Friday, October 22, 2010

Week 4 - Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcake

Chocolate pumpkin cake with chocolate chips, topped with cream cheese frosting.

This is the easiest cake you will ever make. I've shared this recipe more times than I can count. It's delicious and adaptable and cheap and easy, and I love it.

This cupcake is not a light and fluffy cake. It is dense and moist and substantial. It's also a great way to sneak a veggie into your kids.  I usually make these without frosting and call them muffins, but cream cheese frosting gives it that little extra that takes it from muffin to cupcake. Really, what is the difference between a muffin and a cupcake? It's frosting.

You need three ingredients. Seriously. I would not kid about this. You can even leave out the chocolate chips and have a two ingredient recipe.  I know, right?  It's also a very versatile recipe. You can use spice cake instead of chocolate and have pumpkin spice cake. You can use yellow cake and really bring out the taste of the pumpkin. You can add nuts instead of chocolate chips, or white chocolate instead of semi-sweet. You can do anything with this recipe. Make it yours.

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes/Muffins

  • 1 box cake mix, chocolate (or spice... or yellow... make what you like)
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350.  Dump the can of pumpkin into a medium bowl. Open the cake mix and take a tablespoon of the mix out, stirring it into your chocolate chips (this keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cakes). Dump the rest of the mix on top of the pumpkin and stir until well mixed.

At this point, the batter is THICK. It's like brownie batter, only thicker. If you have trouble stirring, you can add a little water. I usually add about 1/4 cup of water to make it easier to mix.

Stir in the chocolate chips and fill your cupcake papers. This batter doesn't rise a lot, so I fill mine a little over 3/4 of the way full to get a nice, rounded top.  If you do not use papers, you must grease and flour your tins.  

Bake the cupcakes for about 20-25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when you gently touch them. The toothpick method doesn't work well with this cake because it is so moist, so just give the top a little nudge and see if it sinks. If it does, pop it back in for a few more minutes.  Cool completely in the tins before frosting.  This makes about 16 cupcakes. You can fill them less and squeeze a few more out of the recipe if you like.

At this point you can either eat them as they are, or you can frost them. If you're feeling plucky, you can do both. They have pumpkin in them... it's okay if you eat two at once. Or three.  I went with a cream cheese frosting, and it works with the pumpkin. You could also do chocolate frosting for a triple chocolate pumpkin cake!

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 8 oz block cream cheese, cold
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
Cut cold cream cheese into chunks and beat with softened butter until well mixed and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix. Slowly add powdered sugar, mixing after each addition just until mixed. Be careful not to over mix the frosting or it will break down and be too soft. When a good spreading/piping consistency is reached, stop mixing. If you want to add color, stir it in carefully by hand just until mixed. I used Wilton gel colors blue and rose to make this purple.

I dumped the entire bowl of frosting in a large ziploc bag and cut the corner off to pipe the frosting on these cupcakes. Stick on a spider ring and call it a Halloween cupcake. Easy peasy.

Make these, then eat them. Look at the rich, chocolate goodness. It's calling you.

There are more Halloween cupcakes coming this week, including Candy Corn. I'm making a couple hundred cupcakes for a Halloween party next weekend, so cupcakes will be taking over around here. Keep checking in for more decorating ideas, including how to make white chocolate spiderwebs!


  1. This sounds delicious! I think I will bake these with a friend today - we're having a little baking get-together. No frosting for me, though!

    I'm eagerly awaiting the candy corn cupcake!

  2. Good luck with them, Brittany! If you skip the frosting, you can dust the tops with a little powdered sugar to make them pretty. Try them with spice cake mix and chocolate chips, too!

    Candy corn cupcakes are coming up this week... I can't wait! :)

  3. I used to have a recipe very similar to this for Weight Watchers. It only used 1 C of pumpkin and some water though. I like the sound of yours better. I also liked to make them in a mini muffin pan and then the kids can have a few in their lunch.

  4. Julie, they come out great in a mini muffin pan, and you get a ton of them! I made the spice flavored ones in the mini pan and got around 60 of them out of one recipe.