Halloween Cupcakes: Frighteningly Fun Frostings

Put down your pumpkins and pitchforks and pick up your pastry bags, it’s time to decorate Halloween cupcakes. This year, we’re thrilled to show you three techniques we love, brought to you by two bloggers who revel in the season.

Both Gwen and MJ, King Arthur bloggers both, love all things colorful and creative. Rather than duke it out over who got to write this year’s post on Halloween treats, they’ve banded together to bring you twice the thrills and three times the frills. Let’s see what the ladies have to say!

MJ: Well, it started with gathering pictures and ideas, which grew to a Pinterest page, which led to a meeting, which led to a list, which covered the page. Eventually we winnowed our list down to our five favorite ideas. We emailed and messaged and talked in the hallways. Gwen baked cupcakes by the dozens and whipped up pounds of icing in preparation for our decorating day.

Julie, our kitchen steward, brought us every Halloween candy she could get her hands on and eventually we headed down to the photo studio with no less than 4 dozen cupcakes in tow.

Some were simply decorated with colored icing and candy, our idea for those last-minute decorators. Others were more elaborate, sporting piped crowns of frosting, for the more dedicated; and these three designs were our show stoppers, for those decorating doyennes out there.

Halloween Cupcakes via @kingarthurflour

Halloween Cupcakes 1: Stacked Icing

Gwen: These cupcakes are vibrant, exciting, and exceedingly easy. Make a batch of Fluffy White Buttercream, and separate it into three different dishes. Add orange and yellow food coloring until you reach the shade that you’re looking for. We like to use soft gel paste colors, as they’re a more concentrated color than the store-bought version.

Fill three piping bags (or do one at a time if you only have one bag) and pipe three separate layers. These ultra-cute candy corn cupcakes look like little masterpieces. Your guests are guaranteed to be impressed.

Halloween Cupcakes via @kingarthurflour

MJ: I’m all about the bold, Gothic colors. Stacks of green, purple, and black really make a statement. To get a deep, dark black icing, add our black cocoa powder to your regular chocolate icing. You’ll get a super-dark color and it tastes like Oreos!

Halloween Cupcakes via @kingarthurflour

Halloween Cupcakes 2: Chocolate-dipped Hi-Hats

MJ: I’ve made Hi-Hat Cupcakes before, but never as fantastic as these choco-dipped Halloween cupcakes.  Skipping the marshmallow and using buttercream icing allowed us to use more color, creating “surprise inside” cakes.  Booo-ti-ful!

If you’ve got the time, try our Fluffy White Buttercream Frosting. If you’re in a hurry, our Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Mix works like magic.

Halloween Cupcakes via @ kingarthurflour

Gwen: Take your tri-colored piped cupcakes (like the candy corn ones from above) and pop them in the freezer for several hours to firm up. Once they’re frozen solid, prepare the chocolate dip.

Melt 2 cups chopped chocolate over low heat or in the microwave. Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and stir until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

To dip, pour the chocolate dip into a tall glass or container. Invert the frozen cupcake, and dip straight down. Just dip to the bottom edge of the frosting; don’t dip the cupcake itself. Hold briefly over the glass to drain excess chocolate. Allow the chocolate to set on the cupcakes at room temperature, or return to the freezer to speed up the process.

Return to room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.  Using a knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean will make slicing a breeze. Any chocolate smudges on your filling can be swept away with the back of the blade.

Dipping your cupcakes in chocolate really takes your dessert to the next level. What a fun surprise for your family and friends, perfect for Halloween. Halloween Cupcakes via @kingarthurflour

Halloween cupcakes 3: Wandering Witches’ Feet

Gwen: How cute do these cupcakes look?! Those poor witches crashed their brooms and fell face first into frosting and cake. What a tasty place to land!

The baking prep for these cupcakes is pretty minimal. Whip up a batch of Fluffy White Buttercream Frosting and add some green food coloring or some soft gel paste until it reaches the desired color. Then all you have to do it pipe or frost your cupcakes before moving on to arts and crafts with MJ.

Halloween Cupcakes via @kingarthurflour

MJ: If my years as a preschool teacher taught me anything, it’s how to cut lots of things at once. By stapling your pattern and paper together firmly, you can cut up to three layers of sturdy stock paper.

