Surviving Friday Night Bingo with Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I love to do dorky things. My dorky Friday night activity was playing Bingo with friends at our local Bingo hall, drinking coffee in styrofoam cups and cheap boxed wine. And yes, the majority of the people there were no younger than 75. Now this isn’t your usual, fun, light-hearted bingo. This is serious bingo. If Bingo could be on crack, this would be it. The caller spews out numbers so fast that if you miss one–it’s all over–you lost your chance. The dedicated regulars who gamble hundreds of dollars use an automated computer that allows them to sit pretty until the computer tells them when they win. I swear they only call out three numbers and someone already yells out “BINGO!” Meanwhile, I’m three numbers behind, trying to catch up by hand with my ink marker, sweating on my $6 bingo cards made of thin, recycled paper. I swear the game is rigged.

I knew this intense activity would require lots of energizing snacks to keep us going through the stressful three-hour Bingo session. I’ve been having intense cravings for pumpkin desserts and thought spiced pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting would be a perfect treat to keep us going–if we had a quick break to take a bite, that is.

With the Portland Marathon in just TWO DAYS, I didn’t even bother trying to lighten up the recipe. I’ll be needing the extra calories for 26.2 miles. Bring it on!

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from recipe:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup rice milk (just because I am allergic to milk protein, but any type of milk you choose will work great)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners (I just used wax paper and made 12 bigger cupcakes). Sift together the flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
  2. Beat 1/2 cup of butter, the white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Stir in the milk and pumpkin puree after the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

4. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and no longer wet in the middle, about 25-35 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

5. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting by beating the cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter with an electric mixer in a bowl until smooth. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; beat until fluffy. Once the cupcakes are cool, frost with the cream cheese icing.

6. Share with friends and family, and enjoy! (If you omit the frosting, add some chopped nuts or flax seeds and replace 1/2 cup of the white flour with whole wheat flour, you’ve got a great breakfast muffin!)

BJ putting on a show for me to express her enjoyment of the cupcakes.

Cupcakes+bingo=perfect combo.

PJ doesn't like cupcakes, so he stuck with the gummy worms...

Novin likes my cupcakes.

Cheers to a fun night!


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