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Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes

These Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes have just TWO ingredients and are deliciously moist, chocolatey, and downright decadent! Such a fun doctored cake mix hack for easier, healthier chocolate cake.

Healthy chocolate cupcakes stacked

There are probably a few reasons why this healthy chocolate cake recipe was the cake of my childhood, making appearances at every birthday and anniversary and cake-eating celebration.

I mean it’s stupid easy. Mix a box of chocolate cake mix with pumpkin. Boom, done.

And it’s healthy! You replace the eggs and oil with pureed pumpkin, which is naturally high in fiber and vitamins.

And (most of all) it’s just so delicious. It comes out tender and fluffy every time. Let’s bake!

Healthy chocolate cupcakes in a muffin tin on an orange background

Ingredients for this 2 ingredient chocolate cake

  1. Box of chocolate cake mix
  2. Can of pumpkin
  3. Okay, I lied, 3 ingredients …you also need 1/2 can of water
Can of pumpkin and chocolate cake mix on an orange background
Can of pumpkin and chocolate cake mix in a bowl

How to make these healthy chocolate cupcakes

Mix the chocolate cake mix with the canned pumpkin and water, then bake according to instructions on the box of cake mix. That’s it!

You can make this batter into cake rounds or cupcakes. The cupcakes will need less baking time (be sure to check the box for exact times and temps!)

Cake batter in a large glass bowl

Variations on these cupcakes

  • Make it a cake: This will make enough for two 8-inch cakes, perfect for layering!
  • Add chocolate chunks: Rather than slathering these cupcakes with icing, I love sprinkling dark chocolate chunks or chips on top before baking! They melt into chocolate morsel perfection.
  • Add cherry: Substitute maraschino cherry juice for the water, then sprinkle with chopped maraschino cherries after baking!
Healthy chocolate cupcakes in a muffin tin on an orange background

Looking for more secretly healthy desserts?

Chickpea Blondies
Black Bean Brownies
Avocado Chocolate Mousse Pie
Two Ingredient Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Date Fudge

Chocolate cupcakes on an orange background
Healthy chocolate cupcakes stacked

Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes

These Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes have just TWO ingredients and are deliciously moist, chocolatey, and downright decadent! Such a fun doctored cake mix hack for easier, healthier chocolate cake.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Baked Goods, Desserts
Cuisine: American
Keyword: box cake hack, chocolate pumpkin cake, healthy cake, healthy chocolate cake, weight watchers chocolate cake
Diet: Vegetarian
Occasion: 4th of July, Birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day
Time: 45 minutes or less
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Calories: 164kcal
Author: Sarah Bond
4.29 from 7 votes


  • 1 15-oz box chocolate cake mix 425 g
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling, 425 g
  • ½ can water*
  • Optional: ½ cup dark chocolate chunks or chips


  • Stir: Stir together cake mix, pumpkin, and water. then pour into greased and floured pan.
  • Pour: Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Pour in batter about ¾ full. Optionally sprinkle chocolate on top.
  • Bake: Bake according to instructions on box of cake mix. Allow to cool slightly before serving.


  • *Cherry-flavored: You can replace the water with juice from a jar of maraschino cherries. Top cooked cupcakes with chopped maraschino cherries. 
  • Make it a cake! This will make enough for two 8-inch cakes, perfect for layering.
  • Store cupcakes covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 28.7g | Protein: 2.5g | Fat: 5.6g | Saturated Fat: 1.2g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 190mg | Fiber: 1.9g | Sugar: 14.7g | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2mg
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This Healthy Chocolate Cake has just TWO ingredients and is deliciously moist, chocolatey, and downright decadent!
A photo from when I originally posted this recipe!

Hi, I’m Sarah!

Showing you how to make easy vegetarian recipes, one ingredient at a time.  Read more

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Comments (19)

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  1. Eliz says:

    Darn! No one has anything to say about this cake (which I am going to make for my husband tomorrow when he is at the gym LOL)? I did come up with a question, what size is the can? mls, oz, cups…whatever the amount is in the can you used I can convert (this smart thing called the internet can do the math thank GOD!). Thank you!!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey, Eliz! Sorry for not clarifying. You just need a standard 15 oz can of pumpkin! 🙂

  2. Girl of Green Gables says:

    I always find recipes that only require a tablespoon of pumpkin puree and then I’m left with so much of it– now I know what to do with it! 🙂5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to help you use the leftovers! You can also add the extra to smoothies 🙂 Hellooooo pumpkin pie smoothie!

  3. CP says:

    While I love the convenience of boxed cake mixes as much as anyone, they are in no shape or form “healthy” regardless of what other ingredients you use. The sugar and hydrogenated oils are still there.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey! Yea, it’s definitely not the equivalent to drinking a kale smoothie by any means, but with reduced fat/cholesterol from the oil and eggs required in boxed cake making, and the addition of fiber and vitamin A from the pumpkin, as far as birthday cakes go, this one is pretty healthy (while still tasting virtually the same as traditional fat-laden cakes).

  4. Ivy says:

    I don’t eat eggs so occasionally I’ll make something similar with boxed chocolate cake and a can of Coca-Cola. I call it “lazy cake” and try not to think of all the EXTRA sugar that went into it because of the soda. Pumpkin sounds like a better option. Does the pumpkin flavor come through at all?

    1. Sarah says:

      I used to do the SAME THING, Ivy! But actually, I would always use diet coke + a box of cake mix (we called it Diet Coke Cake). Was super tasty! But the pumpkin adds a lot more richness, without really changing the flavor into a pumpkin-y taste.

  5. Dawn says:

    Hey Girl of Green Gables, Here’s a tip you might be able to use: I put my leftover pumpkin in an ice cube tray. Freeze it. Place the frozen pumpkin cubes in a Ziploc. Store it in the freezer and then use just the portion I need with various recipes.

    1. Sarah says:

      That’s a great tip, Dawn! Would be especially great in smoothies I bet (with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg….yumm!)

  6. linda says:

    do u use 2 round pans or 1 ?????? or can it be baked in 9x 13….. you did not clarify… ty

    or what inch did you use

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Linda, you can just bake it according to the instructions on the package (so using whatever time it is for 2 round pans or a 9×13, either pan would work) 🙂

  7. Lorraine says:

    Do you have to use canned pumpkin or could you just use your own mashed pumpkin?3 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      You can use whichever variety you like/have on hand 🙂 Have you tried the recipe yet?

  8. Julie says:

    Excellent!! Can do w different flavors too. Spice is great too5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Definitely! I’d love to hear what spices you use if you make a fun variation! 😀

  9. Donna says:

    Would coconut milk work?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Donna, I haven’t tried subbing in coconut milk, but I think it would not work as well. The fibers and thickness of pumpkin puree give a bit more structure than I think coconut milk would. But if you do try it I’d love to hear how it goes!

  10. Von says:

    The nutritional info posted with this recipe overlooks the info set out within that boxed cake mix. If you check the package it reflects a grand total of 180 grams of sugar for that mix. Not at all what I would consider healthy.