Halloween Cake Recipes

There’s nothing wrong with candy bars and creepy-crawly gummies, but our Halloween cakes and cupcakes will help you pull out all of the stops this October—whether you’re entertaining friends or taking a treat to the kids at school. Unlike some trendy Halloween cake ideas out there, you can rest assured that ours are always foolproof and delicious—and never overly complicated. (We promise: you won’t have to buy any fancy cake molds that’ll clog your cabinet space the rest of the year, or hunt down hard-to-find ingredients from cake decorating stores.) For example, our vanilla mango ice cream cake is made from just four ingredients (though you’d never guess, from looking at the graphic, color-blocked dessert). Interested in a simple spiderweb cake? Simply prep any cake of your choice as the base, and then use our instructions to get through the frosting and decorating process without stress or mess. Browse our cupcake collection for even more inspiration.

Halloween Treats for School

No tricks, just our favorite classroom-friendly treats. 

Bat Cupcakes

It’ll take minutes to make one of these little menacing critters. Just dip a cupcake in a bowl of dark sanding sugar, stick on gummy red eyes, and—here’s the brilliant part—slice up some Peppermint Patties for wings. Try using a sharp paring knife to cut notches in the chocolate and mint candies. To make sure the wings stay secured, cut little notches in the cupcake and stick in the ends of the halved candy. We think these shady cakes would look pretty displayed on a festive bright orange tablecloth. Bonus points if you festoon some fake cobwebs around them too.

Vampire Cupcakes

Find yourself a quiet few minutes and cut all of the red sour candy tape into triangles, cut the licorice into even pieces, and crush the chocolate cookies. Place everything into little bowls before you start so your ingredients are organized. Then, have at it. If you’d like your vampire hair to look as precise as that in the photo, follow these steps. Cut a piece of wax paper into a heart shape and place the top half of the heart an inch below the upper edge of the cupcake. Sprinkle the crushed cookies on the exposed frosting above the top of the heart and then remove the wax paper for a clean edge.

Crawly Spider Cupcake

Kids who tend to go for scary Halloween costumes, fake blood and all, will get the best kind of chill from these creepy crawly cupcakes, anything but sweet itsy bitsy spiders. To make the spidery legs, slightly twist the shoestring licorice when you’re cutting it into 2-inch pieces. Make sure you stick them far enough into the cupcake so they stay put; you don’t want any lost legs when someone goes to pick one up. Another tip: to quickly crush a bunch of chocolate cookies at the same time, use the flat bottom of a bowl or measuring cup.

Mummy Cupcakes

Sweet and sour lovers listen up: this combination of sour candy and cupcakes is just as addictively mouth puckering as it is festive. Have you ever seen a cuter, more delectable rendition of mummies? You might be tempted to name yours, but we suggest you resist the urge—wouldn’t want to become too attached. The recipe calls for vanilla cupcakes although it’s perfectly okay to use chocolate ones if you prefer, and feel free to substitute your favorite flavor of sour candy tape and gummy candies, as long as the colors are vibrant. Napkins or plates with dark geometric patterns nicely frame the bright dessert, although they’re not necessary.

Toothy Skull Cupcakes

Sure, the recipe makes one cupcake, but we think a big group of these would be gorgeous. To speed up the decorating process, break it down into steps: first cut all of your licorice, then put eyes on all of the cupcakes, arrange the noses, and the finally add the teeth. Trust us, this technique will shave minutes off of the total time. Don’t be afraid to firmly press the white jelly beans into the frosting; they’re fighting gravity so they really do need to be secured. If you’d like the white frosting to pop it’s okay to use a chocolate cupcake instead of vanilla.

Glittery Pumpkin Cupcake

Made with just three ingredients, these shimmery three-bite cakes are anything but complicated. We do have a few quick tips, however, so yours turn out just as pretty as the picture. First, if you’re icing your own cupcakes, make sure you really heap a big dollop of frosting on top of each. Your goal is to create a domed top that’s as round as possible—like a pumpkin. Second, dip each cupcake in sanding sugar as soon as you’ve frosted it. This way, the frosting won’t have time to form a skin and the sugar will adhere better. Gently pat each cupcake with your hand after you’ve dipped it to make sure the sticks.

Frightfully Fabulous Halloween Wedding Cakes

Whether you dream of a wedding cake that is subtly spooktacular or one that screams Halloween, there are plenty of ways to evoke the spirit of October 31 on your big day.

Pumpkin Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

These individual pumpkin cakes have been a fall standby long before Pumpkin Spice Lattes came on the scene. Indeed, our cupcakes are deliciously moist, bursting with pumpkin flavor, and topped with a creamy icing that’s decadent but not too sweet. Not to mention, we devised a shortcut that makes whipping up these pumpkin cupcakes for a Halloween party or autumn potluck so much simpler: We start with a box of yellow cake mix to eliminate lots of measuring and mixing. The quick batter comes together with pumpkin puree (rather than the water typically called for on the box), for a dense, satisfying cupcake.

Vanilla Mango Ice Cream Cake

This mango ice cream cake hits all the right notes. Layers of mango sorbet sandwich bits of crushed chocolate wafer cookies and a midsection of vanilla ice cream, so nearly every bite contains exotic fruit, chocolate, and vanilla. Keep in mind that this cake requires at least two hours to refreeze, but you can make it up to two days ahead and keep the dessert in the freezer. You’ll soften sorbet and ice cream for each layer separately before putting the pan back in the freezer to firm up after each step. So, while the three hours, in total, might seem like a commitment, this light, cold treat isn’t difficult to “make” yourself.