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Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

These Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes are a delicious flavor battle between two classic flavors----pumpkin + chai. Together, however, they are even more PERFECT! Made with a soft, fluffy, + moist vegan base, these cupcakes are filled with bold pumpkin flavor and warm spices in every bite. Paired with a fluffy chai buttercream, these cupcake are the epitome of comfort during the cooler months ahead. Completely oil-free. Gluten-Free option available.
Course Dessert
Keyword baked, chai tea, cinnamon, classic, cupcakes, dairy-free, dessert, easy, fall recipe, fluffy, gluten-free, healthy, homemade, indulge, plant-based, pumpkin, pumpkin spice, recipe, soft, spices, sweet, traditional, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes
Author Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea


Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups Super fine cake flour (I use Bob's Red Mill; See Notes!)
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (For Homemade, See Notes!)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (NOT Pie filling!)
  • 3 Tbsps Agave (See Notes!)
  • 1/2 cup Almond milk + 1 Tbsp! (You can use your fave plant-based milk)
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsps melted vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Chai Buttercream: 

  • 4-5 cups organic powered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temp. (That's 2 stick!; I use Land O'Lakes)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp chai spice mix (See Notes!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbsps organic Heavy cream (I use Organic Valley)


For Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prep your cupcake pan with liners + spray.
  • In a measuring cup, add the Almond Milk and Apple Cider Vinegar, mixing until well combined and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and sea salt. Set aside.
  • Add the Milk-ACV mixture, vegan butter, pumpkin puree, Agave, and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, mixing until everything is well combined (and smooth) and no lumps are visible. DO NOT OVER-MIX!
  • Scoop the batter into each cupcake liner (3/4 full) and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for the FIRST 5 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking for another 14-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center.
  • Once done, turn off oven and keep cupcakes inside with the oven door slightly open for about 2 minutes before taking them out.
  • Let them cool COMPLETELY before frosting.

For Chai Buttercream: 

  • In a large bowl, add the powdered sugar and unsalted butter together, beating until it looks ‘peas-like’. Beat in the salt, chai mix, vanilla, and heavy cream until buttercream is creamy and fluffy.
  • **NOTE: If buttercream is too ‘runny’, add additional powdered sugar (1 Tbsps at a time); if too thick, add additional heavy cream (1 Tbsp at a time).**
  • Add buttercream to a piping bag and pie onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with additional chai spice mix, if desired. 
  • Bon Appetit!


  • GLUTEN-FREE VERSION: To make these cupcakes GF, I recommend using a GF Flour Blend (Bob’s Red Mills has a great version!). **NOTE: If the cupcake mixture is too ‘thin + runny’, simply add additional GF flour, 1/4 cup at a time.**
  • SWEETENER: If you choose to opt out of Agave, you can always substitute with maple syrup or pure can sugar as well.
  • PLANT-BASED BUTTERMILK: Add 1 cup of Almond milk (or your fave plant-based milk) + 1 Tbsp lemon juice (instead of ACV) and let sit for 10 minutes, until it slightly thickens.
  • MAKE AHEAD:You can always bake these cupcakes the night or day before and let them cool, tightly wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. The buttercream frosting can also be made prior and tightly wrapped and stored in the fridge as well. When ready to serve, let cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, frost, and enjoy!
  • VEGAN BUTTERCREAM: To make this buttercream vegan, simply use 1/4 cup organic vegetable shortening + 1/4 cup vegan butter (at room temp.) instead of unsalted butter. Reduce powdered sugar to 2 1/2- 3 cups. Follow remaining steps.
  • STORAGE: Best kept if stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days (unfrosted) and 3-4 days when frosted. Also, can be frozen for up to 6 months when unfrosted and thawed.
  • PUMPKIN SPICE BLEND:Mix together 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ground ginger, + 1/4 tsp ground cloves. 
  • CHAI SPICE MIX: 2 Tbsps cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp allspice, 1 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp ground cloves