9 Spooky Halloween Cupcakes
Sometimes, the world of Halloween desserts is a scary place. That “bloody brains bowl” looks a little too much like, well, bloody brains to be appetizing. But have no fear: these nine cupcakes strike the perfect balance between cute and spooky. Like the surface of a round sugar cookie, cupcakes are the perfect canvas for your artistic creations. Take your pick between options like gorgeous glittery pumpkin cupcakes, adorable “Fraidycat” cupcakes, or appropriately creepy vampire cupcakes. Each recipe calls for just a handful of ingredients, no more than 6 total. If you have some extra time, whip up a batch of your favorite cupcakes and frosting because fresh is always better. However, if you’re in a pinch the great news is you can always buy premade cupcakes from the bakery section of your grocery store and decorate those. Or make your own cupcakes and frost with store-bought icing. We recommend picking up an inexpensive small offset spatula to help with a super neat and speedy frosting job. You’ll be assembling each cupcake with a variety of toppings, so small glass bowls that keep your decorating station organized will be your best friends. If you’re making ahead, store them on a large plate or tray or cake stand and loosely tent or wrap them in plastic to keep them fresh. When you’re displaying your cupcakes, try dispersing several votive candles between them for an extra festive, extra shadowy touch.
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.
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.
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.
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.