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. Hooray for pumpkin season! As soon as I saw this I got excited and thought “FINALLY! It’s time!” Haha!

    1. I knew you’d appreciate the pumpkin Karly!!

  2. erin @hooleywithaz says:

    oh my gosh, it’s too early for the pumpkin to show its face!! although i have to agree with everyone, i am fighting the urge to get out the chunky sweaters and boots. (maybe it has something to do with living in minnesota…summer JUST got here, and it feels like it’s going to be winter tomorrow again already!)

    1. It’s always so hard to say goodbye to summer, I hear ya Erin!

  3. Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent says:

    I am torn between loving the last bit of summer and getting into the pumpkin mood. I already hear a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks calling my name 🙂

    1. I find myself torn too. I don’t want summer to end – but pumpkin spice lattes are TOO good!

  4. Noooo I’m not ready for pumpkin yet!!! haha

    1. I am always ready for pumpkin, but I hate saying goodbye to summer!

  5. Abbie @ Needs Salt says:

    These cupcakes are gorgeous! And I agree–pumpkin is for every season. It’s just too irresistible! 😀
    Your dark chocolate frosting looks truly decadent. Can I have just a bowl of it, please? haha!
    Pinning these!

    1. Thanks for pinning Abbie! And a bowl of this fudgy frosting sounds amazing. You + me + two spoons!

  6. Your post put a smile on my face this morning! I LOVE fall and its my favorite season. People think I weird when I mention the leaves turning color. Your cupcakes look great and so do the other pumpkin recipes. Thanks!

    1. People think I’m an oddball too – when I begin to talk about pumpkin in August! We just love pumpkin too much. Autumn is the best!

  7. Ari @ Ari's Menu says:

    YAY!!!! I eat pumpkin literally every single day, but I always get super excited for all the pumpkin amazingness that happens on the internet in the Fall. I’ve been doing all sorts of pumpkin baking lately to get ready for it. These look soooo good girl! I LOVE pumpkin and chocolate together, and that frosting makes me drool every single time.

    1. I can’t wait to see your pumpkin recipes, Ari! I have no doubt how incredible they will be. We have twin tastebuds.

  8. Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen says:

    These look amazing, Sally! Probably my favorite combination ever. Pinned (obviously!).

    1. Hi Monique! Thanks so much for pinning. 🙂

  9. You are so right! It is about time for all things pumpkin to start emerging from the food blog world! I LOVE pumpkin, and these look great! Love that there’s only a 1/2 cup of sugar in there. And of course, you get fiber and vitamin A from the pumpkin puree–so great!

    1. Exactly! I love everything about pumpkin, especially its health benefits!

  10. Is it just me or does the air around fall time get a specific smell? I cannot wait for Dunkin Donuts pumpkin coffee, burning leaves, and making this cupcakes 😉 You pretty much just made me day with these!

    1. YES! You are very right about the air. Oh and guess what? I went to DD this morning and pumpkin coffee will be out next week! 😀

  11. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes says:

    Ahhhh it’s so tough saying farewell to summer! I was feeling in a “fall” mood last week, though, with the weather being on the cooler side. I’m so ready for pumpkin!

    1. It’s been on the cooler side for sure. I had to wear a jacket and pants in the morning walking our pup! I’m relishing every last moment of summer, but also welcoming pumpkin with open arms!

  12. Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef says:

    i’m SO ready for pumpkin and fall and hot lattes and apples. yum! these cupcakes sound like a great way to kick off fall baking. i’m making pumpkin soup for dinner tonight…can’t wait!

    1. I love pumpkin soup Sarah! I bet yours will be delicious.

  13. Zainab @ Blahnik Baker says:

    What a great way to start the season. These cupcakes look amazing!! I hoarded a few cans this weekend because they start going fast once everyone catches on it’s pumpkin season. Wait…we never got back to the scarves. I’m obsessed with them 🙂

    1. I have a pantry FULL of pumpkin right now. The cans always disappear from the shelf around here! Yes – scarves. A lot of scarves, all the time. =)

  14. I’m so with you! I already made pumpkin pie oatmeal and pumpkin chili this month! Anxiously awaiting pumpkin spice lattes and cannot wait to bake an assortment of pumpkin goods.

