Brown Butter Pumpkin Creep Cakes


My goal was to accomplish two things this weekend: make something that involved canned pumpkin, and make cupcakes that I could call Creep Cakes. Done and done.  Do you see that mummy towards the back? Yes that’s a mummy.  We are all ready for Halloween at the Braley household.


Why Creep Cakes, you ask? Two reasons: 1) the name makes me giggle, and 2) a ‘creep’ isn’t really defined as anything other than something that’s creepy. So really there are no standards or expectations of what a Creep Cake should look like (i.e., you can get away with sub-par decorating skills).
Onto the recipe…these have to be the best pumpkin cupcakes ever. I modified the recipe from this site, to include applesauce, more spices, and some extra flour. I also used a maple cream cheese frosting rather than the salted caramel.  The browned butter in here provides a wonderfully nutty flavor that complements the pumpkin and spices perfectly.  I think. I don’t really have any formal training that allows me to say that with total authority.

Cupcake Recipe

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Frosting Recipe

  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 325. Brown the butter by melting it in a fry pan over medium-low heat until golden brown. Skim off some of the foam on top, then add to a large mixing bowl. Cream with the sugars, then add in the eggs and vanilla. Beat several minutes. Add the pumpkin and applesauce.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.  Incorporate into the butter mixture.  Fill a muffin tin with liners, then pour in the batter so each one is about 3/4 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Let cool.

To make the frosting, beat all ingredients until smooth. For a thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar.  If you want to turn them into Creep Cakes (and why wouldn’t you),  you can use a variety of candies/decorators to turn them into witches, ghosts, bats, and unidentifiable creatures. I found that I excelled in the unidentifiable creature category.  Colored sprinkles, M&Ms, black licorice, and colored gel pens were my key tools.  Oh and I used the white mystery Airhead for the mummy.  Which, now that I think of it, probably tastes really horrific on a pumpkin cupcake. Oh well, the future eater can remove them.

If Creep Cakes aren’t your style, or perhaps you are serving these somewhere that requires a bit more class, a simple dusting of sugary sprinkles will do the trick.