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In my house, Thanksgiving isn’t just about the turkey – it’s also about the football. I slave away in the kitchen for about 12 straight hours while the boys hang out in the living room watching the “Big Game”.

Someone please tell me – why do men feel the need to dub every football game as “the big one”? Do they think we’ll complain less and feed them more?

Although I definitely won’t lessen my polite inquiries for help (Brian calls this nagging, but he is WRONG), I am willing to offer up some munchies to tide them over until the Thanksgiving feast. In Brian’s mind, football equals some quality time with great snacks and good beer. So, I thought I’d combine both of those into delicious Thanksgiving-inspired Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes.

If you have never baked cupcakes with beer, you definitely need to change that. Beer adds a subtle nuance that only enhances the flavor and texture of a basic chocolate cake. Although there is quite a bit of beer in this recipe, the result is not overly pumpkin-y or beer-y – it’s simply a well balanced and incredibly moist, spiced chocolate cake.

Whether you’re gathering over a turkey or a television, these Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes are sure to make a delightful addition to your holiday spread.

I am incredibly thankful for each and every one you that continue to support My Baking Addiction. Your friendship and the fun you bring to MBA lift me up every day and make me thankful to have started the site.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving full of family, friends, football and of course – food.

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Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes

By: Jamie
No ratings yet
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 24 cupcakes


For the Cupcakes

  • 1 12-ounce bottle Pumpkin Ale
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

For the Buttercream

  • 2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tablespoons pumpkin ale


For the Cucakes

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  • 2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer combine the pumpkin ale, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add in sour cream, mix until fully incorporated.
  • 3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice and baking soda.
  • 4. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined (batter will be thin).
  • 5. Evenly divide batter amongst the prepared muffin wells.
  • 6. Bake 25 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Remove pan to wire rack. Cool completely before turning out of the tins.

For the Buttercream

  • 1. Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  • 2. Slowly begin adding the confectioners' sugar, mixing well after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, add in the pumpkin ale and mix until light and fluffy. Beat on high speed for about two minutes. If frosting is too thick, gradually add in a little more pumpkin ale (1 teaspoon at a time) until you reach the desired consistency. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes. If desired, garnish with festive sprinkles.


- Store cupcakes in refrigerator, remove to room temperature one hour before serving.
- Brown cupcake liners are from Confectionery House.
- Leaf Sprinkles are distributed by Wilton.

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  1. Kenda says:

    These were a huge hit at a Halloween themed dinner party last year! So moist and flavorful! I paired them with a tasting of a delicious bourbon barrel aged pumpkin beer for our dessert course. I’ve been requested to make them again at this year’s gathering! Wish I could post a photo! I added more icing and used some Halloween themed toppers made of sugar (little ghosts holding candy corn).

    1. Jamie says:

      You can send me a photo, Kenda! – so happy to hear you enjoyed them!

  2. Rhonda says:

    I just made these cupcakes and they are great. I didn’t know what to expect with the beer flavor, but it is fantastic. I will definately make them again. The icing is amazing! Thanks for sharing.

    1. MBA says:

      I am so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback – have a great day!

  3. Jess says:

    Giving these a trial run for my sister in law’s bridal shower! I can’t wait to see how they come out!

  4. Kendra says:

    Jamie, We had 2 bottles of pumpkin ale left in the basement, so I made these cupcakes for NYE. A big hit!! I’d never made cupcakes or frosting from scratch – opened a whole new world for me… Ok – gotta go eat a cupcake now…

  5. jessica says:

    dude….i think i love you.

  6. Amanda L. (Tales from a Kitchen Misfit) says:

    I have yet to try to make cupcakes with beer in them, however I have made a chocolate stout cake. These are next on my list!

  7. Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie says:

    Never made cupcakes with beer, I’ll have to try these!

  8. the tasty tRuth says:

    Wow, how could these NOT be a crowd pleaser–they look fab! We always fight to keep the TV off during Thanksgiving, but that just means people are constantly chit-chatting in the middle of the kitchen (aka IN THE WAY), so I might have to pacify the crowd with these cakes and a few minutes of football next year. Thanks for sharing :)

  9. Run DMT says:

    I made these yesterday and they came out better than I expected. I actually forgot to add the cocoa powder, so they had a more pumpkin pie/vanilla spice taste, but still very delicious! I blogged about it and gave you a shout out for the recipe. :-)