These festive chocolate Halloween Cupcakes with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting are so easy to make and packed full of pumpkin spice! They are moist, rich, tender, and topped with the most unbelievable pumpkin frosting that no one will believe is dairy free! Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and more!
Free from: Dairy, casein, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, celery, sesame, mustard, lupin, sulfites, nightshades, tomatoes, and more
Optional free from: Wheat/Gluten, Corn (in vanilla, baking powder, and powdered sugar)
Want some more spooky recipes? Check out my Chocolate Skeleton Cookies (gluten free + vegan), Pumpkin Sugar Cookies (gluten free + dairy free), or a sweet non-alcoholic Witch’s Brew (blueberry lemonade)!
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Super Soft Cupcakes that are based on my ultimate gluten free and vegan chocolate cupcakes. These cupcakes are sweet, light, fluffy, and full of chocolate!
- Creamy Pumpkin Buttercream frosting that is full of pumpkin spice and vanilla, it tastes like fall.
- Easy to mix up by hand – no stand mixer required! A hand mixer is recommended for the frosting.
- Kids and Adults both love them!
- Super Allergy Friendly recipe that is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, and more!
This is a quick rundown of what you’ll need for these Halloween Cupcakes and the Pumpkin Frosting. For the full ingredients, complete with recipe measurements, please see the recipe card below. Allergy substitutions and variations are in the next section.
- Flour: You can use all purpose flour here. If you need gluten free, I recommend King Arthur Measure for Measure. See below for more info on gluten free.
- Cocoa Powder: I recommend using either a natural cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s) or a Dutch cocoa powder. A natural cocoa powder will result in cupcakes that are taller and a Dutch cocoa powder cupcakes will have a deeper and richer flavor. It’s up to you which you prefer!
- Sugar: Both white and brown sugar are used. You can replace the brown sugar with coconut sugar to reduce the amount of refined sugar in this recipe.
- Dairy free Milk + ACV: Mixing a good dairy free milk (soy milk is recommended but any will work) with some apple cider vinegar creates a vegan buttermilk to help the cupcakes rise and helps with the final texture.
- Flax Seeds + Leaveners: A combination of flaxseeds, baking powder, and baking soda help these cupcakes rise up and stay together.
- Oil + Applesauce: This helps to keep the cupcakes moist.
- Cinnamon: I love to add a dash of cinnamon to the chocolate cupcakes. It just elevates the flavor so much!
For the frosting you will need:
- Vegan Butter
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Powdered Sugar
If you need to make these cupcakes gluten free, make sure to use a good quality gluten free flour blend. I always recommend King Arthur Measure for Measure or if you need a gluten free flour that is nightshade free, you can check out my homemade gluten free flour!
Need to avoid corn? Make sure that your vanilla, baking powder, and powdered sugar are all corn free. For a list of my favorite brands, check out my shop page.
Here is just a quick overview on how to make the chocolate cupcakes and the pumpkin frosting. You’ll find the full written instructions, along with ingredient measurements, in the recipe card below.
How to Make the Cupcakes
Sift together the dry ingredients. This is important to make sure that all the leavening agents and the cocoa powder are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Whisk the wet ingredients together in another bowl and whisk until they are all combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and using a whisk, gently mix this together. Try not to over mix the cupcake batter. Even if you are making them gluten free, it’s really easy to overmix and that will turn them dense and they won’t rise up as much in the oven.
Transfer the batter into the lined cupcake tins and bake! I suggest filling them up about ⅔ of the way full. Bake them in the oven with the rack in the middle of the oven.
Tip! Don’t open the oven for the first 19 minutes of baking! This is when the cupcakes are still rising and any opening of the door can cause them to sink!
You’ll know the cupcakes are done when you insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake and only a crumb or two is left on the toothpick.
How to Make the Frosting
In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the softened vegan butter, pumpkin, spices, and vanilla. Mix this together until it’s well mixed. Then add the powdered sugar and tablespoon of dairy free milk, if needed. Mix this together for a good couple of minutes until it is light and fluffy.
If your frosting is too thick, add a little bit more dairy free milk, about 1 teaspoon at a time until it’s the consistency you want.
If your frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar until it’s the consistency you like.
