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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cocoa Buttercream

Your new go-to pumpkin cupcake fix is finally here! Complete with my favorite cocoa buttercream, this cupcake is soft, sweet, and spiced with just enough pumpkin flavor to satisfy any pumpkin-lover in your life (including yourself). 😉

I know the world doesn't need another pumpkin recipe... or does it?! I'm excited today to share another one of my cake recipes (which as you know, all my cupcake recipes can be transferred to a cake recipe with a higher baking time - just trying to make your life much easier. Sometimes you just want to make some quite cupcakes instead of pamper an entire cake - I totally get it). This recipe is sure to be one of the classics you'll always bake and enjoy every year when pumpkin season come around! 

My favorite way to eat pumpkin is either in pumpkin pie smothered in whipped cream, or in a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie (have you tried these yet?! They're insane). So naturally, these had to have some kind of chocolate component to them. You can also toss in some chocolate chips right into the batter if you'd like (make sure they're minis, though). 

The recipe calls for an entire can of canned pumpkin - make sure you're using canned pumpkin and not canned pumpkin pie. Next, to amp up the pumpkin flavors even more, I used some pumpkin pie spice. I also used my usual add-to-the-cake-mix ingredients along with a yellow cake mix this time. The results were gorgeous! I was so happy with how beautifully they baked up in the oven, and especially loved the texture (definitely more of a cupcake than a muffin, which is what I was going for). 

Next comes the frosting. OH MAN, this frosting. I could talk all day about it. I use it all the time and love it to the moon and back. It has a thicker texture, and more of a brownie-mix taste than anything. It doesn't use any melted chocolate, but lots of cocoa (which is why I can't bring myself to call it chocolate frosting - it's lots and lots of cocoa instead). I used a Wilton 1M tip to quickly add a few lovely rosettes to the cupcakes, and then topped it all off with some mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (love Ghiradelli ones), and this cupcake was born! 

I served these, along with my Apple Cider Cinnamon Cupcakes, and it was a close tie as to which was their favorites. However, I had more people ask for this recipe, so here you go, friends! 

Happy baking, and as always, make sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see your baking creations! It totally makes my day, and I can't wait for you to bite into these beauties! 

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cocoa Buttercream
makes 24 cupcakes


pumpkin cupcakes:
15oz canned pumpkin
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
3 whole eggs
1/2 Cup sour cream
1/2 Cup buttermilk
1/3 Cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 box Duncan Hines Yellow Cake mix

cocoa buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream 
3-6 cups powdered sugar

mini chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prep cupcake tins (one pan of 24 cups, or 2 pans of 12 cups) with cupcake liners and set aside. 
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, pumpkin spice, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. When thoroughly combined, sift in the yellow cake mix and stir until just combined. Don't overmix, but make sure all the dry ingredients have been incorporated. 
3. Fill cupcake liners a teeny more than half full (there should be enough for all 24, so make sure they're all evenly filled). Bake for 12-15 minutes until centers barely spring back. Don't overbake. 
4. Let cool in cupcake pan for 1 minute, then carefully remove them and place them on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. 

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip up butter and cocoa powder until they are creamed together. Add in vanilla, salt, and heavy cream. Slowly, about a half cup at a time, add in powdered sugar on medium speed. Add in more heavy cream for a thinner frosting, and more powdered sugar for a thicker consistency. Taste and adjust to your liking. 

Frost with a Wilton 1M piping tip, and top with a few mini chocolate chips. Enjoy! 

Recipe source: Baking with Blondie 


  1. Assuming this would work for two 8" rounds as well? Love the cupcakes, they're adorable!


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