Pumpkin Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting.

A super-moist spiced pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake topped with rich dark chocolate frosting. 

A super-moist spiced pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake topped with rich dark chocolate frosting! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’ve waited long enough.

It’s pumpkin time. For me, it’s pumpkin season 12 months of the year.  The more pumpkin, the better.  I’ve been patiently waiting for months to share several new pumpkin recipes with you!

While I love summer dearly, I am so excited for the fall to arrive. Our wedding planning will really take off because the big day will be less than 1 year away (Sept 20th 2014). October can’t come soon enough because my cookbook manuscript will be DONE! I am also looking forward to: cozy sweaters, fuzzy socks, hot chocolate, pumpkin coffee (!!), crunchy leaves, and scarves. Lots of scarves. Do you know about my obsession with scarves? We’ll get to that later.

A super-moist spiced pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake topped with rich dark chocolate frosting! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

This is a cupcake recipe you really want in your life. Why?

(1) They can also be muffins!  Yes, these pumpkin spice cupcakes are amazing even without frosting. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but seriously.
(2) There is little sugar in the batter. Only 2/3 cup of brown sugar sweetens the cupcakes.
(3) Cinnamon – a lot of it 🙂
(4) The batter is so easy to make. No mixer!

I want to eat these cupcakes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and second dessert.

These cupcakes are laughably easy, which is why I love to make them so much.  You’ll need a few simple ingredients like flour, eggs, leaveners, oil, milk, and pure pumpkin. When I make baked goods with pumpkin, I make sure there are enough complimentary spices to go along with it.

We all know pumpkin to be a pretty moist ingredient, but that’s not enough to make these cupcakes super moist and tender. You’ll also add oil, brown sugar, and eggs. These three ingredients make the cupcake’s texture anything but dry. Like I mention above, there is only 2/3 cup of brown sugar in the entire cupcake batter. There is simply no need for more sugar. I like to eat these cupcakes plain for breakfast and call them pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Yes, they are amazing even without frosting! But let’s face it. There is always room for frosting…

A super-moist spiced pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake topped with rich dark chocolate frosting! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

I can’t resist dark chocolate frosting.

And you can’t either! This chocolate frosting is one of the most popular frosting recipes on my website. It’s thick, extra creamy, and very fudgy.  It’s not overly sweet either. Just pure chocolate. Pure chocolate makes an excellent topper on pumpkin spice cupcakes. If you want a frosting that is a little lighter and less overpowering, try my pumpkin cream cheese frosting. Or even this Nutella frosting. A-mazing.

Feel free to leave out the mini chocolate chips and add pecans, walnuts, or even pumpkin seeds.  Dried cranberries or dried cherries would be fabulous additions as well. These super-moist and flavorful pumpkin cupcakes are so versatile. That’s reason #5 why I love them so much.

Every pumpkin lover needs a go-to pumpkin cupcake recipe. With its deep warming spices and rich chocolate frosting, these cupcakes are perfect for after-school snacks, fall bake sales, celebrations or whenever you’re in the mood for a pumpkin spiced-treat.

A super-moist spiced pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake topped with rich dark chocolate frosting! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

It’s never too early or too late in the year to enjoy pumpkin.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

Feel free to leave out the frosting and enjoy the cupcakes plain. They are lower in sugar than most pumpkin cupcakes, so I like to enjoy them as muffins for breakfast. Cover frosted cupcakes and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220 grams) all-purpose flour (careful not to overmeasure)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice1
  • 2/3 cup (100 grams) packed dark brown sugar2
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (227 grams) pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (90 grams) mini chocolate chips

Dark Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 and 3/4 cup (330 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • 2/3 cup (57 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 Tablespoons (90 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons (95 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray two 12-count muffin pans with non-stick spray or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. Make the cupcakes: In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs together until combined. Add the pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do NOT overmix the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Spoon the batter evenly into 14 cups; fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping. Bake for 17-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  5. For the frosting: Sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder to assure there are no lumps. Set aside.
  6. With a handheld of stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until fluffy - about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sifted sugar/cocoa powder alternately with the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed after each addition. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too dark. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Recipe Notes:

  1. You can make your own 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice by blending a pinch each of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and ground allspice.
  2. I usually only use 1/2 cup brown sugar, but I find the pumpkin and spice flavor really excels with just a little more brown sugar. So, I prefer 2/3 cup.

The dark chocolate frosting is quite rich. For a lighter frosting, try my pumpkin cream cheese frosting instead.

Did you make a recipe?

Tag @sallysbakeblog on Instagram and hashtag it #sallysbakingaddiction.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


I can’t wait to make these recipes again this season!

Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Pie

Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Pie


Fudge Brownie Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Brownie Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting (1 of 1)


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip OatmealBars-8


What’s your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin? 



  1. I made these just now & they turned out moist & delicious despite the fact that I “healthy-fied” them up a little bit! Yay!! In case anyone is GF & curious… I used Cafe brand GF All Purpose baking mix (cup-for-cup) & substituted 1/3 cup of natural, unsweetened applesauce for the oil. I also skipped the milk (totally by accident) & they’re still really moist & delicious so I can’t imagine how much moister they’d be with milk! I added walnut pieces to 1/2 of them & choc chips to the other 1/2 of the mix. Thanks so much for a wonderful recipe 🙂 Healthy-fied version nutrition info:
    Calories 141 Carbs 30 Fat 2 Protein 2 Sugars 14

  2. Made these yesterday and will never look for another pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake/muffin recipe, again! They are not only amazing in taste, flavor, and texture, but they are extremely easy and quick. The dark chocolate frosting is also unbelievably incredible. I will use this frosting for other things I need to frost with chocolate! Texture was like mousse, flavor was rich and hit the choco-o-holic craving, seamlessly. 🙂 And, they’re beautiful. If you haven’t made these yet, don’t wait any longer! Thanks for sharing, Sally!