How to Frost the Cupcakes
If you’ve never piped frosting before onto cupcakes, it can seem really scary, and not in the fun Halloween way! But it’s actually pretty simple and by the end, you’ll be a pro.
Start by filling your piping bag about halfway full of frosting. You want to be able to hold it in one hand comfortably. Clip the end of the bag shut so no frosting can escape.
Hold the piping bag in your hand and use the other hand to gently guide the frosting tip.
Start by squeezing the bag with the palm of your hand, not just your fingers!
You basically make a spiral with the frosting, slowly twirling the piping tip as you go up, laying the frosting on top of the previous layer to make the height of the frosting.
When you’ve swirled around to reach the top, stop squeezing the frosting bag and gently pull straight up.
Then, repeat for the remaining cupcakes!
- Don’t overfill the cupcakes. Filling them up about ⅔ to ¾ of the way full is all you need to fill. Any more and you’ll have a big muffin top!
- Let the cupcakes cool in the cupcake pan for about 10 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. This makes removing them from the paper liner much easier.
How to Store
Fridge: Since they have a buttercream frosting, I recommend that you store the cupcakes in a cupcake container or lightly cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Let the cupcakes rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving so that the frosting is easier to eat.
Freezer: Yes, you can store fully baked, cooled, and decorated cupcakes in the freezer. Store in a freezer safe container for up to 1 month. Allow the cupcakes to thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.
More Halloween Recipes
If you try these out, please leave a comment below! This provides helpful feedback to both me and other readers. And if you want more delicious, dietary friendly recipes you can subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!
- mixing bowls
- mixing spoons
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- hand mixer
- Piping bags (optional)
- Muffin pan
- Paper liners
- 1 cup dairy free milk I recommend soy milk or almond milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar can swap for white vinegar or lemon juice
- ⅔ cup white sugar
- ½ cup oil neutral flavored
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons applesauce unsweetened
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour can use gluten-free as needed
- 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pinch cinnamon optional
Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting
- ½ cup dairy free butter I recommend Earth Balance sticks
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon dairy free milk optional as needed
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C and line a cupcake tray with paper liners. Set this aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the dairy free milk and apple cider vinegar to make a vegan buttermilk. Set this aside.
- Mix the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients of flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon (if using).
- Whisk the wet ingredients. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients of dairy free milk, sugar, vanilla, applesauce, oil, and flaxseeds.
- Combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently whisk them together until a batter forms. Transfer the batter to the cupcake liners, filling the liners about ⅔ to ¾ of the way full. You should get 12 cupcakes.
- Bake. Bake the cupcakes uncovered for 21-22 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake should come out clean or with a crumb or two on the toothpick.
- Cool. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes in the hot cupcake tray. After 10 minutes, transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack until they are fully cooled.
- Make the pumpkin buttercream frosting. Once the cupcakes are cooled, begin the frosting. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix the room temperature vegan butter until creamy. Add in the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Mix again until incorporated. Finally, add the powdered sugar. Continue to mix the frosting on medium to high speed, adding in 1-2 tablespoons of dairy free milk to help combine the sugar into the butter. The buttercream will be light and fluffy when finished.
- Frost and serve. Using a knife or a piping bag with a tip, cover the cupcakes in frosting. Serve and enjoy!
- How to Store
- Fridge: Since they have a buttercream frosting, I recommend that you store the cupcakes in a cupcake container or lightly cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Let the cupcakes rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving so that the frosting is easier to eat.
- Freezer: Yes, you can store fully baked, cooled, and decorated cupcakes in the freezer. Store in a freezer safe container for up to 1 month. Allow the cupcakes to thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.
- Allergy Substitutions
- If you need to make these cupcakes gluten free, make sure to use a good quality gluten free flour blend. I always recommend King Arthur Measure for Measure or if you need a gluten free flour that is nightshade free, you can check out my homemade gluten free flour!
- Need to avoid corn? Make sure that your vanilla, baking powder, and powdered sugar are all corn free. For a list of my favorite brands, check out my shop page.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
This site contains affiliate links which means I may receive commissions for purchases made though those links. However, please know that I only provide links to products that I actually use and totally recommend! Your purchases help support this blog. Thank you!