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Dulce De Leche Pumpkin Cupcakes

Unfortunately, dulce de leche isn’t available in most stores, but you can make it yourself at home quite easily with a can of sweetened condensed milk. 

There are many methods to do this – you can boil the can, opened or unopened for a few hours; you can use an oven; you can use a double boiler; you can use a microwave; you can even make dulce de leche from scratch.  

Whatever method you choose to make your dulce de leche, you’ll be rewarded with a thick, caramelly goo that you can use in your coffee, ice cream, brownies, cupcakes, cookies, and lots more.

My second batch of Halloween cupcakes, baked especially for October’s Cupcake Hero, uses dulce de leche, which I chose to make in the oven.

Mine took about 1 hour, 15 minutes at 425°F.

It didn’t turn very dark before the top of the dulce de leche started to turn a little hard and dark brown around the edges, even though I had it tightly covered with foil.

I used an electric mixer to smooth out the lumps, but little tiny bits of the burnt edges remained.

It didn’t affect the taste, though; it tastes great!

These are delicious and super moist pumpkin cupcakes, filled with dulce de leche and frosted with dulce de leche buttercream.  

The web is made from melted semisweet chocolate and an awesome, creepy spider from Bake It Pretty adorns each cupcake.

The chocolate web is very easy to make.

I melted 2-3 tablespoons of semisweet chocolate chips, with about 1/4 teaspoon of shortening to make the chocolate a little looser, and spooned it into a Ziploc bag.

I then cut off a very tiny sliver of the bottom corner of the bag and piped four circles on top of each cupcake.

I would have used a toothpick to draw through the circles, but I didn’t have any, so I used an uncooked stick of spaghetti that I had broken down to the length of a toothpick!

But I just simply pulled the spaghetti stick through the circles, starting from the center for each line.  

Easy spiderweb decoration!

These cupcakes are quite rich, and I knew they would be before I even made them, but they are absolutely delicious.

The pumpkin and caramel go very well together.

If you’re not after so rich of a cupcake, skip the dulce de leche filling and just use the dulce de leche buttercream on top.

Dulce De Leche Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin cupcakes with dulce de leche filling and dulce de leche buttercream.
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Author: Martha Stewart | Recipe Girl | Joy the Baker


  • Pumpkin cupcakes:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 7.5 ounces pureed pumpkin
  • Dulce de leche:
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • boiling water
  • Dulce de leche buttercream:
  • 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons prepared dulce de leche


  • For the pumpkin cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
  • Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
  • Once cooled, using the cone method, fill each cupcake with a dollop of dulce de leche and frost with dulce de leche buttercream. If desired, decorate cupcake with spiderweb design using 3 tablespoons chocolate chips melted together with 1/4 teaspoon shortening.
  • For the dulce de leche: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Open up the can and pour the sweetened-condensed milk into a pie pan. Cover tightly with foil. Place into a larger pan and pour boiling water in larger pan & around pie plate (level of water should be about halfway up the pie plate). Don’t let any water seep up and into the pie plate.
  • Place in oven and bake for 1 hour. At the one hour point, peel off foil and check for progress. If the mixture has thickened and turned a caramelly color, it’s done. If it doesn’t quite look thick enough or dark enough, cover it up and bake it a little longer (mine took 75 minutes).
  • When the mixture appears to have turned into a nice, thick caramel, remove from the oven. Let sit for a few minutes, and then beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Dulce de leche buttercream: Cream together softened butter and powdered sugar on low using an electric mixer. Add cream and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth and no lumps appear. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the prepared dulce de leche and beat to incorporate.

44 thoughts on “Dulce De Leche Pumpkin Cupcakes”

  1. Mmmmm. I’ve never thought of this combo and now I don’t see why not. Dulce de Leche + pumpkin sounds like a combo made in heaven. I bet that the sweetness is perfect with the earthiness of the pumpkin.

  2. These cupcakes are so eye catching and festive, and then you bite in and what a surprise! The flavor combo sounds great and the cupcake looks so delicious and moist.

    • These are very moist cupcakes! I know that the mixing method of making these sounds more like what you’d do for a muffin, but it makes for a great fluffy, moist cupcake that is nothing like the texture of a muffin. And yes, it is a great flavor combination, I just love these cupcakes!

  3. Great cupcakes! I spied these cupcakes in the Cupcake Hero flickr group, but I didn’t see they are yours. OR that they are filled with dulce de leche… very nice!

  4. How cute are these?! They sound divine and thanks for the tips on the chocolate web, I have been wanting to do that but mine always turns out a mess. I happen to have some Dulce De Leche so I just might have to give these a try. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi, i’m from argentina the cradle of dulce de leche. tell you a secret; you gonna get the dark color if you add a little teaspoon of baking soda.

  6. I think I’m going to make these for the charity bake sale at work this week. YUM! I love the idea of dulce de leche and pumpkin together. Oh, I always make mine by boiling it in the unopened can on medium-high heat for 2 hours. It’s safe as long as you keep the water line above the can(s), otherwise they will explode. It’s scary, but yields a smooth and reliable product every time.

    • I just don’t think I’m brave enough to make dulce de leche that way, especially with kids around – just in case it did explode!

      If you make the cupcakes for the charity bake sale, please let me know how they went over! 🙂

  7. I’m really tempted to make these for Thanksgiving this year. I won’t have the time to make them during Halloween, but I think these would go over really well with my family.

