Halloween Cupcakes

Halloween Cupcakes


And BOO!

Yes, Halloween is coming up, and so I thought I’d offer up a few ideas on decorating cakes with a Halloween theme.

Now, I’m no cake decorator myself – fingers too fat, too little patience – but even I managed the above (I’m loving that the ghost one is all fuzzy!) which is both immediately recognisable and almost completely lacking the need for any degree of skill whatsoever. If you can roll out royal icing and squeeze a tube of black gel icing, then these are the Halloween cakes for you!

Hiding modestly underneath all this spookiness is actually a really delicious chocolate cake, which is so easy to whip up, you don’t even need a mixer. The cake also has the advantage of actually improving if kept for a couple of days. You can either make two regular sized cakes, or as here, it will make 24 cupcakes.

Chocolate Sponge Cake

150ml vegetable oil
150ml natural yoghurt
60ml golden syrup
170g caster sugar
3 large eggs
225g self-raising flour
50g cocoa
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C, 140°C Fan.
  • Line 2 12-hole bun tins with paper cases.
  • Put oil, yoghurt, syrup, caster sugar and eggs in a bowl and whisk together until well mixed.
  • Sift flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the bowl. Mix well.
  • Pour the mixture into the paper cases, filling them 2/3 full, leaving about 2cm of paper case visible.
  • Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean.[1]
  • Cool on a wire rack.

To decorate

Apricot glaze, or apricot jam that has been warmed and sieved
Ready made Royal/Fondant icing
1 tube of black icing – mine is sparkly!
Kiwi fruit
Icing sugar for rolling out the icing

  • Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the apricot glaze/jam. This will help the icing stick.


  • Break off a piece of icing, roll into a cylinder 3-4cm long and place it on the middle of the cupcake, standing on its end. This will give the ghost some height.
  • Roll the icing out thinly and cut a 10cm square.
  • Drape the square of icing over the cylinder and arrange the folds.
  • Using the black icing, paint on two eyes and a spooky mouth.

Spider Web

  • Roll the icing out thinly and cut a 10cm square.
  • Drape the icing smoothly over the top of the cake.
  • Press gently around the edge, and the stiffness of the paper case will cut through the icing, neatening the edges.
  • Press the excess icing together and save for re-use.
  • Using the black icing, draw 4 or 5 circles on top of the cake.
  • Draw a toothpick through the wet icing from the centre of the cake to the rim, making the spider-web pattern.


  • Roll the icing out thinly and cut strips 1cm wide.
  • Arrange the ‘bandage’ strips in a random pattern over the top of the cake, leaving a gap for the eyes.
  • When the cake is covered, use 2 M&Ms for eyes and add a black dot to each.
  • Use a knife to trim and neaten the ends of the icing strips.


  • Roll the icing out thinly and cut a circle the size of the top of the cake. Cut round a lid or a jar.
  • Carefully put the circle of icing over the top of the cake.
  • Cut a thin slice of Kiwi fruit and remove the skin.
  • Put the slice of Kiwi fruit flat onto the top of the cake and use the tube of black icing to fill in the ‘pupil’.
  • NB The fruit is juicy, and so will begin to ‘ooze’ after about an hour. You might want to bear this in mind when timing the decorating. Alternatively, this might be just the effect you’re after!


  • You will need 2 marbles for each skull-shaped cupcake.
  • As soon as the cakes are out of the oven, slide two marbles (one each side) down between the paper case and the tin, so that one side of the cake is squashed into the shape of the jaw. As the cake cools, it will then ‘set’ into the correct shape.
  • Once the cakes are cool, cover with a thin layer of rolled icing and use the black icing to draw on the facial features.

Cost:  £1.70 (cake only, October 2011)

[1] If you’re making skull-shaped cupcakes, leave the cakes in the tin and slide in the marbles.

11 Comments on “Halloween Cupcakes”

  1. Love the eyeball it’s so clever. GG

  2. These look brilliant, and I love the photo! Some halloween cupcakes just look too gory to eat but these are perfect. I noticed that the cake recipe contains yogurt and I have read that yogurt chocolate cake is good for cutting and shaping (eg for a childs birthday cake). Just wondering if you know whether this cake is good for that (I need to make a shaped chocolate cake soon!) ?
    Thanks 🙂

  3. Jennifer says:

    These cakes look absolutely fabulous – some great ideas.

  4. Lou says:

    Love those. The ghost is great and I also love the eyeball. I did a version of the Mummy ones last year – went down a storm.

  5. Caroline Taylor says:

    Wow!,they’re lovely Mary-anne,Bet Sacha loved these-very artistic
    .I’ve just come back from a childrens halloween haunted wood thing.I took some cupcakes as a Thank you gift as I won the tickets!I like baking to share !The children’s faces say it all !

  6. Janice says:

    I think the Mummy is my favourite – sooo funny! Your piping on the spider web is really good, these look like a lot of fun, I’m sure some little people will gobble them up if the big ones don’t get there first!

  7. Ines says:

    Perfect! The spider web is flawless!! I admire your patience!

  8. Hi Mary-Anne

    I gave these a go and it was so much fun! Thanks for sharing!

    I was just wondering, could you make these cakes plain by simply taking out the cocoa or would you need to substitute it with another element?

    Thanks again for the recipe, they are really delicious!

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Sugar! The usual equation for turning vanilla cakes into chocolate is to remove some flour and replace it with an equal amount of cocoa, so I’m guessing that omitting cocoa and adding 50g of flour (and some vanilla essence?) would get you a plain mix! Do let me know how this turns out if you give it a go – happy baking! 😀

      • Hi Mary-Anne!

        Thanks for the tip. I did give them a go but unfortunately I couldn’t get them to rise. I tried two batches but I couldn’t make it work. If you have any thoughts I would love to hear them.

        (They were eaten anyway – waste not want not and all that – so nobody was too heartbroken!)

  9. Kezia says:

    I stumbled upon this a little late for Halloween, but just wanted to say that I thought using kiwi fruit for an eyeball was a great idea, and that I really enjoyed watching you in the Bake-off!

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