Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes

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.

Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes

Yield: about 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes


For the Cupcakes

1 (12-ounce) bottle Pumpkin Ale
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the Buttercream

4 sticks 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.

My Baking Addiction

29 Responses to “Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes”

  1. Ann P. — November 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Aw, I love that you included what you’re thankful for! We’re thankful for you, your hard work, and your amazing treats! They are always so wonderful, and well-thought out. These cupcakes are no exception! I’ve been reading about pumpkin ales lately, but have never tried one, nor would it ever have crossed my mind to make a cupcake out of them, even though I’ve made beer cupcakes before! You’re awesome. Have a great thanksgiving :)


  2. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — November 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    I’ve only used beer in cupcakes once and I agree – it totally works and makes them super moist. Love it and love this!! Have a great Thanksgiving :)


  3. lisa@cluttercafe — November 22, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Jamie, I am so thankful for you. You have been an inspiration and help with my new blogging venture. I look forward to seeing what you post each day. I don’t know how you have the time to create and test each recipe, but it forces me to do to the same. slowly but surely.Have a great Thanksgiving.


  4. Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — November 22, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Love this! I’m pretty much sold on anything with ale in it :)


  5. kyleen — November 22, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    These are gorgeous and they look so scrumptious. I’d make them if I were old enough to buy beer…


  6. Tracy — November 22, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    These cupcakes sound amazing! I’ve never used beer in chocolate cake before, but now I’m dying to. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Jamie!


  7. Yammie @ Yammie's Noshery — November 22, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Ohmahgosh. That frosting looks AMAZING. The cupcakes look awesome too. Yummaay.


  8. Ann — November 22, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    This is terrific! I’ve had chocolate ale truffles and the ale flavor was spectacular, so it make sense these would be amazing! Thanks for sharing and Happy Thanksgiving!


  9. Michele — November 23, 2011 at 5:42 am

    We have the football thing going on in our house too. Sigh. But those cupcakes look delicious! I love your sprinkles. I can’t wait to try this recipe.


  10. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — November 23, 2011 at 6:36 am

    Those cupcakes are seriously delicious! Love this!


  11. brandi — November 23, 2011 at 8:54 am

    love the idea of the pumpkin ale in the cupcakes.

    and i’m just as bad if not WORSE than the guys in family about football. Every big game IS The big one! :)


  12. the wicked noodle — November 23, 2011 at 9:16 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever found a Thanksgiving recipe I didn’t love!


  13. Jan — November 23, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Thanks, Jamie, for all of the hard work, effort, and love you put into My Baking Addiction, from the great recipes, to the terrific photos, to the great information and your willingness to share your “secrets” — Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and thanks for you!


  14. Gwen — November 23, 2011 at 11:10 am

    These sound great! Where does one buy pumpkin ale?


  15. Urban Wife — November 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    These are absolutely stunning!! I bet they taste equally delicious, as well. Thanks for sharing your creations, day in and day out. It truly is a joy to read your blog! Have a lovely Thanksgiving…and try to get some rest in between your cooking/baking marathon. :)


  16. Mary Jo Zilveti — November 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I love all your treats and hints, but here in Brazil it’s almost impossible to find a pumpkin ale, as it was created in the U.S. by the early colonists who lacked some of the classic beer ingredients, according to Samuel Adams’s site. Once in Texas, a few years ago, I could apreciate two bottles of Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale and it was superb.
    Would you mind telling me which other beer I could use instead?
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and thanks for you with your great dedication and joy.
    Mary Jo Zilveti


  17. Aimee @ Simple Bites — November 23, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Jamie. I’m so blessed to have you as a friend. xox


  18. Anna — November 23, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Great idea! It is new, unique but doesn’t take out that familiar flavors in what we have been used to…You know how people can sometimes get cranky when change is too drastic…hello:husband! Gee! I know my husband wants something crunchy and spicy during the big events but he can’t complain with these, I bet! Have a great Thanksgiving Feast! Thanks for sharing!


  19. Zee @ The Recipe Code — November 24, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Love these! Cupcakes look awesome and leaf sprinkles are just too cute.. Gotta get them right away!


  20. Erlyn — November 24, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I made these last night and they were deeeeeeelish! I’m so glad I found some pumpkin ale at my local grocery store because I was dying to make these as soon as you posted it. Thanks for the recipe!


  21. Run DMT — November 25, 2011 at 7:23 am

    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. :-)



  22. the tasty tRuth — November 25, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    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 :)


  23. Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie — November 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm

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


  24. 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!


  25. jessica — November 30, 2011 at 11:49 am

    dude….i think i love you.


  26. Kendra — January 3, 2012 at 9:24 am

    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…


  27. Jess — September 26, 2012 at 9:05 am

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


  28. Rhonda — November 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    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.


    • MBA — November 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm

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

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