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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. 

chocolate cupcake in purple wrapper with vanilla frosting and colorful sprinkles.


Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Cupcakes

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. 

ingredients in pumpkin chocolate cupcakes.

Ingredients Needed

  • Chocolate fudge cake mix or Devil’s food cake mix: Any chocolate flavor cake mix or brand will work
  • Pumpkin puree: Makes the cupcakes super moist – make sure you use puree not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Vanilla Buttercream: For the frosting! You can use my homemade vanilla frosting recipe, or buy store-bought! 

How to Make Pumpkin Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 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!
chocolate cupcake in colorful wrappers with vanilla frosting and colorful sprinkles.

Expert Tips

  • Since the pumpkin puree is there more for the texture rather than the flavor, you can add spices if you want more of that fall flavor. Check Recipe Notes.
  • Cupcakes are done baking when a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cupcake.
  • Fill your cupcake liners about ⅔ of the way full to get the perfect amount.
  • These are also great with chocolate ganache frosting or chocolate buttercream!

FAQs

Do these taste like pumpkin?

The pumpkin is mostly for moisture and body in these cupcakes – not for flavor. If you want a more fall-like cupcake, add pumpkin pie spice.

How do you know when cupcakes are done baking?

Cupcakes are done baking when a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cupcake.

chocolate cupcake in purple wrapper with vanilla frosting and colorful sprinkles.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

5 from 2 votes
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

Ingredients
 

For the Cupcakes

  • 1 approx 15 ounce box Chocolate Cake Mix
  • ¾ cup (177ml) water
  • cup (79ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

For the Frosting

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter , softened
  • 4 cups (452g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-3 tablespoons (15-45ml) heavy whipping cream
  • Food Coloring and sprinkles if desired

Instructions

  • 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

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Last Updated on August 12, 2023



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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35 Comments

  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.
    Whoops.