Once you have your shoes and boots cut out, take the extra time to add some buttons and shoelaces with a fine pen or marker. The devil’s in the details for these Halloween cupcakes!

Halloween Cupcakes via @kingarthurflour

Use double-sided tape to stick the shoes to the end of a paper straw. I found at least 6 different colors of straws at my local mega-mart in the craft section, including these classic black and white ones.  I’ll get you, my pretty – you and your little cupcake, too!

Halloween Cupcakes via @ kingarthurflour

Well, there you have it. Two halves coming together to make your Halloween cupcakes assortment twice as amazing. We dare you to give these decorating tips a try. In fact, we DOUBLE-DOG dare you!

Gwen: The best part about going all out with holiday baking and decorating is showing them off! And, of course, eating them…

Post your creative Halloween goodies on Instagram and and tag us at #kingarthurflour. We love to look at them; it’s our favorite way to get inspired for our next decorating adventures. Here’s to a day filled with sweet treats and baking tricks. Happy Halloween!

MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour’s baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. lrhyne

    Mary Jane – Love all of these! Could I color the marshmallow topping to look like candy corn? The thought of using all buttercream isn’t as appealing to me. Thanks!

    Linda R

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Hi there,
      Yes, you can use food coloring in marshmallows, so you can try a candy corn center. The only thing I can think of is that you’ll have to work very fast to pipe the different colors before the marshmallow stiffens in the piping bags. Maybe hire a few helpers or call your ghoul-friends over! ~ MJ

  2. Myrrda

    hmmm…..Wonder if I could dip the “candy corn” frosting into white chocolate then add eyes and a mouth for a ghost look.

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      It might work, Myrrda. I think you’d probably need to use the candy melt type of confection rather than pure white chocolate. Do keep us posted if you try this, I’d love to know how it comes out. ~ MJ

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Claire, we’ve found that white chocolate ganache doesn’t set up hard enough for this use. You would be better off using a confectionery coating or candy coating meant for dipping. Barb@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We found those on the internet- just do a search for “witches shoes template” and you’ll find a closet full of choices. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  3. Amy

    How should the cupcakes be stored (I think I’m going to try the marshmallow instead of buttercream and make mini cupcakes). School party is Friday, want to make them ahead of time. Can I keep them in the freezer until the morning of the party, they would be at room temperature for a few hours before being eaten?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Freezing will be fine in an airtight container that’s deep enough not to touch the fabulous frosting! Thaw for a few hours before serving. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Anne, we’ve frozen all sorts of buttercream frostings with good success, but not marshmallow icing. It tends to break down and loses its lovely texture. Best to make it fresh. Kye@KAF

  4. Cristina Patrick

    Do you have a recipe for a cake like cornbread that is gluten free?

    And a Devils Food Cake gluten free. Thanks.

  5. Claire

    OMG! I am SO sorry I just saw these ideas today!! I am SO going to make those witches’ feet next year!!! I LOVE Halloween!

  6. Kathy Herschbach

    Love the idea of using black cocoa powder to the buttercream frosting. How much do you add to the frosting recipe?

  7. Nancy

    I love the “hi-hat” cupcakes, esp for the colourful centers…but I cannot imagine using that much buttercream. Have you had any other trials/thoughts with other substances?


    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Hi Nancy,
      While this recipe uses buttercream, the original recipe for hi-hats uses homemade marshmallow. You could tint that before piping, although I’m not sure if you could stack the colors in the same way. Maybe you could alternate colors in different cupcakes so that the color you get when you bite in is a surprise? ~ MJ

  8. audrey

    thank you for the great idea….one question though how do you slice coated cupcakes so that the coloured frostings dont mix….

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      You can chill them first, then slice and allow them to warm slightly. Using a hot, damp knife helps as well. ~ MJ

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Hi Arlene,
      Ohhh, so much fun! You could use the same idea for the candy corn cupcakes, but use green, red and white. Or check out this blog on piping swirled icing, and think red, pink and white with candy cane crunch.
      I’m a huge fan of Pinterest for cool decorating ideas. My Christmas board is growing by leaps and bounds. ~ MJ

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