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. 

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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


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


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220 grams) 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 (100 grams) packed dark brown sugar*
  • 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 pure 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 pure vanilla extract


  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.


  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


Comments are closed.

  1. Eva @ Eva Bakes says:

    I am so excited about this recipe because I love pumpkin! I am thrilled that you started pumpkin desserts so early. Bring on the pumpkin!

    1. I love your pumpkin enthusiasm Eva!

  2. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl says:

    Glad to see you joined the dark side by posting early pumpkin recipes! I’ve been posting so many lately you would have thought it was October. In my opinion all year is pumpkin time! 🙂

    1. I love that YOU love pumpkin so much Pamela!

  3. Jill @ Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons says:

    Pumpkin and chocolate…yum! These look fantastic!

    1. Thanks Jill!

  4. I’m not quite ready for fall, but I’m still on board with these delicious-looking cupcakes! I think I would probably do a vanilla or cinnamon frosting (like whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on pumpkin pie!), but I’m sure anything would be great! And I’m a total Craisin fan, so those might make an appearance as well. 😉

    1. I love craisins and pumpkin together. 🙂 Love the idea of a cinnamon frosting, Caley. I love how your baking mind works!

  5. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    So fun! And that frosting?! Love!

  6. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust says:

    Ha! A few of us read each others’ minds today. NO MORE SUMMER, bring on Fall! Love these pumpkin cupcakes – I’ve never made pumpkin cupcakes. Can you believe that? I better start. I have SO many pumpkin recipes in my head!

    1. YES! It’s time for pumpkin Dorothy! So glad you have it on your mind like I do 🙂

  7. Oh man, oh man! I love pumpkin. I actually love it so much that I order it in 12 packs on amazon all year long! I have issues.

    These look amazing, I love all the chocolate!! I cannot wait to start my fall baking!

    1. I can’t wait to see all the fun fall treats you have Tieghan!

  8. Averie @ Averie Cooks says:

    For me, it’s pumpkin season 12 months of the year <— funny, I feel the same way. GIRL if you only knew. Oh wait, you do. And have been listening to me talk about it in January 🙂

    These look so good. The piled-high frosting makes them for me. Okay and the mini chips, and the cute crackly crust/top they got. Love that. And using only 1/2 c DARK brown sugar in the whole batch, impressive. I love how molasses-ey it is and must add a great flavor to them. Seeing this post, and being away from pumpkin recipe testing for 3 whole weeks, makes me actually want to bake with it again 🙂 A testament to how GOOD your cupcakes look!

    1. I am SO GLAD to hear that you think these look great Averie – all things considered!! I can’t wait to see any pumpkin recipes you post this fall 🙂

  9. Gloria // Simply Gloria says:

    I agree with Averie…it is all year long! I want one right now! They look so moist and oh my…the frosting! I love pumpkin and chocolate together. I hoard the cans from Costco. I can never have enough!
    Your cupcakes just look amazing…so puffy and the texture is amazing looking. Can’t wait to make these. Putting them on my baking list with the kids this next weekend!

    1. I hoard pumpkin cans from costco too, Gloria! I am all stocked up right now – it’s awesome. =)

  10. I love pumpkin !!!! My favorite pumpkin goodies include pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin bread. 🙂 now I’m adding this to the list!

    1. I love pumpkin chocolate chip cookies 🙂

  11. I have had pumpkin on the brain all day. It started with pinning on pinterest. And then you go and wave these little beauties in my face. I have to agree, it’s time for pumpkin!

    1. It’s hard to STOP pinning pumpkin recipes on Pinterest this time of year! Thanks Eileen!

  12. Oh, what perfect timing! I have just purchased cans of pumpkin (Libby’s brand) from the USA Food supplier here in Australia – I have been scaling your blog & pinterest for recipes to make using canned pumpkin! As soon as my delivery comes, I will be making these!

    Do you make pumpkin recipes from scratch using fresh pumpkin or always use the can? As we can’t buy canned pumpkin in our supermarkets, gets expensive to order on line.

    1. Hi Jo! I use canned pure pumpkin. It’s just a lot easier than making it from scratch in my tiny apartment kitchen.

  13. Yes! Kicking off the Fall season early! I can’t wait to wear my favorite sweaters and hoodies (especially the newer ones I just got!). And of course the apple/ pumpkin picking, fall foliage (we have some nice scenery in NY!), and corn mazes (am I the only one that has a hard time finding their way out of those?!). I look forward to making these Sally! I just made your chocolate chip muffins today…they are great :0)

    BTW your Oatmeal Rasinet Cookies were gone in no time at work last week…I expect the same with the muffins! Great job girl! You make me look like a baking goddess LoL

    1. I need to go shopping for a few new pieces to my fall clothes. And yes, fall foliage in NY is without a doubt gorgeous, I bet! I love those chocolate chip muffins and oatmeal raisinet cookies Keyia!

