Big Simple Chocolate Cupcakes

This is a repost. With all my technical issues and site moving over the last couple of years I lost a few ideas. This one has prompted more emails then any other! Originally I made them for the toddler’s 2nd birthday.  They came out better then I expected, moist, yummy and HUGE!

These are great to make in a pinch and by replacing the oil and eggs with pumpkin you are reducing the fat and adding a bit of fiber. Don’t get me wrong they aren’t by any means “healthy” but they lighten up an old favorite and kids love them! ;~)

To make them more festive without icing, add sprinkles before baking!

Big Simple Chocolate Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Beat the cake mix, pumpkin and water for about 2-3 minutes.  The batter will seem light and airy.

Spray 2 6-cup muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray. Scoop the batter into the muffin pan and top with sprinkles.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.

I made 12 large cupcakes but you could make 24 smaller to cut the calories in half, just reduce the cooking time a bit.

Approx Nutritional Information per serving
Servings Amt per Serving
12 1 Cupcake
Calories Fat Fiber WWPs
145 1g 2g old: 3 new: 4
Sugar Sat Fat Carbs Protein
16g 1g 32g 2g
Posted in: 3 WWP, 3 WWPP, Dessert Ideas, Food Photos, Muffins Ideas, Toddler Approved
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40 Comments and 0 Replies

  1. Shannan

    Oh, this is the first time I’m seeing these, and I’m loving the idea! I might make a “frosting” out of some sugar free cool whip and cocoa powder (or s/f, f/f pudding or something chocolatey), since we’re always stocked and I love frosting. :)

    Thanks for the recipe! I HAVE to try these!!! (drooling)

  2. Annette

    I make these too without the water and make them smaller so they are kind of like a brownie bite. I put a few mini chips on each one before baking. Mine bake for about 15 min at 400. You can also find reduced sugar cake mixes to decrease the sugar a bit.Yum!

  3. Jenni Shaver it! I bet these would be really delish. I have a texas cupcake mold..I bet these would bake perfect in. Now.. if only I could get the self control to limit myself to 1. I think I would probably need to freeze them and just take out as needed to limit the temptation. I bet they turn out really moist too. Thanks for sharing.

  4. roni

    Hally – Actually you can replace the water and pumpkin with a can of diet soda and I’ve been thinking of trying vanilla with orange! Wouldn’t that be pretty? :~)

  5. Shana

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am making these in cake form for my toddlers 2nd birthday. I made them before but couldn’t find the recipe. Have also made it with spice cake mix as well. Thanks again for re-posting it!!!

  6. Emily

    I saw a recipe like this one before, replacing all the ingredients and just using pumpkin. (but it called for no water) My muffins didn’t rise at all, and they tasted more pumpkinny than chocolatey. Perhaps I’ll try it again, only adding the water to it this time.

  7. Pubsgal

    Wow, I like the idea of putting the sprinkles on before baking. My son’s elementary school is encouraging people to bring healthier birthday treats, so something like this looks like a good bet.

  8. Caitlin

    That is so crazy! I just blogged about a recipe I found online that we’re pumpkin muffins!! I made them this morning and they we’re fantastic. All this recipe calls for is 15 oz. of pumpkin and any kind of cake mix. I used one egg as well and used spice cake, and they turned out wonderfully! Sounds like almost the same exact recipe! :D I highly suggest these and your version sounds terrific!

  9. karen

    I love these!!!!!!!!
    Spice cake is good too.
    Carrot Cake was ok but I am not use to a “carrot cake mix” taste.
    If you have not tried these, may not be all that healthy but oh sooooo good,:) :) :)
    thanks for the correct WW Pts.

  10. Debbie

    Roni, these look so good….but that is a problem Im having…Im afraid to eat anything that “looks” good. Im afraid if I allow myself to indulge in sweet treats, that I will start gaining again. Any thoughts?

  11. erin

    I have made these for years. I use a spice cake mix and add cloves and nutmeg. I crave them this time of year. I’ve actually never added water. Just the mix and pumpkin. Water might help them to be a little lighter.

    I will make these with the kiddos today! Thanks again!

  12. Sandy

    I make these all the time and my kids love them! I have also taken them for potlucks,etc. and always get comments about how moist they are.

    You should do a re-post of your carrot cake bread. I actually make that receipe a lot too, but I make it into muffins. I find it easier to grab and it’s more portion controlled for me that way. It’s the perfect time of year for this recipe. I love fall!


  13. Shannan

    Okay, I’m going to try using lemon cake mix (hubby loves lemon anything) with the can of soda that you mentioned. If it turns out weird, at least it’ll still be edible in some way (I’m NOT throwing out good cake!). I don’t care what it look like. :) I’m going to try using diet A&W cream soda. This will be interesting!