    • Sara, I am so happy to read this comment today! I have been dying to make these cupcakes again and I’m actually planning to do so tomorrow. I just love them. They aren’t too sweet at all – the perfect “canvas” for the rich dark chocolate frosting. Which yes – does taste like dark chocolate mousse! So happy to hear how much you love them. 🙂 Thank you so much for coming back to my blog to write about them.

  3. Hi, Sally!

    Do you think I would be able to halve this recipe so I only have 7 cupcakes? Thanks!

  4. Hi dear Sally !
    I’ve just made these cupcakes to celebrate the arrival of fall and let me tell you that they are delicious ! Your recipe is so easy and the result is perfect ! I’m French and I was wondering if I could translate your recipe in French on my blog ? I won’t use your picture and I will of course talk about your blog but I would really like to share this great recipe with my french readers ! I feel like pumpkin recipes aren’t as popular in France as in United States.
    Thank you for this amazing recipe, I will let you know if I try other of your recipe (which might happen really soon !).
    Have a nice day !

    • Hi Apolline! You may certainly use this recipe and rewrite it (and reshoot it if you’d like to include photos) for your own blog, as long as you link back to my own blog as the source. Which I know you’d do anyway. Thank you so much for sharing! I love these cupcakes too.

      • Thanks Sally for always taking your time to answer to comments ! The recipe is finally on my blog and I have put pictures of the muffins I have made, I think they turned out pretty well ! My whole family LOVED them so thanks again for this delicious recipe !

        Have a nice day !

  5. Hi Sally! I was just wondering if you use semi sweet mini choc chips or milk chocolate? Thanks!

    • semi-sweet. But it really won’t make a different. I’ve used dark chocolate chips before too. Truly any chocolate you prefer or have on hand would be fine. Enjoy!

  6. My new favourite blog! Going to try these out today!


  7. Hi Sally, my name is Rose. I love your blog, but I’m one of those lurkers who rarely comments (I guess even on the internet I’m introverted). 🙂 I have this recipe my college roommate found on allrecipes.com – Pumpkin Apple Muffins. I was never a huge fan of pumpkin until I tried this combo, and then I went pumpkin crazy. Pumpkin + apple is divine. The thing is, this recipe has a TON of sugar, and while I’m not a sugarphobe…..it’s a lot of sugar. I’ve been experimenting with the recipe a little, but I just saw this recipe. Do you think adding apples would mess it up with all the added moisture? Plus, I’m pretty sure I would want to add more than 1/2 cup.

    Here’s the link to the original recipe if you want to check it out.

    Thanks for your time!

    • Hi Rose! Thank you for saying hi. Pumpkin apple muffins sound incredible. You can certainly turn these low sugar unfrosted cupcakes into muffins. Just leave off the frosting (obviously!) and leave out the chocolate chips. Add 1 and 1/2 cups peeled and chopped apples and bake as directed. They’ll be delicious, no doubt!

      • Just wanted to tell you, made these this morning with apples, and they turned out beautifully. You should definitely try it. 🙂 Pumpkin, apple, cinnamon….perfect blend of fabulous fall favorites!

      • I WILL be trying it! Thanks Rose.

  8. Hey Sally! I made these this evening and they are one of the best pumpkin recipes I have ever made! The cupcake’s texture was amazing, extremely moist and light; not dense like a pumpkin muffin would be. And the frosting…oh, the frosting; lets just say I couldn’t stop “testing” it! The only change I made was adding a graham cracker crust on the bottom and filling them with a marshmallow buttercream to make them s’more pumpkin cupcakes 🙂

  9. I made this frosting today and I absolutely loved it! My family loved it too! I will definitely be trying out more of your frosting recipes! Your blog is the first place I go when I need an idea to bake something

  10. Of all your cupcake recipes….THIS ONE is the one I’ve gotta try ASAP! Ingenious. And I bet they are as delirious and moist as they look!

  11. I want to try this recipe! What consistency should the pumpkin be? Should you food process it before combining it with the other ingredients?


    • If using canned pumpkin puree, it can just come right from the pan. If using homemade, make sure it is smooth. I hope this helps?

  12. Great for breakfast. The sweetness is just enough. I skipped the frosting.

  13. Do you think the cupcakes would work dairy free? If I use almond milk instead of milk?

  14. Sally,

    These are amazing! I used coconut oil instead of vegetable the 2nd time I tried them and they came out great. I also love your pumpkin pancakes, the best pancake I have ever had, no doubt. Oh, and I made your cinnamon scones and cranberry/orange muffins for Christmas. Sally’s Baking Addiction has become my own addiction!

    Keep them coming!


  15. Hi Sally! I DO enjoy looking at your cake and cupcake recipes (and everything else besides). I would like to know HOW you frosted the spiced pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes? How in the world did you apply the frosting in the beautiful, scrumptious-looking way that you did? They just make me want to sink my teeth into them and wrap my tongue around all that milk-chocolate frosting! I hope I hear back from you on this…even that you would send your answer directly to my email. Thank you!

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