Wooden tray filled with hay and pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing and pistachio garnish.
Photography, Art Direction & Food Styling: Anthony Contrino

This is another recipe I created for my collab with American Pistachio Growers.  You may already know about my love for pumpkin bread (you can get my recipe HERE), so I wanted to create something just as tasty, but not as dense.  This has a lighter, more cake-like crumb with subtle earthy undertones from the pistachios, and the luscious cream cheese frosting is the chef’s kiss!

Pumpkin Spice & Pistachio Cupcakes

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12



  • ¾ cup American pistachios, finely chopped
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree


  • 1 8-ounce block cream cheese
  • 4 ounces 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 ⅔ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup American pistachios, rough chopped, for garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cavity cupcake pan with aluminum cupcake liners.
  • MAKE THE CUPCAKES: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the pistachios, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves until well combined; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth.
  • Drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly, until emulsified.
  • Add the vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
  • Add the light brown sugar and sugar and whisk until well combined.
  • Add the pumpkin puree and whisk until well combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake pan, filling each cavity about ⅔ full.
  • Bake until a toothpick comes out cleanly when inserted to the center of the cupcakes, for 18 to 22 minutes.
  • Carefully transfer the cupcakes from the pan to a cooling rack; cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, MAKE THE FROSTING: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter, scraping the sides as necessary, until light and fluffy, for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the sugar and vanilla and mix until very well combined, for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized star tip.
  • Pipe rosettes on the cupcakes and garnish with the pistachios.
  • Refrigerate for up to 5 days, serve at room temperature.
Course: Dessert
Author: Anthony Michael Contrino
Pumpkin cupcakes in aluminum with swirls of cream cheese icing and pistachio garnish.
Photography, Art Direction & Food Styling: Anthony Contrino