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Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Frosting…autumn in a sweet cupcake, and so good. Extra pumpkiny, chai-spiced pumpkin cake cupcakes made with warming spices and brown sugar. Each cake is generously frosted with the most delicious creamy cinnamon brown sugar frosting, and finished off with a sprinkling of chai sugar. Sooo much to love here! You can’t beat these cute little latte cupcakes.

side angled photo of Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Frosting

I’ve been waiting to share these cupcakes for weeks…and weeks. Originally, I was going to share a version of this cupcake back in September. The first version didn’t include any pumpkin. But then, me being me, I began to play with the addition of potential ingredients in my head. I started to wonder about adding pumpkin to my chai cupcakes. Once the idea of a pumpkin chai latte cupcake was in my head, there was no going back.

It sounded way too good and way too perfect for fall. I had to make these cupcakes.

But not in September, because we all know how I feel…apples in September, pumpkin in October and November. So, here we are today in mid-October. We have a couple of weeks left before Halloween and about a month and a half before Thanksgiving. It’s the heart of fall and the perfect time for the sweetest little chai pumpkin latte cupcakes. Or at least that’s my thought, I hope you guys are all on the same page!

And really, it’s Friday (whoop, whoop). Fridays need something sweet, and today that something is going to be these cupcakes. I couldn’t love them more. If you could see me, I am smiling ear to ear. Something about these cupcakes, they’re just fun and make ya feel good…cheesy, but true.

overhead photo of Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Latte Cupcake batter before baking

To make these Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes…

You need pumpkin, vanilla, and a good amount of warming autumn spices. Plus butter…lots of butter.

For the cupcakes, I knew I really wanted the pumpkin flavor to shine. To achieve this, I used a whole lot of pumpkin, and a whole lot of chai spice. The chai spice highlights the sweet flavor of the pumpkin, while also adding that extra special touch that makes these little pumpkin cakes better than any other. And if you’re curious about the inspiration to mix pumpkin with chai? Well, of course…Starbucks.

We all love their pumpkin spice latte and we all also love their chai latte. Combine the two and you get the very best of both.

overhead photo of brown sugar mixture before making the frosting

Before you start the cupcake batter, make the chai spice mix. It’s a blend of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, all-spice, cloves, and the tiniest bit of black pepper. You’ll be using half of the spice mix in the cupcake batter and the other half is mixed in with the sugar to make a chai sugar. The chai sugar is used for topping each cupcake.

Now, make the batter, it comes together in no time. This is a one-bowl kind of cupcake batter. Once poured into molds just bake and wait patiently. The smells coming from the oven will have you so excited. It’s like Thanksgiving, with cozy scents of pumpkin mixed with hints of sweet sugar wafting throughout your kitchen.

Each cupcake is incredibly moist, so soft, and perfectly sweetened. The secret is truly in all that pumpkin. It makes for the best sweets.

Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes before frosting

On to the frosting…

This frosting is everything and has to be one of my favorites. I drew inspiration from a few of my older recipes, but especially from these sweet brown sugar cookies and also these butter pecan frosted fudge brownies.

There are two simple secrets to this frosting.

One, use a mix of brown sugar and powdered sugar. Powdered sugar adds practically zero flavor. The brown sugar adds hints of warm molasses and really deepens the flavor to create a frosting that’s perfectly rich and sweet.

side angled photo Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Frosting

The second secret, vanilla and cinnamon swirled throughout. SO GOOD. Think creamy, buttery, and hinted with brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Honestly? It’s addicting, and you should slather on more than you think your cupcakes will actually need. Because people always want more.

It’s the perfect pairing with the warming chai spices.

side agnled photo of Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Frosting

Now, frost, decorate…and eat.

I didn’t do anything fancy here. I simply dolloped a generous swirl of the brown sugar frosting, then sprinkled with that sweet chai sugar. Finish off each cupcake with a cinnamon stick (my favorite fall decoration has got to be cinnamon sticks) to mimic our favorite fall beverage…that pumpkin spice latte.

And that’s it. Honestly, these are really pretty simple to put together. The frosting is a little annoying because you do need to melt the brown sugar on the stove, then let it cool before using, but it’s all still very easy.

