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Impossible Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite autumn treats and I make it often once the weather starts to get cool, but I also like to try and find new twists to put on it to keep it interesting. Pumpkin pie bars and chocolate pumpkin pie are some of my favorite variations. This year, I set out to put pumpkin pie in a cupcake form, something that could easily be eaten by hand but still had that custardy feel of a real pumpkin pie. Plus, it’s always nice to have another cupcake recipe around.

This cupcake recipe is based on an impossible pie recipe. Impossible pie is a concept that is a popular “back of the box” recipe for baking mixes, like bisquick. These “pies” have a little bit of flour in their mix that turns into a firm, crust-like outer layer around the filling in just the same way as this crustless quiche recipe. I incorporated enough flour and leavening into the cupcake batter that a firmer shell forms around the more custardy pumpkin pie center, make these easy to eat and handle, but delivering that familiar pumpkin pie texture and flavor.

The cupcakes will fall as they cool because of their slightly dense pumpkin pie center, so don’t worry as you seem the start to deflate after you take them out of the oven. I prefer these chilled, just as I like my pumpkin pies. As soon as they’re at room temperature, pop them into the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Serve these topped with some whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Granted, the real pie is a little bit more custardy and I do like the crispness of a good crust on a pie, but you can’t beat the ease of being able to take a portion of pumpkin pie wherever you go. If you have silicone cupcake liners, you’ll be able to pop the mini pies out easily, but they can also be served with regular paper liners (easier to handle).

Update: I’ve posted a video of this recipe, so you can see every step of the process!

Pumpkin Pie Cupcake, center shot

Impossible Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup half and half (or evaporated milk)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice
In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and half and half until well combined. Add in dry ingredients and whisk until no streaks of flour remain and batter is smooth.
Fill each muffin cup with approximately 1/3 cup of batter.
Bake for 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan. They will sink as they cool.
Chill cupcakes before serving. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Makes 12

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  • A cupcake with the flavor AND texture of pumpkin pie! You’re awesome!

  • sara
    October 14, 2009

    Ooooh, these look amazing! YUM. 🙂

  • CaSaundra
    October 14, 2009

    Yum! Perfectly portioned pumpkin goodness 🙂

  • Kelsey/TheNaptimeChef
    October 14, 2009

    I LOVE these. I made my pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting last week and they remind me of these cupcakes. I’m with you, I adore pumpkin!

  • Denise
    October 15, 2009

    What a great idea. I will definately be making these, as I am having “Thanksgiving at my house this year. YUM!!!

  • Eve
    October 15, 2009

    These look perfect! I’m one of the freaks that love pumpkin pie but don’t love the crust. Or really any pie crust. It just doesn’t do it for me.

  • Teresa
    October 15, 2009

    Yum! Can’t wait to make these – if you’ve got the eggs, can of pumpkin and canned milk you can have pumpkin “pie” anytime of the year!

  • Donalyn
    October 15, 2009

    Great idea – I will be giving them a try soon. 🙂

  • just jane
    October 15, 2009

    Oh. My. God. I think I love you. Pumpkin pie is my favorite and you put it in a handy form! I’m making this tomorrow.

  • Kel
    October 15, 2009

    I just made them, though substituting honey for the sugars and adding a little flour to compensate. The flavor was good, although there wasn’t much crust! So I wouldn’t suggest using honey; it would work better with granulated honey or the sugars.
    Good flavor though, and they did handle well!

  • Andi
    October 16, 2009

    Hmmm. Comfort dessert. I can’t wait to try these. I love pumpkin too. Thank you for sharing.

  • Ashley
    October 17, 2009

    I’ve never heard of the impossible pie idea. Very interesting! These look awesome.

  • Lauren
    October 18, 2009

    So I made these last night, and I guess I must have been tired because I FORGOT to put in the half and half!!! OOPS! But guess what? They are STILL delicious and pumpkin pie like!!!! Next time I will have to try the full thing, but these are delish!

  • Ashley
    October 18, 2009

    I made them! They’re very good, but are defineltly not as large as yours and kinda like baked pudding. Oh, and no crust that you spoke of 🙁
    Oh well, still very yummy, and a desert I will probably make often this fall.

  • Nicole
    October 18, 2009

    I just made these– they were not as nice looking as yours, but the flavor was pretty good. The outside wasn’t as crusty as I’d wish it would be– maybe next time I’ll bake at a higher temp or a bit longer?

    Phenomenal idea though :))

  • Katie
    October 19, 2009

    Wow they look fab and what a great idea!

  • Shirley
    October 19, 2009

    I made these for a fellowship at church last night and they were a hit (there were NONE left)! I loved the taste, but I need to play with the bake time, as the consistency needs some tweaking. So glad I found your blog!

  • Dawn C.
    October 19, 2009

    I made these, too. They are just like little individual pumpkin pies! I didn’t get the impression that there would be an actual “crust” like some people are thinking; just a firmer outer layer so you can handle it and pick it up like a cupcake. That’s how mine turned out. I doubled the recipe and they were nice sized, didn’t sink too much are are delicious!!

  • Lina
    October 20, 2009

    Really tasty, just like pumpkin pie without the hard work of having to bite through the crust! Mine did turn out a little mushier than yours and stuck to the cupcake wrappers too much so I too will try adjusting temp or baking time the next time I make them.

  • Rachel
    October 21, 2009

    Does anyone have any opinions on whether these will freeze well? Thanks!

