medium size bowl. Whisk until pudding mix and milk are well combined, and mixture is smooth. Fold in the cool whip.


To prepare the frosting to pipe on the cupcakes, take a large ziplock back and turn it ‘inside out’. Using a spatula, scoop the frosting into one of the corners of the bag. Then turn bag ‘right side out’, and push frosting all the way down into the corner of the bag. Set frosting bag in the fridge until you are ready to frost the cupcakes.


Once cupcakes are completely cooled, you are ready to begin frosting! Take the frosting bag out of the fridge, snip the corner of the bag off with sharp scissors. To frost the cupcakes, squeeze the frosting out of the bag while making a swirling/upward motion and lift at the peak! Garnish with sprinkles or cinnamon if desired! Serve immediately, or keep in fridge to keep frosting chilled until serving!


1(18.25) box Duncan Hines spice cake mix
1 cupPumpkin
1 cup Water
Whipped Frosting:
1(1 oz) Box instant butterscotch sugar free pudding mix (or vanilla or cheesecake pudding mix)
1(8oz) Container light Cool Whip or Tru Whip
1 cupFat free milk (or milk alternative)

Nutrition Breakdown

24 Cupcakes
121 Calories per Cupcake
2.5 g Fat
23 g Carbohydrate
12 g Sugar
2 g Protein
3 WWP+*

*Weight Watchers Points per serving


Angela Fulton said:

Yum! I actually made these minus the frosting this morning for everyone at work! They were gone in less than thirty mins.

October 20th, 2011 — 1:11pm  |  Reply

Cara said:

These look amazing, and I can’t wait to try them!! I’m just curious though, have you ever tried making the frosting with soy/almond milk instead of regular milk? I tried using almond milk for the dreamcicle ones you had (which were amazing by the way!!), but the frosting came out really soupy and flat. I’m not sure how else to do it? Do you have any suggestions??

Thanks so much!

October 20th, 2011 — 1:34pm  |  Reply

katie @KatieDid said:

ohh I’m sure they loved these, they are really cute! And gorgeous photography!

October 20th, 2011 — 1:58pm  |  Reply

Priyanka said:

Was planning to make pumpkin cake this weekend. Your recipe came in the perfect timing.
Love the stunning photographs.

October 20th, 2011 — 2:30pm  |  Reply

Sarah said:

I vote you do a post of Dashing Dish recipies for college students who only have a microwave and a tiny crock pot… :)

October 20th, 2011 — 2:51pm  |  Reply

Emily said:

MY KIDS LOVVVVED THEM! Thank you so much for bringing 23 smiles to life! Food is the way to their hearts. Love you!!

October 20th, 2011 — 5:34pm  |  Reply

Katrina said:

These sound lovely!

October 20th, 2011 — 6:13pm  |  Reply

Jill Magaldi said:

I absolutely love all of your recipes. I have been doing weight watchers and your recipes are way better than the new points plus cookbook! You should publish a cookbook.

October 21st, 2011 — 8:30am  |  Reply

Tina said:

These look so yummy and an easy recipe to follow…thanks!

October 21st, 2011 — 12:28pm  |  Reply

Shannon @ Healthiful Balance said:

Aw, these are so cute! And they look really yummy! :)

October 21st, 2011 — 1:31pm  |  Reply

Allison said:

Hm, so can these be shipped?! :P

October 22nd, 2011 — 5:00am  |  Reply

Cara said:

I hadn’t tried the pudding/almond milk first. I’ll definitely do that then try the FOLDING. I never knew that. I’m just a direction follower… not someone that makes up what I do as I go. LOL! I must’ve missed that in the directions the first time. Whoops! Thanks for all the tips and great recipes!!! :)

October 22nd, 2011 — 5:49am  |  Reply

Lynn said:

I’m excited to make these tonight with the kiddos. Is there really an 8oz box of pudding? I didn’t see that at the store??? Can you tell I don’t bake much. The boxes I saw were 3.4 oz. Do I use 2?

October 25th, 2011 — 2:35pm  |  Reply

Dawn said:

I made these last night for party and they are sooo good. Love that you put the calorie count on your recipes. I’m a TOPS member and we eat by number. Thanks for the update on the 1 oz box. I re-read that last night but proceeded on and it was all good.

