Ghost cupcakes are the perfect spooky treat for celebrating Halloween! All your ghouls and goblins will love making and eating these halloween cupcakes. 

ghost cupcakes arranged on wooden cake stand on dark background

I start a countdown for Halloween in August. Everyone has that one holiday that they love, and mine is halloween so the preparation starts early! 

One of my favorite Halloween activities is to throw a Halloween party. No party is complete unless you have food, and I like going over the top for this holiday! Include these cute halloween cupcakes – ghost cupcakes and a few other fun treats!

Oreo balls are a fan favorite, so making tombstone shaped oreo balls will add a lot of spook to a party! Spider rice krispie treats are a big hit, along with ghost popcorn balls and bubbling witch’s cauldron brownies.

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ghost cupcakes arranged in random pattern on dark background

What You’ll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

FOR THE CUPCAKES:

  • All-purpose flour – Gluten free all purpose flour works as well! I recommend King Arthur’s brand.
  • Unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter – Let this come to room temperature before you start the recipe.
  • Bittersweet chocolate baking bar – Look for a bar of chocolate with a cacao percentage of around 70%.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs
  • Buttermilk – If you don’t want to buy a bottle, you can make your own by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup, then filling it to the one-cup mark with whole milk; stir and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, or until it thickens.
  • Hot tap water
ghost cupcakes sitting on metal muffin pan

FOR THE CHOCOLATE FROSTING:

  • Unsalted butter – This butter should also be at room temperature so it can be whipped into a creamy frosting.
  • Unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • Powdered sugar
  • Heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract

Additional supplies:

  • Large marshmallows
  • one 16 oz container white frosting 
  • Candy eyeballs
  • Black writing icing (I used store bought)

Why use canned frosting?

It’s important that you use canned, store bought frosting to cover the marshmallows. When you heat canned frosting in the microwave, it becomes the perfect consistency for pouring and acts as a glaze. It sets quickly and tastes delicious.

How to Make Ghost Cupcakes

Ready to start baking? Here’s what you’ll need to do.

how to make chocolate cupcakes collage image

MAKE THE CUPCAKES:

Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a muffin pan with muffin liners.

Melt the chocolate. Roughly chop the chocolate, then place the pieces in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes on 50% power. Stir and continue to heat the chocolate until it melts when stirred. Set the chocolate aside to cool while you work on the next step of the recipe.

Mix the dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, unsweetened natural cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 

Mix the wet ingredients. In a second mixing bowl, cream the butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and cooled chocolate for 30 seconds.

Finish the batter. Add half of the buttermilk to the wet mixture and beat for about 20 seconds. Beat in half of the dry ingredients, followed by the remaining buttermilk and the hot water. Beat just until the liquid is incorporated, then add the remaining dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. 

Bake. Fill the muffin liners halfway full and bake for 17 to 19 minutes, or until a few moist crumbs remain on a toothpick when inserted into the center. 

Cool. Let the cupcakes cool completely before you frost them.

MAKE THE CHOCOLATE FROSTING:

Beat the butter. Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat it on high for 3 minutes, or until it’s fluffy.

Add the remaining ingredients. Sift in the cocoa powder and 3 cups of powdered sugar. Beat the frosting on low speed until it’s thick and all of the dry ingredients are incorporated into the butter. Beat in 3 tablespoons of heavy cream, vanilla extract and salt, then add the additional powdered sugar. Mix on low; if needed, beat in additional heavy cream a tablespoon at a time.

Frost the cupcakes. Fit a piping bag with a piping tip and fill the bag about 3/4 full with frosting. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.

ASSEMBLE:

Add the ghost. Place a large marshmallow on top of the frosting. Spoon the microwaved icing over the marshmallow, letting it fall and cover the whole marshmallow. Wait a few minutes for the icing to firm up, then press on candy eyeballs. Use the black writing icing to add a mouth to each ghost.

a spoon is drizzling melted white frosting over a large marshmallow that is on top of a chocolate cupcake

Tips for Success

I’ve included tips throughout this post, but here are a few more to help you make the best ghost cupcakes:

  • Measure the flour accurately. When measuring the flour, be sure to use the spoon-and-sweep method. This means using a spoon to transfer the flour into your measuring cup, then leveling it off with a knife. Do not scoop the flour directly from the container with your measuring cup; this will pack the flour and you’ll end up with too much.
  • Don’t over-fill the cupcake liners. If you fill them more than halfway, your cupcakes are likely to overflow in the oven.
  • Sift the dry ingredients for the frosting. This keeps clumps from forming in your frosting, which can make piping difficult and ruin the look of your cupcakes.
  • Temperature of the canned frosting is important. Too warm and it will run right down the cupcakes. Too cool and the frosting won’t spread at all.

How to Store Cupcakes

Ghost cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they’re made, but they’ll stay fresh in an airtight container or loosely covered on a plate for 2 to 3 days.

If you have leftover frosting, it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Allow it to come to room temperature before you use it.

ghost cupcakes arranged on wooden cake stand on dark background

More Halloween Treats

Ghost Cupcakes

4.75 from 4 ratings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 19 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Ghost cupcakes are the perfect spooky treat for celebrating Halloween! All your ghouls and goblins will love making and eating these halloween cupcakes. 

Ingredients

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, 1/2 cup
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate baking bar, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup hot tap water

Chocolate Frosting

  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, 2 cups
  • 1 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 24 Large marshmallows
  • 16 oz canned white frosting, store bought
  • Candy eyeballs
  • Black writing icing, store bought

Instructions
 

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
  • Rough chop the bittersweet chocolate baking bar into smaller pieces, place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes on 50% power. Stir and repeat until melted. Set aside to cool.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the all purpose flour, unsweetened natural cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl beat the butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Add in the eggs and cooled chocolate, beat again, 30 seconds.
  • Add in half of the buttermilk, beat for about 20 seconds. Add in half of the dry ingredients, beat. Add the remaining buttermilk plus the hot water, beat just until the liquid is mixed in then add the remaining dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined.
  • Fill the muffin liners 1/2 full. Bake for 17-19 minutes at 350º F or until a few moist crumbs remain on a toothpick when inserted into the center. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before adding the frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

  • In a mixing bowl, beat the butter on high for 3 minutes.
  • Sift in the cocoa powder and 3 cups of powdered sugar. I like to sift these in because it helps break up clumps, creating a light and fluffy frosting. Beat the frosting on low speed until combined and thick.
  • Mix in 3 tbsp of heavy cream, vanilla extract and salt.
  • Add in the additional powdered sugar (1-2 cups), mix on low. If the frosting is too thick, beat in an additional tablespoon of heavy cream.

Assemble

  • Fit a piping bag with a piping tip, I used a Wilton 1M.  Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes in a swirl pattern.
  • Place a large marshmallow on top of the frosting.
  • Transfer the canned frosting to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 15-30 seconds, or until the icing is runny. 
  • Spoon icing over the marshmallow, letting it fall and cover the whole marshmallow.
  • Wait a few minutes for the icing to firm up, then press on candy eye balls.
  • Use the black writing icing to add a mouth to each ghost.

Notes

This recipe yields 24 cupcakes. 
Temperature of the canned frosting is important. Too warm and it will run right down the cupcakes. Too cool and the frosting won’t spread at all.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Beth
Calories: 494kcal, Carbohydrates: 66g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 200mg, Potassium: 141mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 50g, Vitamin A: 657IU, Vitamin C: 0.01mg, Calcium: 42mg, Iron: 2mg
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