    • I would highly suggest making these for Thanksgiving! They’re just that good! Please come back and let me know how your family liked them if you decide to make them!

  8. WOW…those look really really good!! I am such a pumpkin fan & those just look amazing. I may have to give them a try minus the spider. I know I could not make my cupcakes look even half as great as you did!

    • Thanks! Really, these cupcakes are pretty easy to put together and I’m sure you’d do a great job! Let me know if you give them a try! 🙂

    • Baking Bites posted a step-by-step tutorial with photos of how to do the cone method which I suggest reading:

      But, while Baking Bites used a pastry bag to fill the cupcakes, please note that with dulce de leche it’s going to be easier to spoon it into the cupcake as it is quite thick – just use a spoon to scoop up a small amount, maybe 1 teaspoon or so?, of dulce de leche and drop it into the cupcake. You may need to use another spoon to get the dulce de leche off the other spoon! 🙂

  9. […] do these look good! Here's the link to save you guys from having to google it… Dulce De Leche Pumpkin Cupcakes | The Sweetest Kitchen __________________ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Siggyless in […]

  10. These look incredible! Wow, I’ll bet the pumpkin and dulce de leche combo is really tasty, I’ve never thought of combining them before. I’m a huge pumpkin fan and always looking for new recipes…esp cupcakes! Here in Canada we have a store brand called PC (Presidents Choice) and they make a really good canned Dulce De Leche, not as good as the real stuff but way less work 🙂
    Congrats on tying for 1st place for the cupcakes, when do you find out the winner? Is it too late to vote?
    Thanks for sharing your recipe, I’m going to try them soon and I’ll let you know how they turn out. Bet they won’t last long 😀

  11. […] to Recipe Girl for the Dulce De Leche and Joy the Baker for the Dulce De Leche Buttercream, the Sweetest Kitchen has created a new type of cupcake combination which is sure to satisfy even the sweetest tooth! […]

  12. I’ve been meaning to make these for a year now, haha. I’m going to take this whole idea (down to the webs) to make them for work next week hopefully (I work in a haunted house). I’ll be sure to credit you completely, of course.

  13. These are divine! I had a bit of a kitchen catastrophe so only wound up with enough dulce de leche to make the frosting, but even without the filling they are to die for! Almost good enough to make up for the horrible mess I have waiting for me in the kitchen when I get home from work. Not looking forward to the cleanup but at least I can have a cupcake after to ease the pain. There’ s a local cupcake competition later this month that I might sign up for and the theme ingredient is pumpkin. If I do go for it I know I’ve got a winning recipe right here thanks to you!

    • I’m sorry but I’m not really not sure how many cups 7.5 ounces equals. If you’re using canned pureed pumpkin, have a look at how many ounces are in the can and you can work it out from there! Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  14. […] via Jamieanne and recipe available at The Sweetest Kitchen […]

  15. I made a couple dozen to help with a friend’s school fundraiser. Instead of using the plastic spiders, I made spiders out of chocolate marshmallow fondant. The whole cupcake ensemble was DELICIOUS (I had to buy back one of the ones I donated)!!

    Oh, and I tried to warm up the dulce de leche and insert it via pastry bag, but the bag exploded–all over. Good thing I bought extra dulce de leche, and then I used the method to cut out the cone and filled that way (which didn’t take near as long as I thought, and it gave my daughter little bits to gobble down, even after she insisted she didn’t like pumpkin…gotta love that)!!

    At the fundraiser, my friend saw a little bitty kiddo buy one “Cause it has a spider one it” and took one bite and said “Mommy, this is the yummiest spider ever-and the cupcake doesn’t even taste like pumpkin!” They were a hit!!!

    Tonight I’m making enough batter to make layer cake for my company birthday party tomorrow! And I’ll be making more cupcakes for a Halloween party later this week. LOVE THIS RECIPE!!

    Thank you!

    • Wow, thank you so much for letting me know how much you love them! These are definitely one of the best cupcakes I have ever made, they are so delicious and I am so happy that you are enjoying them!

  16. I love just looking at these – I can only imagine how tasty they must be! I’m including you in my Friday Favorites this week. Thanks for sharing these!

  17. […] up is Sweetest Kitchen’s Dulce De Leche Cupcakes.  There is never anything wrong with a recipe that includes sweetened condensed milk.  […]

  18. I made these for my Bible Study group and they loved them! I had a little leftover batter, so I made one mini-cupcake, and I have to say this cupcake is so rich that I actually think a mini-cupcake works perfectly! Perhaps next time I make these I will make them all minis, although with the filling and decorating might get a bit time consuming. I measured 7.5oz of canned pumpkin on my kitchen scales, and it looks like about 3/4 C, but don’t take my word for it. The pumpkin cupcakes themselves are so rich and delicious, I was eating the batter right from the bowl! I think that recipe paired with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon would make a yummy pumpkin pie cupcake for Thanksgiving. These also remind me of a pumpkin cookie w/ cream cheese frosting recipe I have, so I bet cream cheese would pair well, too. The dulce de leche frosting is hard to beat though, I was gobbling up the leftovers straight from the pastry bag, yum! Thanks for the delicious recipe; I love it when recipes come out perfectly, no modifications needed!

    • You can freeze them, as I did actually try this myself. If you do decide to freeze them, I’d recommend freezing them unfrosted, and then frost them once they have thawed.


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