    1. I need to make pumpkin chili this far. I’m looking forward to it!!

  15. Faith @ Pixie Dust Kitchen says:

    My favorite part about fall is pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. These will be perfect for my roommates and my mid-morning pumpkin spice latte runs!

    1. I love love (love!) pumpkin spice lattes. Yum!

  16. Reba - Not So Perfect Life says:

    I hate to say it but I am so ready for Fall 2013!!! I’m with you pumpkin 24/7, 365…

    1. all pumpkin, all the time. 😉

  17. Nora (Buttercream Fanatic) says:

    Hooray for pumpkin! I broke down and bought a can of it over the weekend and, I swear, the checkout lady looked at me funny. She must not bake. Thanks for validating my obsessive, seasonally-inappropriate need for pumpkin!!

    1. She definitely doesn’t bake like we do. 🙂

  18. Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner says:

    Hello pumpkin cooking season! These cupcakes look gorgeous and delicious…as always. 🙂
    Pinned to make!

    1. Thanks for pinning Tina!!=

  19. Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies says:

    Wait, we’re making pumpkin recipes already? I kind of agree, though, I’m okay eating pumpkin 12 months out of the year!

    1. Yes! Pumpkin is happening. 😉 I can’t fight it any longer!

  20. It’s time for pumpkin, YAY! I love the sound of these, Sally. The frosting looks incredible!

  21. I agree pumpkin season should be all year round!!

  22. Jess @ On Sugar Mountain says:

    AGH SALLY I’M SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU USING PUMPKIN! heehee I wait around for Autumn all year long, and these look to-die-for!

    1. Thanks so much Jess!

  23. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen says:

    Fellow pumpkin lover here…and, I love that you added chocolate chips and a decadent chocolate frosting to your cupcake/muffins, girl! I just adore pumpkin and chocolate together. I agree with you…pumpkin is a favorite year ’round. Whoever thinks it should be enjoyed only during the fall/winter months is highly mistaken! Thanks for sharing, Sally. Pinning! xo

    1. Thanks so much Stacy – and thanks for pinning!

  24. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says:

    You’re killing me with the pumpkin already!!! I’m craving fall in such a serious way.

  25. As an Aussie who didn’t grow up eating sweet pumpkin I still psychologically struggle with the idea of eating pumpkin with chocolate (I’ve only eaten it roasted with a side of meat!) but your photographs are entirely convincing! Mmm, frosting 🙂 Looks so delicious Sally! xx

    1. Oh gosh Laura, you have to try it with chocolate! 🙂

  26. This recipe looks AMAZING but here in New Zealand there is really no way of getting Libbys shipped here without it being ridiculously expensive.. any tips on how to make it from scratch?

    1. Alice, here is a helpful tutorial for how to make homemade pumpkin puree: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/10/make-your-own-pumpkin-puree/

  27. I love pumpkin as well! I’ve been sneaking fall into my office treats the past few weeks, with cinnamon rolls and oatmeal cookies. Maybe it’s time for pumpkin!

    1. mmm cinnamon rolls and oatmeal cookies – two of my favorites 🙂

  28. Maggie @ Sunnyside Up Smile says:

    Mhmm this looks like a winner Sally! Pumpkin and chocolate are 2 of my most favorite things and I consider all 12 months pumpkin season just like you ;). I love putting it in oatmeals, smoothies, muffins and of course- pumpkin bread! I’m glad you used all-purpose for these muffins. That’s sure to compliment the moist texture of the pumpkin. So often pumpkin muffins are ruined if you try to use too much whole wheat flour because it makes the muffins so dense and dry. Blech! Can’t wait to try these. No doubt they will become an autumn staple in my house 😉

    1. I knwo EXACTLY what you mean about using WW flour and pumpkin together! Yes, the all-purpose is your best bet in this recipe. 🙂 Thanks Maggie!

  29. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says:

    Bring on the pumpkin! I just wish it would actually get cold here in Arizona! These look so yummy!

  30. Yes! Pumpkin recipes at last. I love this time of year just like you Sally, especially the baking side of it. I’m already stocking up on my pumpkin puree. Great recipe 🙂

    1. I’ve already stocked up on my pumpkin! And I have no doubt that you love baking with pumpkin too. Thanks Laura!

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