Pumpkin Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

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

pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake topped with dark chocolate frosting

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.

pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes topped with dark chocolate frosting on a teal plate

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…

pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes topped with dark chocolate frosting on a white plate

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.

pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes topped with dark chocolate frosting

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. 

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pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake topped with dark chocolate frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 14 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


Ingredients

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (219g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 2/3 cup (100g) packed dark brown sugar*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (227g) pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (90g) mini chocolate chips

Dark Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 and 3/4 cup (330g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup (55g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons (95ml) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). 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, and pumpkin pie spice 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. Make 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. Cover frosted cupcakes and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes

  1. Pumpkin Pie Spice: 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. Brown Sugar: 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.
  3. Frosting: The dark chocolate frosting is quite rich. For a lighter frosting, try my pumpkin cream cheese frosting instead.
  4. Plain Cupcakes: Feel free to leave out the chocolate chips and 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.
  5. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

Keywords: chocolate pumpkin cupcakes

17 Comments

  1. Jessica Perrilleon says:

    Oh my gosh! These are amazing….my family gobbled them up! I love ANYTHING pumpkin, and these are a keeper. I will make these again and again. You are right- they don’t even need frosting. How do you think these would be with white whole wheat flour? Or, could I make this into a cake? Would the batter fit a 9 inch round cake pan?

  2. Hey Sally! These muffins are in the oven as I’m typing this. They smell amazing!! I used 1/4 cup chocolate chips, 1/8 cup white choc chips and 1/8 cup dried cranberries. I can’t wait to try them. Also, I didn’t have mini chips, so I just chopped up the regular sized ones. Thanks for all your recipes. Foolproof, easy, and highly recommended!!

  3. Made these tonight! I substituted the oil for applesauce and used 1 cup white flour, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour. I also omitted the chocolate chips. They came out great! Next time I will also add 2 Tbs oil to add a bit more moisture.

  4. Hi! I made these last week and they were so good! I am making them again, but was wondering if I could do mini loaf pans so that I can bring them to friends? Do you know if it would affect the baking time? Amazing, thank you!!

    1. Hi Jessica! Making them in mini loaf pans would definitely work. I love that idea! They may take a bit longer since the loaf pans hold more batter than muffin tins do. I’m not sure of the exact time.

  5. 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!

  6. Hi, Sally!

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

    1. Hey Katie! Yes, you could easily halve this recipe. Enjoy!

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

    1. 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!

  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. 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!

    Amanda

  12. Hi Sally! I want to frost a 2-layer cake with the Dark Chocolate Frosting – will this recipe be enough or do I need to make adjustments? If so, what do you recommend?

    Thanks!

    1. I would 1.5x the recipe. You can also try this chocolate fudge frosting as is. Has a dark chocolate flavor.

  13. This is my absolute favorite. I’ve been making this for a couple years now, and ive and yet to find someone who doesn’t love it. I use your snickerdoodle frosting with it! 

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