Spooky Ghost Cupcakes
Celebrate Halloween with a choir of cute, spooky Ghost Cupcakes! Fluffy cake, creamy frosting, and easy decorations make these tasty and fun.
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Are you more into creepy or cute Halloween decor and food? I am team cute spooky all the way, and these cupcakes are pretty much the ultimate in that department!
There are tons of ways to make cute ghost-inspired cupcakes, but these are my absolute favorite because they are so simple and fun. Treats like this are especially great for parties or for making with kids. Whether they help with the cupcakes, the decorating, or both, there’s no better project to entice little goblins and ghouls to get involved in the kitchen!
You can use any chocolate cupcake recipe you like for these. I’ve included our favorite below, which is an adaptation of my mother-in-law’s famous chocolate buttermilk cake recipe. They are super simple and bake into perfect cupcakes every time!
Of course you can save time and use any boxed mix you like, or even pick up some unfrosted cupcakes at your local grocery store or bakery — they are usually happy to sell a dozen or two if you call ahead or ask at the counter!
The cupcakes don’t have to be chocolate. It just adds to the ambience! I like to use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder. It’s like a shortcut to a blackout cupcake effect.
When I first began making these, I used a seven-minute frosting, which is nice and bright white, but can also be a bit fussy. I’ve since switched to using a classic vanilla buttercream. Quicker, easier, and less stressful.
Pro Tip: If you want keep vanilla frosting as white as possible, use clear imitation vanilla extract. I use genuine extract nearly all the time but actually keep a bottle of imitation vanilla with my baking supplies for this exact reason. (I also find it works better in cream cheese frosting!)
If you want to make the frosting even brighter white, you can swap shortening for part or all of the butter. It will have more of a bakery-style taste!
How to Decorate Ghost Cupcakes
Once you have your cupcakes and frosting, it’s time for the real fun.
To decorate ghosts, transfer frosting to a large piping bag or zip-top bag. You can use a large round decorating tip or simply cut off a corner of the bag to make a large hole in the bottom. Pipe frosting on top of cupcakes in large, even circles, starting at the outer edge and working up and in. When you reach the center top, pull the piping bag away in one quick, smooth motion.
No need to overthink the rest! Chocolate chips make delightful little eyes and gaping ghost mouths. You can use candy eyes if you have them, or any other fun decorations that you like.
As written, this recipe makes enough for 24 generously-frosted cupcakes. I often make a slightly smaller amount of frosting, because it’s fun to decorate a few myself and hand the rest over to my son, who has a good time but tends to not use quite so much frosting per cupcake. 🙂
How great would these be for a Halloween party with your school or neighborhood friends? Easy, fun, and kid-friendly.
More Fun Halloween Treats
If you try these Ghost Cupcakes, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.
Spooky Ghost Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Frosting
- 1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter softened
- 6 and 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract see note
- 5-6 tablespoons whole milk
- chocolate chips regular or mini
- candy eyes
- sprinkles or other decorations as desired
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.
- Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl or stand mixer. Beat on low speed until combined.
- Add eggs, buttermilk, water, oil, and vanilla. Beat on low speed until partly incorporated, then scrape bottom and sides of the bowl. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is very even and smooth.
- Pour batter into cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow pans to cool on wire racks for about 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes and let cool completely.
- To make the frosting, beat the softened butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla, then the milk. Test the frosting — it should hold a shape well and be fairly stiff.
- To decorate ghosts, transfer frosting to a large piping bag or zip-top bag. You can use a large round decorating tip or simply cut off a corner of the bag to make a large hole in the bottom. Pipe frosting on top of cupcakes in large, even circles, starting at the outer edge and working up and in. Pull the piping bag away in one quick, smooth motion when you reach the center top. Decorate with chocolate chips, candy eyes, or other treats as desired. Enjoy!
- Vanilla. If possible, use clear imitation vanilla extract to keep the frosting as white as possible.
This post was originally published October 30, 2016, and has been updated with new photos, more helpful tips, and a more straightforward frosting recipe.