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. 

Print

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 (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

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

175 Comments

  1. So envy that you can make pumpkin desserts all the time! One can of pumpkin cost more than the whole batch of cupcakes in where i live….. and I am too lazy to make my own pumpkin puree lol :p Nice recipes and photos! xx

  2. 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?

    1. I’ve made them with white whole wheat flour before, Jessica – and they are wonderful! Yes, you could also make this in a 9×2 round cake pan. Make sure you only fill the pan halfway though. It will rise quite a lot. I am unsure of the baking time.

  3. I’ve never tried chocolate and pumpkin together, but I think I need to try this. Thank you for sharing!

    xx
    youngmildandfree.wordpress.com

  4. You’d LOVE these cupcakes/muffins Amy! I love that they aren’t overly sweet (except when you add all that chocolate frosting, of course.) =)

  5. YAhhooo – bring on pumpkin recipe season!!! Let’s get this pumpkin part-ay started. And this is a winning way to kick it off, Sally. 😉 Good luck finishing your manuscript – I absolutely can’t wait to see the finished product.

  6. I’m with you. I could eat pumpkin treats all year long. Pumpkin reminds of of cozy pjs and a warm fireplace. These cupcakes look delicious.

  7. There is a pumpkin chocolate chip cake that I make for my sister every year and these cupcakes just may have to be my new twist on that tradition this fall! That frosting looks incredible Sally!

  8. Lol. Sally, nooo! See, now that you’ve posted something pumpkiny, every other blogger will cave in and summer will be over. Nooo! 😉

    But you get a pass since every month is pumpkin month for you. 😀

    These look awesome! And that frosting?! Oh my gosh.

  9. Hi Sally,
    I am German, love to bake and I am always looking for something a little …. not so German – just to have a different taste, something new, something sprecial – so just a few weeks ago I discovered your site. – to make a loooong story short – I love it. Today I tried the pumpkin cupcakes with fresh pumkin – they were delicious!!! Sometimes I have to adjust to the German possibilities but so far – woderful recipies!! Thanks a lot!
    Claudia

    1. Oh Claudia that is fantastic! I am so glad to hear you loved these cupcakes AND so glad that you found my website. It’s always nice to try something new. Thank you so much for reporting back and let me know what you try next!

  10. 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!!

  11. Made these tonight- Delicious! However, I like the cupcakes better plain, but love the frosting! I am wondering if it’ll be ok if I freeze it? My sons birthday in next week and I’d love to use the remaining frosting for cake or cupcakes?

    1. Hi Christina! I’ve never tried to freeze this frosting before to be honest. I much prefer to make it fresh. I feel it would just taste so much better. However, you can certainly give it a try. It should be OK freezing for 1 week. Let it sit at room temperature to thaw completely before using.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

      1. Thanks Sally! I divided the batter between 4 mini loaf pans, so I’m going to start by doubling the time and see where they are after that.

  14. 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

  15. 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!

    1. 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.

  16. 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 !

    1. 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.

      1. 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 !

    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!

  17. 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.
    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-apple-streusel-muffins/

    Thanks for your time!

    1. 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!

      1. 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!

  18. 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 🙂

  19. 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

  20. 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!

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

    Thanks!

    1. 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?

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