  • Cindy
    October 21, 2009

    Can you make this using the “pre-made” pumpkin puree from Libby’s, where you just have to add evaporated milk and eggs? So, would there still be ingrediants I’d need specific to having these set correctly?

    My son’s favorite is pumpkin pie so this is how he’d like to celebrate at school with cupcakes for his 7th birthday!

  • CakeSpy
    October 21, 2009

    I love this idea so much! I am going to give it a try because the texture sounds like it incorporates the best of both worlds. Thank you for another awesome idea! 🙂

  • Nicole
    October 21, 2009

    Cindy – This actually does call for a can of pumpkin puree and you certainly can use evaporated milk. If you’re asking whether you need the other ingredients listed for the little pies to hold together like cupcakes (as opposed to much wetter/softer pie filling), I would say yes. I hope your son likes them!

  • Cindy
    October 22, 2009

    let me clarify myself, Libby’s now makes a can of pre-made puree, like it all ready has the pumpkin pie spice & sugar in it, you JUST add e. milk & eggs – it tastes like pie right out of the can! So what I didn’t know is if the flour, powder & soda had another purpose beyond just taste in the cupcakes.

  • Nicole
    October 22, 2009

    Cindy – Ah, that is their “Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix,” which is not the same as their pumpkin puree (which is just plain pumpkin). I would stick with the plain puree for this recipe and use that if you’re just going to bake a regular pie.

  • Streyeder
    October 22, 2009

    Well, I took it a bit further. Yes, leave it to the engineer to go crazy and put a crust on it. I used a basic pie crust recipe and made these babies into mini pumpkin pies. http://www.flickr.com/photos/streyeder/4035923185/ I’ve found the best way to make the crust fit properly is a combination of a circle cookie cutter and pizza wheel to make the sides. A little bit of finger action later and you’ve got a pie crust! I also leave’m in an extra 5min for good measure. Just thought I’d share!

  • Michelle
    October 23, 2009

    Would regular milk work for this? Thanks!

  • Jen
    October 24, 2009

    These are fantastic! We are big pumpkin pie fans at our house. The first day, after chilling for a couple of hours, the muffins stuck to the liners, which was still okay, but the next day they had firmed up much better and didn’t stick anymore. Next time I make them (which will be soon!) I’ll make them the day before we plan to eat them. If I can wait that long. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Jen
    October 25, 2009

    I tried these out, substituting with some sugar substitute and they were fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kristin
    October 26, 2009

    These were yumtastic! Having missed out on my pumpkin pie quotient this year, these filled the gap perfectly! Thank you for the great recipe!

  • Deirdre
    October 27, 2009

    These were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!

    My boyfriend and I couldn’t stop eating these… I’ve made 3 batches since last week (thankfully, though, the second/third batches were brought into work where everyone DEVOURED them).

    Pumpkin season is my favorite… I’m certainly going to make these for my family over Thanksgiving!

    Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  • Teresa
    November 1, 2009

    Just took these out of the oven this morning. They are really good and DO taste just like pumpkin pie w/o the crust. I used a small can of evaporated milk with just enough plain milk (2%) to bring the amount up to 3/4 cup. They are pretty soft in the middle, so I just stuck them back in the oven for another 10 minutes of baking.
    I used the silicon liners for very easy removal.

    In my oven these needed another 12-15 minutes of baking. Very good flavor and nice small size – look mom! no crust!

  • Claudia
    November 4, 2009

    I followed the recipe exactly, and they turned out better than i could have ever imagined, just like every other baking bites recipe i try! 🙂

  • Jen
    November 12, 2009

    I made these and they were DELICIOUS!!! They tasted great right when I took them out of the oven (I couldn’t help myself, they smelled soooo goood), but they tasted even better when I let them cool. Everyone that has tried these has loved them!!! GREAT RECIPE!

  • kat
    December 3, 2009

    Just joined Weight Watchers a couple of weeks ago and was looking for something fairly guiltless that I could enjoy at the TWO Thanksgiving dinners I was invited to (2 different days). I couldn’t find my old cupcake pan, so I made 36 mini cupcakes with the pans on hand, no cupcake papers, just some cooking spray and app. 12 minutes in the oven. Three of these babies are 2 points (I used fat-free half and half) and are so satisfying! People gobbled them up and looked for more. Definitely a keeper for anytime — they are quick and easy to put together.

  • Illusione Cigars
    March 5, 2010

    Ahh! This looks amazing! I won’t even wait until Thanksgiving to make these, because I’d eat pumpkin pie year round. I wish I had the stuff to make them tonight… YUM!

  • jdmf20b
    March 23, 2010

    I’m defiantly saving this. These look good. I have to try them,

  • Lauri
    June 4, 2010

    These are the best cupcakes I’ve EVER had!

  • jessica
    September 25, 2010

    Oh my goodness, these were so yummy and it satisfied my craving

  • Jasmine
    September 27, 2010

    Will these stand up if I mail them to my honey? I was thinking about baking them this weekend and sending them off 2-day. Thanks!

  • Nicole
    September 27, 2010

    Jasmine – If you overnighted them in a cooler with ice packs, I think it would work just fine. They definitely need to be kept cook if you’re going to try to ship them. I wouldn’t bet on any other shipping method for these.

  • So cute… Love pumpkin and pie and cupcakes- this looks like a must make!

    October 1, 2010

    I just loved these muffins, but I was only able to make 6 since im the only pumpkin lover in my home. Can I freeze the rest of the batter?

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