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These Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes are so moist with a rich chocolate flavor. They’re also so easy to make with just five ingredients!

Cake mix is the secret ingredient but no one will ever guess you used it because they taste like they are made completely from scratch. 

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chocolate cupcake in purple liner with sprinkles

Chocolate pumpkin cupcakes with cake mix are the cupcake recipe you need for all of the last-minute dessert requests. You know, like at the start of the school year when the demand for baked treats goes off the charts and you find yourself with only a few hours to pull something – anything! – together.

That’s been me many times and more than once I’ve been tempted to just pick up cupcakes at the store, but then I figured out a way to doctor-up cake mix to make the best pumpkin chocolate cupcakes. They are so easy to make.

They’re not just for fall either. Yes, they have pumpkin but you don’t really taste it. Instead, the pumpkin puree makes them so moist and delicious. They taste homemade and, unless you feel like spilling the beans, no one will think they were made with cake mix. 

inside of chocolate cupcake

5-Ingredient Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate

It doesn’t get any easier than five ingredients and one bowl! The batter is so quick to make – you’ll have them in the oven in no time.

  • Chocolate fudge cake mix or Devil’s food cake mix
  • Water
  • Oil
  • Eggs
  • Pumpkin puree
ingredients for pumpkin cupcakes

Unlike other pumpkin desserts you don’t need to add spices to the batter. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger are what make things like pumpkin bread taste… well, like pumpkin. 

Without the spices, pumpkin puree has a very mild flavor so it disappears into the cupcakes. What you end up with is moist, rich chocolate cupcakes without having to make them from scratch thanks to the cake mix.

However if you WANT to add spices, to make them more fall-like, I’ve noted that in the recipe!

chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting and sprinkles on white background

How to Make Pumpkin Chocolate Cupcakes

This recipe is so easy! All you do is combine the cake mix, water, oil and eggs in a large bowl and beat them with a hand mixer for a couple of minutes. Add the pumpkin and mix again until the batter is combined.

Fill your cupcake liners about 2/3 full with batter, bake the cupcakes for 18 to 22 minutes, and then let them cool completely before frosting them.

chocolate cupcake in purple liner being frosted

Don’t Forget the Buttercream Frosting

The other way to up your cake mix cupcake game is with the best homemade buttercream frosting. This recipe is one of my favorites because it’s easy to make and goes with everything. I think it’s the heavy whipped cream that I add – it just gives it a little something extra special.

  • Softened butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Heavy whipping cream

You can also add food coloring if you want. For the pumpkin chocolate cupcakes, I usually keep it white, but you can customize it with different colors.

Beat the butter until it’s nice and creamy. Add the sugar one cup at a time. Then, add the vanilla.

Add one tablespoon of the cream and mix. Depending on the consistency you want you can keep adding cream, but only do a little at a time. At this point, you can add the food coloring if you are using it.

I added colorful sprinkles on my cupcakes, but feel free to decorate them how you like!

The first time I made these I had to remind myself they were made with cake mix! They are so soft and rich, and that buttercream frosting just adds the perfect final touch. Who knew five ingredients and one bowl could make something so delicious? I can’t wait for you to try them!

Other Pumpkin Recipes

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inside of chocolate cupcake

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

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Make Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with cake mix! This easy recipe uses pumpkin and chocolate cake mix to make the best pumpkin cupcakes with buttercream frosting!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 24 cupcakes
Serving Size 1 cupcake


For the Cupcakes

  • 1 approx 15 ounce box Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

For the Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • Food Coloring and sprinkles if desired


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners. (I got 18 cupcakes.)
  • Mix cake mix, water, oil, and eggs in a large bowl with a hand mixer for about 2 minutes. Add pumpkin and mix until combined. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full (I use an ice cream scoop for this).
  • Bake 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick insterted comes out with just a few little crumbs sticking to it. Cool completely before frosting.
  • To make your frosting, beat butter with mixer (hand or stand, your choice) until creamy. Slowly beat in powdered sugar (1 cup at a time). Beat in vanilla. Add 1 tablespoon of cream and mix, then add more cream as necessary to get the consistency you want. Tint with food coloring, if desired.
  • Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with (or dip in) sprinkles. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Want a fall-like cupcake that tastes like pumpkin? Add 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice to the cupcake batter.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 1868IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Make Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with cake mix! This easy recipe uses pumpkin and chocolate cake mix to make the best pumpkin cupcakes with buttercream frosting!

Last Updated on August 16, 2020

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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  1. I used to say yes to everything, but lately I have learned that saying no to some things really isn’t a bad idea. Last night we had a neighborhood meeting over at our church and they had asked me Tuesday to bake cookies…now usually I can’t say no to baking…but this week has been crazy busy. And you know what, saying no felt good. Kind of. After seeing these awesome looking cupcakes and OBC, I’m glad you haven’t learned how to say no. Pumpkin and chocolate is such a great combo, and whipping cream in frosting? Makes it so light and fluffy. YUM!

    1. Thanks Jocelyn. I’m trying really to be better. Like, today. I wish I’d said “no” to working in Jordan’s class for 2 hours, lol! Have a great day!

  2. I (along with many of the gals here, I’m sure!) am precisely the same way–could I buy some peanut butter and bring it to the potluck as a spread for some amazing homemade bread? Probably. Will I skimp out on the ten minutes I really can’t spare to make it at home instead as I’m rushing out the door? Um, no. I’d really rather run the risk of running ridiculously late *and* possibly tripping over my own feet in my haste to get to the potluck in time than buy it from the store. Moral: I hear you, Dorothy–c’est les woes of being the officially-recognized kitchen fairy!

  3. These are super cute and the pictures are fantastic!
    I don’t love pumpkin either but this sounds more like chocolate with superyummyfrosting. Mmmmm
    Thanks for being a yes person- we all loved OBC 🙂

    1. Oh, it totally tastes like chocolate. I was a little bummed I didn’t taste the pumpkin – but they were so moist and good it didn’t matter! 🙂 And thanks!

  4. hello – I am a HUGE “yes” person
    so much so that my son often tells me “mom, you know it’s okay to say no sometimes”
    advice from a 12 year old 🙂

    these cupcakes didn’t perhaps make a blog con appearance?
    great pic

  5. I’m envious, our elementary and preschool no longer celebrate holidays at school so no goodies to send 🙁 And I love to bake! So I’ll be making some for us here at home. Thanks for posting this, can’t wait to try them with the pumpkin 🙂

    1. I can’t believe that; some of the schools in our district don’t do Halloween! What??? Sad. Thank you!

  6. I’m totally a “yes mom”, also. I volunteered to bring the Halloween treats next week in the middle of a huge work project/deadline…and I have to admit, I’ve been toying with the idea of just purchasing something. But that sort of seems wrong somehow? I could totally do these cupcakes, though–so cute, and I bet so yummy moist from the pumpkin! Good pics, too!

  7. mmm, love using whipping cream in frosting!!! The cupcakes turned out cute! Way to go “yes, mom”

  8. Yum!

    I know EXACTLY what you mean about not being able to buy store-bought baked goods. Lately, I feel guilty if I go anywhere social and don’t make something. It’s hard to shake the rep!

    (And I’m a yes girl too. And WHAT is it with things never evening out??!!? Feast or famine!)

  9. I’m totally a “yes” person too. I’m glad you made these though because they look delicious! I may just have to add pumpkin to my next batch of cupcakes to help make them moist. =)

  10. Confession: I did some poor planning concerning my classroom Halloween party. We have 7 kids bringing cupcakes, 1 bringing pie, 1 bringing caramel apples, and a few bringing cookies.