These pumpkin cupcakes with cake mix are laced with chocolate chips and are soft, moist, and delicious. Top with your favorite frosting and festive sprinkles.
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Table of Contents
- About Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cupcakes
- What’s in these pumpkin cupcakes?
- What frosting should you use?
- Why should you coat chocolate chips with some of the dry ingredients?
- Pumpkin Puree vs. Pumpkin Pie Filling
- Can You Still Use Pumpkin Pie Filling?
- Can you make these cupcakes in advance?
- Can you freeze these pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes?
- How long do cupcakes last?
- Notes & tips for chocolate chip pumpkin cupcakes
- How to make pumpkin cupcakes with cake mix
- Recipe Details
About Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cupcakes
Fall is the best time for comforting treats, and these tasty pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes are no exception.
Plus, these are cake mix cupcakes, meaning you can get to all the chocolate chip and pumpkin goodness in a fraction of the prep time of a standard cupcake.
What’s in these pumpkin cupcakes?
To make a batch of these chocolate chip infused pumpkin cupcakes, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- White cake mix – These cupcakes strive to make things easier by adapting boxed chocolate cake mix into moist cupcakes. I chose white cake mix to let the pumpkin flavor shine through, but you could also use yellow, butter pecan, spiced, or chocolate cake mix.
- Water, unsalted butter, and eggs – Classic baking ingredients for rounding out the cake mix.
- Pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice – The stars of the show! These delicious cupcakes get their iconic orange hue and fall-themed flavor from these ingredients.
- Frosting and sprinkles – Use any type that you’d like! I used store-bought chocolate frosting, but you could also use vanilla, cinnamon, or maple.
What frosting should you use?
This recipe does not include a homemade frosting, but fear not! You can easily use store-bought frosting OR make your own custom frosting for your perfect flavor combination. And if you’re not sure what might go well with these pumpkin cupcakes, I’ve put together a list of my top frosting recommendations (below) to pair with them:
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- Marshmallow Fluff (the homemade type works great as frosting!)
- Simple Vanilla Buttercream
- Spiced Brown Buttercream Frosting
- Caramel Buttercream Frosting
- Maple Mascarpone Frosting
Why should you coat chocolate chips with some of the dry ingredients?
Have you ever had a baked good with chocolate chips baked inside, but noticed that the chips seemed to have “melted” into the dough? You can clearly see where the chocolate chip was, but the chip is no longer a “chip” – it’s just a small spot of flavor. In fact, the chip might have melted so much that you may not notice a separate spot of flavor at all.
This is a common problem in baking, but there’s an easy way to avoid it:
By coating the chips in some of the dry ingredients (or just some flour) before baking.
Now, this isn’t a fool proof plan – sometimes the chips will still melt and fuse with all the batter around it – but hopefully, most of the chips will remain contained. This means that when you bite into the baked good, you’ll be able to experience the two separate flavors instead of the flavors being fused together.
Pumpkin Puree vs. Pumpkin Pie Filling
When it comes to holiday baking, you’re going to be faced with two types of canned pumpkin in the baking aisle:
Pumpkin Puree vs. Pumpkin Pie Filling.
And while these types might seem interchangeable, there is a slight (yet significant) difference.
With pumpkin puree, the only contents are cooked and mashed pumpkin (or a variety of winter gourds), with no added flavors or spices. Pumpkin pie filling is made with cooked and mashed pumpkin, too, but it also has flavor added, typically with pumpkin pie spice.
The key difference here is convenience. If you don’t have (or don’t want to buy) pumpkin pie spice, using pumpkin pie filling can save you some time and effort; you simply add it to the recipe and skip measuring the spices. However, it does limit your ability to control the taste, and if you’re using the pumpkin pie filling with other flavors, there’s no way to guarantee how they’ll interact.
This is why you’ll see many homemade recipes use pumpkin puree (which, again, is just the gourds, no added flavor) and season and spice the recipe by hand as needed. It is a tad more work but it also gives you more control over the flavor of your fall treats.
Can You Still Use Pumpkin Pie Filling?
If you only have pumpkin pie filling on hand – and trust me, I’ve been there, having grabbed the wrong thing at the store – then yes, you could substitute it in this recipe for the pumpkin puree. Just make sure to omit the pumpkin pie spice from the recipe so that the cupcakes don’t come out with “too much” fall flavor.
Can you make these cupcakes in advance?
Certainly! To ensure the best presentation, I would recommend making them up to 24 hours in advance.
Can you freeze these pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes?
Yes, you totally can!
To freeze these cupcakes:
- Bake cupcakes per recipe instructions, then allow to cool completely. Note: for best and consistent results, do not decorate cupcakes before freezing. Frosting types and consistency may vary and could impact how long or well the cupcakes will last while frozen.
- Wrap cupcakes in plastic wrap. You can either wrap them individually or arrange the cupcakes in a group (single layer) and wrap them together.
- Place wrapped cupcakes in a freezer bag or a storage container with a sealable lid.
- Cupcakes can be frozen for up to three months.
How long do cupcakes last?
When stored in a sealed container on the counter, cupcakes can last anywhere from two to four days. Note: this time may vary depending on the type of frosting used (and some frostings even require refrigeration). So please be sure to check the storage instructions of your chosen frosting, too.
Notes & tips for chocolate chip pumpkin cupcakes
- Make sure you have enough muffin tins to make 24 cupcakes (total yield of this recipe, unless the serving size is adjusted in the recipe card below).
How to make pumpkin cupcakes with cake mix
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – Add the chocolate chips and a little bit of the white cake mix (about one tablespoon) to a small bowl, then toss them until the chips are coated in cake mix. This is an optional step, but it should help keep the chocolate chips from bleeding too much into the batter while baking. Once finished, set this bowl aside.
Step 3 – Add the pumpkin puree to the batter, then mix it again until incorporated.
Step 4 – Finish up by adding the coated chocolate chips to the batter, then gently fold them into the batter.
Step 6 – Bake!
Step 7 – Let cupcakes cool completely, then decorate with fall-themed frosting or festive sprinkles.
Step 8 – Enjoy!
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cupcakes
- In a small bowl, add the chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of cake mix, then toss until the chips are coated. Set bowl side.1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, 15 ounces white cake mix
- Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), add the remaining cake mix, water, butter, eggs, and pumpkin spice and mix on medium speed until combined, about 2-3 minutes.15 ounces white cake mix, 3/4 cup water, 1/3 cup unsalted butter, 3 large eggs, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Keeping speed on medium, add the pumpkin and mix for 1 minute.1 cup pumpkin puree
- Remove bowl from mixer. Add chocolate chips to bowl and use a spatula to gently fold them into the batter.
- Pour cupcake batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cavities about 3/4 of the way full (about 3-4 tablespoons per.)
- Bake cupcakes for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let rest for 5 minutes in pan, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Decorate with frosting and sprinkles as desired.frosting and sprinkles
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.