October 26th, 2011 — 5:51am  |  Reply

Lynn said:

I made these delicious cupcakes a few days ago for a friend that moved into a new house. I just received this email from her. Thanks Katie for making me a “pro” and look so good!!! LOL

OK, the cupcakes were very yummy!!! Thank you so much!
Jake came home last night and asked
“where did you get the cupcakes”?
I told him that Lynn brought them over, from the Hagedorns.
Jake: “oh, that was nice, well where did she get them”?
I said, um….she made them!…???
Jake: “oh, she did”?
I had to chuckle. Why, do you think she bought them?
Jake: “Well, ya, how was she able to do the frosting so cool, the way
it’s decorated and all”?
Needless to say, he was very impressed and had 3!!!!

You are just a “pro” at everything you do!!!!

November 9th, 2011 — 9:30pm  |  Reply

Morgan said:

Do you have a recipe for what to use if you can’t use the pre-made Duncan Hines cake mix? I have celiac’s and want to make these but I need to be able to substitute flours out. Does that make sense? Thank you!!

PS, they look SO yummy :)

November 10th, 2011 — 2:52pm  |  Reply

DD Lindsey said:

I am SOOOO glad I found your site! I have “pinned” several of your recipes and I. am. in. love. I made these tonight for my family…big hit. I’ve been told that I’m “not allowed to bring any of that ‘healthy’ crap anymore” to the salon where I work. They want me to go back to the high fat/sugar goodies that I am known for making. I plan to take these to work, and NOT tell them that they’re actually “healthy crap”. Sneaky, I know. You’re officially an accomplice ;)

November 10th, 2011 — 5:09pm  |  Reply

Michelle said:

Hi Katie…wanted to say thank you for such a yummy recipe!! These cupcakes are a hit everytime I make them! i love your website and have shared it with a few friends who have also enjoyed your recipes. Thanks for sharing healthy treats and the gospel. Your blogs truly are an inspiration!

April 11th, 2012 — 4:45pm  |  Reply

Vera Zecevic said:

Great cupcakes with great directions! I adore your blog! Really nice work.

September 8th, 2012 — 2:08am  |  Reply

Traci said:

I’ve been leaving off the frosting and calling them muffins. I’m going to try turning the recipe into a pumpkin spice bread by using a loaf pan. Hopefully it turns out well. Thanks so much for your awesome recipes!

September 8th, 2012 — 10:09am  |  Reply

Roberta said:

Just made your recipe last night and it was DELICIOUS!!! I could’ve probably eaten the batter all by itself lol.

I did have a quick question…my cupcakes broke in half (top and bottom) as people removed the liners. Is this normal? Or did I do something wrong?

Any help is greatly appreciated!!!


September 21st, 2012 — 6:46pm  |  Reply

Dashing Dish said:

Did u wait for them to cool?

September 22nd, 2012 — 6:30am  | 

Kerry said:

Hi Katie!! I’ve been following Dashing Dish for a couple of weeks now, & this was the first recipe I have had tried, they were AMAZING!!! Can’t wait to try the rest of your recipes!! I’m a Weight Watcher so I love that the recipes are weight watcher friendly & that you include the points! Thank you!!

October 24th, 2012 — 9:59pm  |  Reply

Claudia said:

Do you let the cool whip soften a little before folding in or straight out of the freezer? My question also applies to the no bake pumpkin cheesecake you posted last week. Thanks again, love all of your recipes.

November 19th, 2013 — 5:59pm  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

Cara, sure, did you try mixing the milk and pudding FIRST, and then folding in the whipped cream…and i literally mean ‘folding’ it in, so not mixing with a mixer, because then the cool whip deflates! :)

October 20th, 2011 — 2:36pm  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

thanks jill! :) i for sure plan to!

October 21st, 2011 — 10:18am  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

thanks shannon! :) xo

October 21st, 2011 — 3:42pm  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

try that cara and let me know how it turns out for you… i dont see any problem with using almond milk at all! :)

October 23rd, 2011 — 3:40am  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

haha thanks allison! :) your too cute!

October 23rd, 2011 — 3:40am  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

oh i’m so sorry lynn…that was a typo! :) it’s a 1 oz box!

October 25th, 2011 — 3:19pm  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

awesome! so glad to hear you enjoyed them Dawn! :)

October 26th, 2011 — 8:10am  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

yeah! :) awesome lynn! thanks for sharing! xo

November 10th, 2011 — 4:00am  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

sure morgan! they have gluten free cake mixes now…so just find a vanilla gluten free cake mix and add 1 tsp cinnamon! :)

November 10th, 2011 — 4:35pm  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

awesome! i love that! Thanks lindsey!

November 10th, 2011 — 5:50pm  |  Reply

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