Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with paper cupcake liners. (If you only have 1 muffin pan, instructions will follow for how to bake in batches.)
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, and cinnamon.
In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture, and stir just until no streaks of flour remain.
Fill the paper liners three-quarters full with batter (about ¼ cup). If baking with one pan, cover the remaining batter in the bowl and set aside.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If baking two pans at once, rotate the pans and swap oven racks after 12 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove and finish cooling on a wire rack. (If baking a second batch, let the pan cool for a few minutes once the baked cupcakes are removed, then line the pan again, fill, and bake as before.)
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the cream cheese. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times.
Beat in the vanilla and salt just until combined.
Sift the powdered sugar into a large bowl.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar. When fully combined, increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Place frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip. Pipe over cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired.
Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake that will yield dry and dense cupcakes. The best and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don’t have one, then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
Not all canned pumpkin is the same. Libby is my preferred brand as it is thick with a rich color. Different brands may be lighter in color and more watery in their consistency. You might have to blot the pumpkin if you use another brand of pumpkin purée.
Make sure you let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting, or the frosting will just melt.
The egg should be at room temperature to ensure they incorporate into your batter evenly. If you forgot to take your egg out of the fridge ahead of time, you could quickly bring it to room temperature by placing it in a large bowl and covering it with warm tap water for 5 minutes.
Avoid overmixing as you risk over-developing the gluten in the batter leading to tough cupcakes.
Don’t skip sifting the dry ingredients. Doing so will remove any clumps and aerates the ingredients to yield lighter pumpkin cupcakes.