EF Family Cookbook: Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes w/ Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Everlasting Footprint Family Treasures Cookbook Recipes

For the second treasured recipe for our Everlasting Footprint Family Cookbook, Archana Pinnapureddy shares a fun fall treat.

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A few years ago, I decided I no longer wanted to be an investment banker. I was always a good cook, but never really baked from scratch, so I took a week-long course on baking and decorating at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). For so long, I was someone who, when she needed or wanted to bake, would turn to boxed cake mix and store-bought frosting. After the ICE course, I realized how much better baking is from scratch. In addition, with the right decorating tools, it’s easy to make some memorable cakes and cupcakes.

Last year, I stumbled on a delicious fall cake recipe – Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting – on Made in Melissa’s Kitchen. The name sounded daunting, but I thought I would give it a try. I tweaked Melissa’s original recipe slightly, and it’s definitely become one of my go-to fall baking recipes, especially for Halloween and Thanksgiving. In honor of Everlasting Footprint’s First Dia De Los Muertos Meet-Up, I baked cupcakes with piped buttercream skulls to fit the evening’s theme.

Treasured Family Recipe: Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes - decorated for Dia de los Muertos

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (can be substituted with 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon)
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (keep at room temperature)
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten (keep at room temperature)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree


  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.
  2. Using a Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer with the paddle attachment, or a standard hand mixer, combine both sugars and butter. Then add the eggs and beat on a medium speed until the ingredients are well combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients, and mix on low until smooth.
  3. Add the pumpkin puree and continue to mix. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and line your cupcake pans with cupcake liners. Then using an ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners with batter.
  4. I like to put one cupcake pan in the oven right away, then while those are baking, I start lining and filling the second pan. Bake 18-20 minutes. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, they are ready.
  5. Cool hot cupcakes on a wire rack. Makes approximately 24.

  Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 stick salted butter
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Frosting Instructions:

  1. In a small saucepan, mix the granulated sugar and water, and bring it to a boil over medium heat. While this cooks, measure the heavy cream and vanilla. After approximately 10 minutes, the sugar and water mixture will turn a deep amber color. Immediately add the heavy cream and vanilla, and stir until combined. Carefully watch the color of the sugar and water mixture. It burns quickly – so never take your eyes off it.
  2. Allow the caramel to cool for approximately 20 minutes before adding the buttercream. I highly recommend making the caramel from scratch instead of using store-bought sauce.
  3. In the mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and salt until they are light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low, and add powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Scrape down the side of the bowl, and add the caramel. Beat on medium for approximately 2 minutes, until buttercream is light, airy, and completely mixed. If the buttercream is too runny or soft, you can place it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, and then frost the cupcakes.

Archana Pinnapureddy family cookbook recipe: Spiced Pumpkin Cupcake

If you decorate these cupcakes, my family cookbook recommends frosting to cover the cupcake, but using a traditional buttercream to pipe fine details. I can tell you that coarse sea salt can get stuck inside fine icing decorator tips, so be careful while decorating.

The Everlasting Footprint Storybook is the perfect place to share, collect, and collaborate on family recipes. Create a Footprint for a loved cook in your family, and begin to celebrate your family’s heritage together.

Archana Pinnapureddy is an Advisor for Everlasting Footprint.

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As we approach the holiday season, we’re running our Everlasting Footprint Family Treasures Cookbook Series that creates an EF family cookbook from our staff members’ family recipes, handed down through generations. Check back frequently to get inspired by home-cooked holiday recipes, peppered with family stories & memories. 

About Archana Pinnapureddy

Ms. Pinnapureddy is an Advisor for Everlasting Footprint, with over 10 years of experience in the financial services industry, as well as 3 years of technology start-up experience. She was an Investment Banking Vice President, and an Investment Banking Analyst. She is co-founder and COO of Electify, an online education platform. Ms. Pinnapureddy received her BA in Economics from Columbia University. She currently lives in New York City.


  1. zzhzhou@gmail.com'

    Go Archana! It looks delicious! We all know you are an amazing cook!

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