And so very good. Each bite is filled with sweet pumpkin and light, fluffy frosting. Best kind of autumn weekend cupcake.

side angled photo of Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Frosting with bite taken out of cupcake

I know it’s hard to believe, but Halloween is two weeks from Saturday and Thanksgiving is only getting that much closer. I’m thinking ahead and already planning to include these on my Thanksgiving menu.

My recommendation? Bake these cupcakes this weekend, then again on Halloween. Then one more time in November. Yes, these cupcakes will be perfect for Thanksgiving too! Fall is always such a short season, live it up while it’s here and enjoy every sweet minute of it…preferably with a cupcake in hand!

Looking for other chai and or pumpkin sweets? Here are a few ideas: 

Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Butter Bread

Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Pumpkin Pie

Chai Spiced Maple Sugar Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting

Vanilla Chai Old Fashioned

Lastly, if you make these Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Frosting be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Frosting

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings: 16 cupcakes
Calories Per Serving: 300 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.


Chai Spice

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

Brown Sugar Frosting


  • 1. To make the chai spice. In a shallow bowl, combine the cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, all-spice, cloves, and pepper. Divide the mix in half. Mix one half of the spice blend with the granulated sugar and set aside for topping the cupcakes. Reserve the remaining chai spice blend for the cupcake batter.
    2. To make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 16 cupcake molds with paper liners.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand-held mixer) beat together the coconut oil, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, and pumpkin until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and remaining chai spice. Mix until smooth and no lumps remain in the batter.
    4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pan. Transfer to the oven and bake 18-22 minutes, until the tops are just set, and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool.
    5. To make the frosting, melt together 2 tablespoons butter, the cream, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for one minute or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl in the freezer (or fridge for longer) for 15-20 minutes or until cool to touch.
    6. Grab the cooled butter mixture from the freezer and add the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter, the vanilla, and the powdered sugar to the bowl. Beat together until well combined. 
    7. Frost each cupcake and sprinkle with chai sugar. Add cinnamon sticks, if desired.
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  1. 5 stars
    As with many of your recipes I have tried, these cupcakes are delicious! I made them for Thanksgiving and they’ve been requested repeatedly since:) Also, your chocolate salted caramel cake has become my son’s traditional birthday cake – so good.

    1. Hey Erin,
      Happy Holidays!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed and appreciate you giving it a try! 🎄❄️

    1. Hey Kathie,
      Awesome!! Thanks a lot for making this recipe, I am so glad it turned out well for you! Have a great weekend!🎄⛄️

  2. Hi! I have two questions about the frosting. First of all, it sounds lovely and delicious, but how pipeable is it if I were to do a small swirl or rosette. Or do you think a simple dollop is easier and will hold its shape better?
    Second, how well does the frosting hold up in room temp, will it melt?

    1. Hey Sarah,
      You can design the frosting however you like:) As long as your kitchen isn’t warm, these are fine to keep at room temp:) I hope you love the recipe! xx

    1. Hi Tiffany,
      You can easily use oil for the cupcakes, but for the frosting you will want to stick with butter:) I hope you love this recipe! xx

  3. Love these cupcakes and make them all the time! I saw in the ingredients list for
    The frosting that is calls for 1/4 tsp of cinnamon but don’t see in the frosting instructions where to use? I haven’t added so I think it’s fine without, just curious.

    1. Hi Desiree,
      You can add the cinnamon in step 5:) I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xx

  4. Would you recommend browning the butter for a slightly nutty frosting? I love browned butter. Or keep as is because this would be too many flavors? Thank you.

    1. Hey Tanya,
      Totally, up to you:) I don’t think it needs to be browned but you won’t ruin it if you do! I hope you love the recipe! Happy Thanksgiving! xx

        1. Hey Tanya,
          Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks for giving it a try! Have a great weekend:)

  5. Hi!

    I am making these today, I have a quick question. If I want to substitute the melted coconut oil for melted butter – should I use salted or unsalted? Thanks!

    1. Hi Marlene,
      I like to use salted butter. Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xT