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Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes and an Owl Tutorial

Fun for the family, these Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice cupcakes and Owl Tutorial make a sweet treat for your Fall party!

Dark Chocolate Spiced Pumpkin Owl Cupcakes by JavaCupcake

The winds are blowing, the leaves are rustling around the streets and the rain is falling from the grey skies.  Fall is upon us here in Bavaria!

And what is better for Fall than another pumpkin recipe! This cupcake is a one bowl batter that tastes just like pumpkin pie! Because I wanted to decorate these with owls, I had to top them with a chocolate frosting.  Instead of my favorite chocolate fudge frosting that calls for melted butter and baking chocolate, I used a basic chocolate buttercream which used cocoa powder.  I needed something that I could easily pipe and spread and my chocolate fudge recipe can get a bit thick.  This buttercream worked perfectly!

Dark Chocolate Spiced Pumpkin Owl Cupcakes by JavaCupcake

I know these cute owls on top have been floating around the internet, but I just had to give them a try!  Especially since I kind of have this fascination with owls.  (Our son Matthew, now 7 months old, well his baby theme is owls!) Below the recipe, you’ll find a full tutorial on how I made them!



Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Yield: 12-16 cupcakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes

Cupcakes that taste like pumpkin pie topped with a spicy chocolate buttercream! Nothing better!


Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Hershey's Dark Chocolate cocoa
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1lb powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of salt


Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, melt the butter in your microwave.
  3. Whisk in the sugars, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin puree.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients onto the pumpkin mixture and whisk until just combined. It will still be lumpy at this point.
  5. Add the milk and whisk until smooth.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. NOTE: Don't be afraid to fill these liners full! These cupcakes do better with more batter in the cups and puff up nicely!
  7. Bake 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Frosting

  1. Cream together the butter, cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla.
  2. One cup at a time, add the sugar and beat on high until smooth.
  3. With the mixer on low, slowly add the heavy cream until you reach your desired consistency. NOTE: If you're just going to basically frost your cupcakes, you'll want the frosting stiff enough to pipe onto your cupcakes. If you're making the owls, make it a little looser so that you can easily decorate your owls.
  4. Mix on high for 4-5 minutes or until fluffy.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Owl Cupcake Tutorial


  • 1 package OREO cookies
  • 1 box Junior Mints candy
  • 1 box Reese’s Pieces candy
  • Frosting (recipe above)
  • Spatula or knife


  1. Prepare the OREO cookies by separating one cookie layer from the cream center, leaving the center in tact.
  2. Pipe a drop of frosting onto each cream center and place a Junior Mint candy on top.  This will create the eyes for the owl.
  3. Separate out the orange Reese’s Pieces candies and set aside.
  4. Using the spatula or knife, frost cupcake creating a flat surface.  At the top of the cupcake, make two little points with the frosting for the owl ears.
  5. Place two eyes on the cupcake, making sure to leave room for the beak and not to cover the ears.
  6. Place an orange candy under and between the eyes for the beak.

Anne McKinnon

Tuesday 9th of September 2014

How do you separate the oreos and not peel the inside icing off one side? Or do you use that one side for one eye and then cut the empty side in half for eye whiskers?

Betsy Eves

Wednesday 10th of September 2014

I just do it slowly with gentle pressure. It helps if the cookies are a bit warm, so if they've been in a cold room or in the cold car, I'd suggest leaving them in the warm kitchen while you make dinner or bake... so the cream warms up a bit. Gently twist one cookie one direction and the other cookie the opposite. If it doesn't come off without breaking the cream, I save that one for dunking in milk later! :)

Donna Howard

Saturday 13th of October 2012

Excuse me - dumb baker here!! How many cups is 1 lb of powdered sugar?? I boought mine in a big bag. Will be making these tomorrow for my husband to take to his office!! See, I'm a nice wife!!! ha ha (otherwise I would eat them all myself!!)

Betsy ~ @JavaCupcake

Saturday 13th of October 2012

It's about 4 cups! It's not really an exact science with buttercream. Just put in 3-4 cups of powdered sugar or until it looks like the right consistency!


Saturday 13th of October 2012

Love the idea of using Reese's Pieces as a beak! These are so cute!

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