The funnest, easy to make and decorate Halloween Cupcakes! Made with a super simple, deliciously rich chocolate cupcake, a vanilla or orange flavored buttercream frosting, and decorated with cute Oreo bats, cats and Jack-o’-lanterns. It’s a festive treat all ages will enjoy!
Decorated Halloween Cupcakes
There are so many ways to decorate halloween cupcakes but I wanted to share something easy and a little more practical. You don’t need frosting piping skills to decorate these and they are made with treats we all love!
And you have two choices of frosting flavors here. You can go for the standard vanilla or my personal favorite was the orange (that chocolate orange combo is quite delicious).
The cupcake batter is made in one bowl using a whisk, then you just need a hand mixer for the frosting. So it’s a basic recipe with simple tools that makes delicious results! It may just become your go-to cupcake recipe in general and just change up the tint and decoration according to the holiday or occasion.
These are such a tempting Halloween treat in so many ways and they are the perfect thing to bring along to a party. Everyone will want to savor every chocolatey bite!
Halloween Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe Ingredients
- All-purpose flour: I use unbleached all-purpose flour, though bleached will be fine.
- Granulated sugar: These cupcakes aren’t overly sweet as the frosting will lend quite a bit of sweetness.
- Dutch process cocoa powder: I have not tested this recipe with regular cocoa powder yet so not sure if it will bake up the same, also Dutch cocoa will give the cupcakes that nice dark appearance so I recommend sticking with it.
- Baking soda: This will help the cupcakes rise and is a critical ingredient.
- Salt: A key ingredient balancing the sweetness and keeping hte cupcakes from tasting flat. Just use regular table salt.
- Buttermilk: In a pinch the buttermilk subsistute of 3/4 cup + 3 Tbsp milk plus 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar should work. Mix and let it sit 5 minutes before using.
- Vegetable oil: Canola oil or light olive oil will work great as well.
- Egg: This helps bind and hold the ingredients together. I have not yet tested egg substitutes in this recipe, if you do please let us know how it works out.
- Vanilla extract: This will be used in both the cupcake and frosting.
- Powdered sugar: As always if this is clumpy sift it first.
- Heavy cream: Half and half or milk will work as well it just won’t be quite as creamy.
Halloween Cupcakes Decorations Ingredients Needed
- Regular Oreos
- Green M&M’s
- Edible black marker
- Pretzel sticks
- Orange jimmy sprinkles (can pick out of a rainbow blend) or round sprinkles, or use orange frosting
- Orange food coloring (I actually used orange and a some Wilton copper as well for a rich tint)
How to Make Easy Chocolate Halloween Cupcakes
- Heat oven, prepare pan: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners then spray top of pan around liners with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Whisk dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until blended.
- Add wet ingredients: Pour in buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla extract. Pop the yolk with the whisk then whisk mixture until well blended.
- Pour into pan: Divide mixture among muffin cups filling each about 2/3 full.
- Bake until set: Bake in preheated oven until cooked through, about 19 to 23 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make frosting: In a bowl using an electric hand mixer blend all of the frosting ingredients until light and fluffy. Tint with orange food color.
- Frost cupcakes: Pipe or spread frosting over cupcakes and add Halloween decorations.
How to Decorate Halloween Cupcakes
- CATS: Use one whole oreo for the face. To make cat ears split Oreos in half, remove filling and using a knife cut into larger rectangles. For eyes draw black diamond-like shapes with edible food marker over the green M&M’s. For nose use an orange sprinkle or frosting.
- BATS: Use one whole oreo for bat body. To make bat wings cut some of the Oreo halves (removed filling) into half moons. Draw eyes on the green M&M’s with edible marker (any design you’d like). Use an orange sprinkle for mouth or frosting.
- JACK-O’LANTERNS: Cut Oreo cookies (with filling removed) into small rectangles for eyes and nose, save the rounded edge scraps for the mouth of the pumpkin. Use a pretzel stick for the stem and four green M&M’s turned on their side for the leaves.
- Store cupcakes in an airtight container.
- They’ll keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Bring too room temperature before serving.
- Note that as the cupcakes rest the oreo cookies will soften and the bat wings may break off after the first day. So if making in advance I’d wait to add bat wings.
- You can freeze unfrosted cupcakes for up to 3 months.
Helpful Tips for Halloween Cupcakes
- No piping tips or piping skills are necessary here. You can just spread the orange frosting over the cupcakes using a butter knife or offset spatula rather than piping it over.
