Halloween Cupcakes

There are but few times in the year when I actually get excited to bake something a little bit decorative & themed…. Easter, Christmas & Halloween (you may have noticed). I’m more of a fondant-fearer by nature, someone who would quite happily pass over any cupcake for something less smothered in buttercream & more substantial in it’s cake to frosting ratio. But, it’s Halloween, a time where I do actually enjoy getting creative, being stained by garish food colourings (don’t neglect those aprons folks!) & making something altogether more ghoulish & fun!

Usually when making cakes, I prefer to create something that looks as though you want to taste & devour it, at Halloween however, it’s quite the opposite. When baking anything for this spooky holiday there are one of two directions you can usually take your decorating…. something fun, think child friendly, usually where orange or black is your colour of choice or then there’s something gory, the sort of thing that doesn’t instantly make you want to eat it upon first sight, rather it disgusts or intrigues instead.

Either way, it should be garish, contain an unreasonable amount of sugar & have disappeared come November the 1st (sharing is optional). For these creepy cupcakes I’ve settled somewhere in the middle with an aptly seasonal black buttercream, burrowing jelly worms & a gory raspberry ‘blood’.

These are as easy to make as they are to eat & a little bit fun too (because who doesn’t love carving cake, you get to eat the middles!). With zero fondant in sight, the trickiest part is piping the buttercream but even then, it’s Halloween, if it’s a mess, does it matter? (who’d even know?) A word to the wise though, black food colouring really is the devils work, aprons & a good soap is recommended, especially when little ones (or thiry-year olds) are involved. 

Whether you’re planning a Halloween party, just want to stuff your face in front of a scary film (I know you do it) or are looking for something to keep little hands busy during half-term, you don’t have to be a professional baker to knock up a batch of these simple chocolate & raspberry cupcakes. Halloween is one of the best times of the year to get creative though, so mix it up, fill them with whipped cream or Nutella, top them with even more chocolate & sprinkles, decorate them wherever your scary imagination takes you (personally, it was between these Colin caterpillars or Brexit for me, but I found the latter just a bit too frightening).

(makes 12)


  • 115g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 190g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 120ml milk
  • 120ml boiling water

For the filling:

  • 90g raspberry jam

For the buttercream icing:

  • 230g butter
  • 420g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a few drops of black food colouring

For the decoration:

  • 2 oreo or bourbon biscuits
  • 12 jelly worms


  • In a large bowl, beat together the butter & sugar until light & fluffy
  • One at a time, beat the eggs into the mixture
  • Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl & beat until smooth
  • Add the vanilla extract & the milk to the bowl & beat until incorporated
  • Now add the boiling water to the mixture & beat until everything is smooth & runny
  • Line a 12 hole cake tray with cupcake case & evenly divide the mixture between them, filling them around two thirds full
  • Bake the cupcakes at 180C for 15-20 minutes, until they spring back in the middle when pressed slightly with your finger
  • Once baked, remove the cupcakes from the baking tray & place on cooling rack until completely cooled
  • Once cooled, carefully use a small sharp knife to cup a small circular top off of each cupcake & set these aside
  • Use the same knife to create a round hollow in each cupcake
  • Carefully spoon 2 tsp of the raspberry jam inside each of the hollows & top them with the circular tops from the cakes
  • To make the buttercream icing, soften the butter in a large bowl using a wooden spoon or hand mixer
  • Add half of the icing sugar to the bowl & beat until incorporated
  • Add the double cream, vanilla, cocoa & remaining icing sugar to the bowl & beat again until thick & smooth
  • Taking a couple of drops at a time, beat in the black food colouring until you have a dark grey-black coloured icing
  • Put the icing into a piping bag  fitted with a star nozzle & pipe evenly on top of each cupcake
  • To decorate, cut the middle section out of each jelly worm & gently stick their heads & tails into the piped buttercream icing as though they were crawling right through the middle
  • Place the biscuits into a food back & use a rolling pin to crush them into crumbs
  • Sprinkle the biscuit crumbs around the jelly worms as though it were soil



  1. Ooh I love the combination of chocolate cake, raspberry jam and buttercream (I’m also not a huge fan of fondant!). I’ve bookmarked this recipe for next year’s Halloween party at Brownies 🙂 This year we made ‘Dracula’s dentures’ (biscuits sandwiched together with pink icing and white mini marshmallows for teeth), and I’m sure they’d love these!

    1. Thanks Rosie 🙂 I’m glad I’m not the only one who isn’t a massive fan of decorative, fondant cakes. Dracula dentures sound brilliant, I used to love making little cupcakes & biscuits like this when I was little. I really hope they go down well, can’t wait to hear how it goes! 🙂

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