Cinnamon Cupcakes with Pumpkin Filling

“Tell me about yourself.”

What a difficult question! It seem so simple. There’s so much to say! I’ve lived for so many years, had so many experiences, but where does one start? Do you want to know about why I wanted to become a doctor? How about the time I puked in the hallway in second grade while everyone was walking for some event and I just kept moving as if it never happened? Do you want to know about my parents? Brother? Grandmother? Pet fish who died a few months ago?

Which self do you want to hear about, is the questions I should reply back.

It’s officially interview season for residency programs all over the country! My first one is tomorrow followed by my second on Wednesday right before my third on Thursday and my fourth on Friday. Yes, that’s right. Four full-day interviews complete with tours of hospitals in four days with an added “Meet the Residents” dinner the night before each and every one of those interviews.

And this is only the beginning?!

I have 13, possibly 14, scheduled interviews with the last on January 5 (for now anyway).

How I’ll keep sane with all the travel is beyond me at the moment. I’m stuck in the present. The present, where I still have these cupcakes to calm me down the second I start hyperventilating about how these interviews will decide the next four years of my life, what city I’ll be in, which hospital I’ll work at.

I’ve been thinking lately that it’s been awhile since I’ve come up with a new cupcake recipe. After much thinking and consideration, this idea came to me in an instant. Funny how things work that way, isn’t it? You spend all this time trying to plan it all out and, in the end, things just fall into place.

These came together perfectly on the first try and they are a taste of hearty fall. The cake itself is a bit dense, almost like a quickbread even. The filling and frosting are not overly sweet but are filled with spicy warmth. The combination is winning and every bit make me feel like I am home and settled into the autumn season.

I urge you to make these as is or leave out the filling and frosting altogether and you have a semblance of a cinnamon muffin on your hands!


Cinnamon Cupcakes with Pumpkin Filling and Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
a STO original

Makes 12 cupcakes.

For cupcakes:

  • 2 c cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 /2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c buttermilk

For filling:

  • 3/4 c pumpkin puree, I used canned
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger

For frosting:

  • 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a cupcake/muffin pan with lining papers.

For cupcakes: In a large bowl, sift cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Using a stand or hand mixer, cream butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until completely incorporated before moving on. Add vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture followed by the buttermilk in 3 and 2 additions respectively, mixing until well combined. Do not overbeat. When mixed, divide evenly among cupcake liners, each about 2/3 to 3/4 filled. Pop in the oven for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Once done, cool on wire racks.

While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the filling and frosting.

For filling: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

For frosting: With a stand or hand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until creamy and smooth. Then add vanilla, ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves and mix just until combined. Taste and adjust flavorings as needed.

To assemble: When the cupcakes are cooled, cut out tiny cones from the top of each one. Cut off the very tip of each cone to give a little more space for filling. Drop about 1 tbsp filling per cupcake. You should have just enough filling. Replace the cone and frost with the cream cheese mixture. For these I put the frosting in a gallon-sized plastic bag, cut off the tip, and piped the frosting on.

PS. Is anyone as excited about seeing the Pioneer Woman and Bobby Flay go at it as I am?


  1. shawnsplate Said:

    These cupcakes look so good its like they’re saying, “stop what you’re doing right now and make me”! I can’t believe that you manage to create such incredible food while attending to your “to do” list of interviews(not to mention all of the hard work it has taken to get you to this stage in medicine). KUDOS!

  2. Those cupcakes look delicious. Pumpkin filling and cream cheese frosting—LOVE!

    Also, can I just say how much I respect you for all those interviews you have to go through? 3 of my cousins finished medical school last year and I had NO IDEA what you M.D.s have to go through AFTER you finish medical school. When my cousins told me that they had to go through like 23 differnt interviews to do ANOTHER 4-5 years of residency, my jaw dropped. I stupidly thought once med school is over, you’re golden.

    So, GOOD LUCK! And I know you’ll get into the program you want to. πŸ™‚

  3. Sues Said:

    Wow! I absolutely LOVE the idea of a pumpkin filling πŸ™‚ SO much better than a simple pumpkin cupcake. Yum!

  4. these look incredibly yummy!

  5. Joanne Said:

    Just letting you know – these totally made my morning. Anything with pumpkin filling and buttercream frosting will do it for me. You are a serious genius. I’ve always hated that question whether it’s on first dates or interviews. I mean, there is so much to say and yet so little, you know? Good luck with everything! I know you’ll rock your interviews and I want to hear ALL about them!

  6. Cinnamon and pumpkin featured in a cupcake sounds delightful. What a great creation!

  7. Love the pumpkin filling! A surprise centre πŸ™‚

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