- To test cupcakes for doneness they should spring back in center when touched and not sink, also a toothpick inserted into center should come out clean.
- Plan on some extra Oreos as some will break. You can save scraps for baking or mash into vanilla ice cream.
- Cut Oreos will have crumbs so you can dust them off before adding to the cupcakes if you want a cleaner look.
- Sift cocoa powder or powdered sugar when baking if it’s clumpy. Sift after you’ve measured it or it will alter the measurement.
- For best results use a kitchen scale to measure ingredients for most accuracy. If you don’t have one then use the spoon and sweet method to measure flour and cocoa for this recipe.
- Use store-bought mix: Of course I prefer these the homemade route but most kids won’t care if you opt to use a store-bought chocolate or vanilla cake mix and vanilla frosting to make these easy Halloween treats. Just tint the frosting orange with food coloring.
- Try other ingredients for decorations: You can use peel apart black licorice (or regular) cut into small straight pieces for jack-o’-lantern mouths if you find that easier. Chopped black licorices pieces cut into triangles will also work for the eyes and nose. A mini orange M&M or round sprinkle will work in place of the jimmy sprinkle nose and mouth.
- Frosting flavor: I personally preferred these with the chocolate orange combo using the orange zest and extract option but kids are fine with vanilla. Another option would be a cream cheese frosting or a white chocolate frosting but you’d likely need to keep these two options fairly chilled so it could hold up the decorations.
- If you don’t want to take the time to decorate these the easiest option for keeping them festive is just to use and orange, green or purple tinted frosting still, then finish with Halloween sprinkles.
More Easy Halloween Treats to Try
- Iced Pumpkin Cookies
- Pumpkin Shaped Rice Krispies Treats
- Pumpkin Roll
- Skeleton Gingerbread Halloween Cookies
- Spiderweb Halloween Cookies
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Decorated Halloween Cupcakes
- Regular Oreos, * green M&M's, edible black marker, pretzel sticks, orange jimmy sprinkles or round sprinkles or use orange frosting
- For the chocolate cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners then spray top of pan around liners with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until blended.
- Pour in buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla extract. Pop the egg yolk with a whisk then whisk mixture until well blended.
- Divide mixture evenly among muffin cups filling each about 2/3 full.
- Bake in preheated oven until cooked through, about 19 to 23 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Prepare decorations: For the cat ears split Oreos in half, remove filling and cut into larger rectangles, for bat wings cut some of the Oreo halves (removed filling) into half moons. Draw eyes on the green M&M's with edible marker (any design you'd like).
- For the jack-o'-lantern faces cut Oreo cookies (with filling removed) into small rectangles for eyes and nose, save the rounded edge scrap pieces for the mouth of the pumpkin.
- For the frosting: In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer mix together powdered sugar, butter, 2 Tbsp heavy cream, butter, salt, vanilla extract or orange zest and extract. Mix until well combined while adding an additional 1 Tbsp cream near the end as needed to bring it together well.
- Increase mixer speed to high and whip for about 4 minutes until it's light and fluffy, while tinting with orange food coloring to get desired intensity of color. Set aside 2 Tbsp of the frosting for the decorations in an airtight container.
- Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a star tip (I used Ateco 846 here) and pipe one single layer of frosting over cupcakes. Alternately you can just spread the orange frosting over the cupcakes. Reserve just a little frosting to use as the "glue" for eye and mouth decorations.
- To decorate with Halloween decorations: For the cat place one Oreo on cupcake then tuck two larger cut Oreo triangles underneath at the top for the ears. Dab a little dot of frosting on the green M&M eyes to stick to the cookies, and a sprinkle for nose or pipe a nose with the orange frosting.
- For the bat place one Oreo on cupcake and tuck two half moon wings on each side underneath (note these will only hold in place for a day and will begin to soften and break off after). Add eyes with a dot of frosting and a sprinkle mouth, or pipe a mouth with orange frosting.
- To make the jack-o'-lantern faces top with two cut Oreo triangle eyes, a small triangle nose, and the small cut curved scraps of Oreos to make a zigzag mouth. Insert a broken piece of the pretzel stick at the top into the frosting for the stem, then place four green M&M's turned on their side for the leaf decoration.
- *Nutrition estimate based on 16 Oreos being added. Note that you may need more than this though as there will be some that break and you'll have scraps.