  14. roni

    Debbie – You have to start trusting yourself! What I do… Make them enjoy it and then give away the leftovers OR put them directly in the freezer! :~)

  15. Shannan

    Okay, the cake is in the oven. I decided to use a bundt pan because of the way we’d eat it. I used lemon cake mix with a can of diet cream soda and a drained 11-oz can of mandarin oranges (didn’t use the juice). I’ll have to let you know how it worked out. We’re probably going to try it with some light whipped topping. There’s probably a way to use the juice from the oranges in place of some of the soda or something, too. :)

  16. Shannan

    Okay, I didn’t want to wait until we actually tasted the cake later tonight (but it smells great and is moist and light!). I came up with a topping for the bundt cake, using sugar free (it can be light or fat free or regular) whipped topping mixed with some lemon extract and the leftover juice from the mandarin oranges I used in the cake. I re-froze it and plan on letting it sit out a little before serving it like ice cream on top of the cake. All in all, a cake slice is 4 pts, and the topping is 1. The recipe you gave us is so versatile, and I’d never have thought of using a can of pop! Can you tell I’m excited about this? lol

  17. Sandy

    Roni – No. The “Simple Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves” are yummy, but the recipe I’m talking about is called “Carrot Cake Bread”. I printed a copy of it last September and it calls for a box of carrot cake mix, can of pumpkin, 2 egg whites, 5-6 grated baby carrots and a dash of cinnamon. I add 1/4 cup of water when I make it into muffins. We love that receipe!


  18. Shannan

    Okay, we had the lemon bundt cake last night, made with the diet cream soda. The flavor was really good overall, except I think using the lemon cake mix instead of chocolate made it taste a little “pre-made”, if you can
    imagine what I’m talking about. There was something in it that must be disguised when you use the oil and eggs, a fake flavoring that wasn’t the lemon. It was almost like a baking powder flavor. The oranges were really good in it, though. It was VERY moist. So much so that it stuck a little to the plate I had the whole cake on. The cool whip “frosting” we ended up using on the side like ice cream, was SO good. I added lemon extract and the leftover mandarin juice and refroze it, and it was like having a gourmet ice cream.

    Overall, I’d say that if you’re using the lemon (I can’t speak for yellow or white), make sure you add something sweet, fruity or maybe vanilla to the batter, or you’ll end up with a powdery flavor in parts. It’s hard to describe. Maybe I didn’t mix it well enough. Odd. :) I can’t wait to try the chocolate, topped with a sugar free caramel ice cream topping we have.

  19. Tam

    You’re right, these must be HUGE made in a batch of 12. I made them into 24 and I still find them a decent size. On first taste, the hubby wasn’t a huge fan – he thought they had kind of a “powdery” taste. However, like fine wine, they must age well because after they sat overnight and he had one yesterday, he deemed them “good.” I actually don’t even bother with any “icing” – I think they taste just fine, like a cake-y type of muffin without and perfect for a light, after-dinner dessert.

  20. Shannan

    I found, like Tam, with the lemon bundt, that the powdery-ness seemed to go away the next day and the next. It’s so good after that first day. We froze the leftovers, and now we just defrost what we need. It’s lasting a long time!

  21. Katrina

    I’ve recently been using pumpkin in things just like this. I made brownies, 1 box of mix, 1 cup pumpkin, that’s it. The cupcakes look yummy. I also did a cake mix, but with no added water, I’ll bet that helped make them more cake like and not so dense as mine was.

  22. KC

    Oh wow, these were great! They were definately huge too. They came out moist and dense, but not quite sweet enough. Maybe that was the type of cake mix I used though!

  23. Hana

    I tried this recipe this weekend and mine came out SUPER moist…overly moist in my opinion. They were falling apart when I picked them up! I let them cool completely and everything, but still falling apart.

    They tasted great, don’t get me wrong – will play with it a little and try the recipe with no water next time.

  24. roni


    The water definitely is optional (I should add that). Sorry you have a hard time with them. Try an egg white or two, it will help bind it a bit more!


  25. karen

    I made these again..
    It was a reduced fat Devil’s food cake mix
    they turned out the same as a reg. cake mix. Tasted just as good.
    I did add the water.
    I always make 18 cup cakes still very nice size cup cake.

    I am anxious to see your carrot cake bread.

  26. Michele

    I have made these before, and want to try them with a different cake mix also. We froze what we weren’t going to use quickly and they were perfect! I love pumpkin and thought it would be great with a spice cake mix also…Speaking of pumpkin…Roni, have you got other recipes that call for pumpkin that are dessert type things posted in here in GreenLiteBites?? Always looking for that kind of stuff!

  27. Brianne

    I just made these tonight. I was able to get 15 cupcakes on this batch and will try for 18 slightly smaller ones on the next batch. I have 2 girlfriends on WW, too, so they are going to LURVE these! Thanks, Roni!

  28. Laura N

    These were amazing. I had no idea the pumpkin would make them so moist. I’m going to try it next with a spice cake. The kids loved putting the sprinkles on, even they made a big mess. And they have no idea they are eating pumpkin.

  29. Celeste

    I have to admitt I was skeptical. Chocolate cake/muffins are my favorite.

    This recipie really delivered! Great taste, great texture. They baked up big and fluffy! My 5 yr old loved them. I ate 2 and blew my points for the day. But it was worth it! :O) LOL!

  30. Aime

    Another terrific, quick recipe. Thank you so much Roni. I made these for my son’s birthday. My husband and I just tasted one fresh out of the oven. Yum!

  31. Katie

    I LOVE, LOVE these! These are a big hit in my house and I’m all about size so that they are huge is a big bonus :) THanks for all you do Roni!

  32. Jessica

    Roni…are these supposed to be this FUDGY?! Oh my goodness did these hit the spot. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of sprinkles on the top and they are so pretty. These are moist enough that you don’t need any frosting although it is tempting…

    Thanks for such a delectable chocolately FUDGY treat!

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