Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chai Cream Cheese Frosting

These delicious pumpkin cupcakes are sweetened with dates only, which makes them refined sugar-free and extremely moist. Top them with a thick layer of chai cream cheese frosting for a real holiday treat.

prep time

30 minutes

cook time

20 minutes


Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chai Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin cupcakes that are sweetened with dates and made with whole wheat flour. There’s also a vegan and gluten-free option!

cupcake with bite taken

Today, I’m happy to be sharing a delicious holiday treat:  Pumpkin cupcakes with chai cream cheese frosting.

Yes, CHAI cream cheese frosting.

The cupcake itself is not only made with whole wheat flour, but it’s also sweetened with dates. You’ll also find some healthy fats, pumpkin puree and of course, an abundance of pumpkin spice. This results in a moist and delicious high-fiber cupcake with no added sugar.

Top it with a date-sweetened cream cheese frosting. Trust me, it’s such a delicious addition to this cupcake! Cream cheese and pumpkin go perfectly together.

To take it to the next level, I added some chai spices to the frosting. And guys!? It’s the best cupcake I’ve ever had! Sugar-free or not!

stack of cupcakes without frosting
Notes on the Recipe:

If you’re vegan, don’t worry, you can still enjoy these little pumpkin cupcakes! I did try them once without the egg and believe me, they turned out very similar to the original. I simply added 2 additional tablespoons of water to compensate for the loss of moisture from the egg. I know water won’t do the same as an egg in baking, but due to the pumpkin puree and dates, the cupcakes turn out equally moist and delicious. They still raised similarly to the egg-version as well. To make them vegan, you would also have to use vegan cream cheese. Or you could easily omit the frosting and eat them like muffins. I mean, they’re basically muffins with frosting.

As for a gluten-free version, I haven’t tested one yet. However, they’re based off my pumpkin bread recipe, which originally uses buckwheat flour. That being said, feel free to try them with the same amount of buckwheat flour.

These cupcakes would be the perfect addition to any Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

pumpkin cupcake from the side
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chai Cream Cheese Frosting
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5 from 1 vote

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chai Cream Cheese Frosting

These delicious pumpkin cupcakes are sweetened with dates only, which makes them refined sugar-free and extremely moist. Top them with a thick layer of chai cream cheese frosting for a real holiday treat.
Course Dessert
Cuisine vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 9


Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, canned
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup oil of choice (olive, canola, melted coconut or avocado)
  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 large egg (or 2 additional tablespoons of water)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • 1/4 teapsoon nutmeg, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • Pinch ground clove

Chai Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 block (250g) original cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Medjool dates, pitted (or maple syrup to taste)
  • 1/4 cup soft margarine or butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch each of nutmeg, all spice, clove and cardamom


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a muffin pan or use cupcake liners.
  • In a food processor, add all the wet ingredients, except the egg. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Stir in the wet mixture from the food processor and the egg. Stir until combined.
  • Spoon the mixture equally into 9 cupcake liners or muffin tins.
  • Bake for 20 minutes of until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.

For the Frosting

  • In a food processor, add all the frosting ingredients and process until smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Try the frosting and adjust to taste, adding more dates or maple syrup as needed.
  • Using a knife, spread the desired amount of frosting on each cupcake. Alternatively, use a piping bag to add the frosting.


The frosting in the recipe is very lightly sweetened. If you’re use to sweeter recipes, you may need to increase the amount of dates or add maple syrup to taste. Make the frosting, taste it and adjust before adding it to the cupcakes!
To make this recipe vegan, use vegan cream cheese and substitute the egg with 2 additional tablespoons of water.
To make it gluten-free, you can try substituting the flour for equal amounts of buckwheat flour.
Unused frosting can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week in an airtight container.
Keep the decorated cupcakes in the refrigerator. They can also be stored in the freezer.

If you make these pumpkin cupcakes, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you guys. And of course, if you try this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram!

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6 responses to “Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chai Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. Sarah Avatar

    Hey, Caroline! Thanks for the recipe. Is it possible to use coconut flour, almond flour, or any other gluten free flour, or will that ruin the outcome of the cupcakes?

    1. Unsweetened Caroline Avatar

      Hi Sarah, the recipe is based on my pumpkin bread, which is made with buckwheat flour. You can try substituting the whole wheat flour for buckwheat flour if that’s something you use? I haven’t tried them with other gluten-free flours. My guess is that coconut or almond flour would result in a dense cupcake. But it may still be good! Let me know if you try it. Hope this helps. 🙂

  2. Catherine Avatar

    5 stars
    I love this recipe!! I’ve made it a few times, using whole grain spelt flour in replace of whole wheat flour and is was lovely! The cream cheese adds a nice touch! I’ve tried making the icing with dates only and with maple syrup, both worked well. Yum!

    1. Unsweetened Caroline Avatar

      It’s good to know that spelt flour worked, thank you for the feedback!

  3. Karrie Avatar

    5 stars
    I’ve been making these for a couple years and for the first time I added the cream cheese frosting. So good! I’ve added both apple sauce and Greek yogurt to the recipe to add moisture and protein. Love these. And it’s pumpkin spice time again….

    1. Nourished by Caroline Avatar

      Hi Karrie, thank you so much for taking the time to leave your feedback. I’m happy to hear you love them! Enjoy pumpkin season. 🙂

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