  14. Boy, I guess it is pumpkin time. I’m still trying to get the last of the blueberries. But that frosting might have me heading well into fall!

    1. I will be sad when fresh blueberry and peach season is over, that’s for sure!

  15. Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats says:

    Okay I’ve been waiting to break out the pumpkin on my blog…..now I feel like I have the OK! These look fabulous.

    1. It’s definitely time to break it out Ally!

  16. I’m so excited that pumpkin season is fast approaching, because I adore baking with it. Pumpkin and chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combos, and all that dark chocolate frosting looks absolutely divine!

    1. Thanks so much Marcie! I’m so glad you’re as excited as I am 🙂

  17. Julianne @ Beyond Frosting says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE pumpkin! Thanks for starting the party!

  18. I love baking with pumpkin too but I don’t want to give up summer just yet! I hate the cold and with Fall just around the corner that means Winter is as well… 🙁 I’ll just have to warm up with some pumpkin treats!

    1. It’s hard for me to give up the summer too. 🙁 But pumpkin always helps Liz!

  19. Could I use coconut oil instead of veggie oil? This recipe looks amazing!

    1. You may use melted coconut oil to replace the vegetable oil, yes. Enjoy!

  20. Mimi @ Culinary Couture says:

    First pumpkin recipe of the season! I love it!! You are three steps ahead of the game and I don’t know why I have yet to try chocolate and pumpkin together?!

    1. pumpkin and chocolate together is amazing Mimi! You have to try it.

  21. Cathy Pollak ~ Noble Pig says:

    Hello Fall…come right in!!

  22. Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut says:

    Oh my goodness it’s that time again!! I was just telling the BF it’s almost crockpot time!! These look amazing..pinning! Thanks!

    1. I love crockpot time of the year. 🙂 Thanks for pinning my cupcakes Amanda!

  23. Kristy @ Sweet Treats & More says:

    Let the pumpkin goodies begin!! These look FAB Sally!

    1. It’s finally time for pumpkin! Thanks Kristy!

  24. Aharon www.coolcake.com says:


    This looks sooo good:)

    Can I republish the picture with link to your blog in my facebook?
    It’s a very active page I am sure it will bring you trafic 🙂

    1. Hi there! Yes, you may share on your facebook page provided the image has a watermark and you link to my website for the recipe and not republish the recipe. Thank you so much!

      1. Aharon www.coolcake.com says:


        I shared your recipe in my facebook in the following link.


        Like if you like:)

      2. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious says:

    I’m so happy to see pumpkin this time of year! I am a pumpkin 12-months-a-year kind of gal too! And man, that dark chocolate frosting is absolutely heavenly.

  26. Joy @ Baking-Joy says:

    Love these 🙂 makes me wish canned pumpkin was more easily available in the UK 🙁

    1. Oh that stinks, Joy. I know you can order it online: http://www.amazon.com/Libbys-Pumpkin-15-oz/dp/B0005ZYSIA

  27. Becca @ Crumbs says:

    Oh wow you can get pumpkin in a can in the states?? Definitely not over here in UK supermarkets. Perhaps Amazon will have them, I shall take a look!

    1. Yep! Here you go: http://www.amazon.com/Libbys-Pumpkin-15-oz/dp/B0005ZYSIA

      1. Becca @ Crumbs says:

        Thanks so much Sally! Really thoughtful of you

  28. Yay for Pumpkin season! I’m happy to see you have started early…I can’t wait to break out my pumpkin recipes! These look great. Once Florida stop being so freaking hot all the time I’ll feel a little more ready for some pumpkin, haha

    1. I can only imagine FL weather in August, Shaina!

  29. Cate @ Chez CateyLou says:

    Your post got me SO excited for fall!! Although I’m with you – pumpkin season is all year round, it is just too good!! These cupckaes look amazing, and I love the idea of making them as muffins!

    1. Thanks Cate! I’m glad to get you excited for autumn. I love summer, but I can’t wait for the fall!

  30. Oh pumpkin! I’m so ready for it!! And these cupcakes are a great way to start off pumpkin season

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