Well it’s the perfect time of year to add these monster cupcakes to my Halloween recipe line up. They’re cute, colourful, fun but trying seriously hard to be menacing. But you won’t want the kids getting all of these because these chocolate Halloween cupcakes taste amazing too.

I used black cocoa in these cupcakes, just like I did with my black velvet cake and along with these monster cookies, these are some fun treats for October, or any time.

A stack of 3 cupcakes with one facing the camera on top.

Why you’ll love it

These fun monster cupcakes are the best of so many things.

  • Moist, tender chocolate cupcakes
  • Whipped white chocolate buttercream frosting
  • A fun and easy design
  • Great for birthday parties or a Halloween party

You can use black cocoa to add to the Halloween vibe like I did or just use dutch cocoa from your grocery store.

If you don’t think of yourself as much of a cake decorator, I’ve got your back because neither am I. I have a good go but I get impatient and tend to opt for easy decorating ideas yet these cupcakes are so fun. Grab yourself some fun colours and edible eyes and you’re well on your way to cute chocolate Halloween cupcakes.

Tools you’ll need

Ingredients you’ll need

Both the cupcakes and the frosting have everyday ingredients, with the exception of black cocoa which you can feel free to swap for dutch process cocoa instead.

Ingredients for black cocoa cupcakes on a marble benchtop.

Detailed quantities and directions in the recipe card below.

  • Black cocoa: I use black cocoa to give these a dark Halloween vibe but you can absolutely swap this for dutch process cocoa that you can buy at your local grocery store.
  • Flour: Just use regular plain / all-purpose flour for this one.
  • Baking powder and soda: These cupcakes use a combination of baking powder and baking soda.
  • Salt: As with pretty much all sweets, it’s worthwhile adding a touch of salt which actually intensifies flavours.
  • Buttermilk: Whole buttermilk makes these cupcakes unbelievably tender.
  • Eggs: Eggs add structure here and a richness.
  • Sugar: You’ll use both brown sugar and white granulated sugar in these cupcakes. Both add sweetness, but the brown adds a little moisture too.
  • Butter: It’s best to use unsalted butter, so you can control the amount of salt.
  • Vanilla: Vanilla extract is used both to intensify the flavours and balance them. 

How to make chocolate Halloween cupcakes

There are two parts to these monster cupcakes, the first being the dark chocolate cupcakes and they’re so easy to make, you don’t need any fancy equipment.

A collage of 4 images showing how to make the cupcake batter.

See the recipe card below for the full recipe details.

  1. Dry ingredients: Begin by sifting together the dry ingredients, then give them a good whisk to make sure they’re well distributed. 
  2. Wet ingredients: In a separate bowl, combine melted butter and sugar. Whisk in the eggs, one at time until smooth, then mix through the vanilla (photo 1)
  3. Alternating the flour mix and buttermilk: Now you want to add 1 third of the flour mix to the wet ingredients (photo 2), fold that in, followed by half the buttermilk which you’ll gently mix in. Repeat this process – flour, buttermilk, flour – just gently folding it in each time until just combined (photo 3).
  4. Divide into cupcake cases: Divide the batter evenly between 12-14 cupcake liners (photo 4) (using a large cookie scoop makes this very easy), then bake.
  5. Let them cool on a wire rack before piping.

Of course, any flavour cupcake will go well with this frosting so try some different flavours if you prefer, like these;

Ingredients for whipped white chocolate buttercream

This whipped white chocolate buttercream is one of my favourites. It’s thick and creamy and tastes amazing. 

Ingredients for whipped white chocolate buttercream on a marble surface.

Detailed quantities and directions in the recipe card below.

  • Icing sugar: Icing sugar (aka powdered sugar) is what you need for this one.
  • Butter: Again, use unsalted butter so that you can control the salt level.
  • White chocolate: The white chocolate in this buttercream takes it up another level. Use a nice eating bar of white chocolate here for the best flavour.
  • Vanilla: Vanilla extract adds flavour.
  • Milk: Milk is added to adjust the consistency.

In addition to this, you’ll need some decorating ingredients.

  • Gel food colouring: Gel food coloring will add intense colour without making your frosting runny through added liquid.
  • Edible eyes: Edible candy eyes are the cutest and I get sucked into buying them every year even though I’m unlikely to use them all. I also found some wafer eyes this year that you can see in the pictures too.

How to make whipped white chocolate buttercream

This buttercream is very similar to making a regular buttercream or American buttercream, with the addition of melted white chocolate. The chocolate gives both a lovely flavour and consistency.

A collage of 4 images showing how to make the whipped white chocolate frosting.

See the recipe card below for the full recipe details.

  1. Cream the butter and sugar: Start by beating together the butter and sugar until it’s looks light and creamy. Don’t skimp on this part. 
  2. Add the milk: Add the vanilla and milk (photo 5) to the creamy mixture, and beat it through.
  3. Add the white chocolate: Now add the melted white chocolate (photo 6) and beat for about 3 minutes until it’s looking pale, thick and whipped (photo 7).
  4. Add colouring: Divide the buttercream among 3 or 4 bowls, depending on how many colours your using, then use a toothpick to add a little colouring at a time, mixing it through until it’s the desired colour (photo 8).

Now you can pipe at will onto the cooled cupcakes. I used just two different piping tips for these monster cupcakes. 

  • A multi-opening or grass tip for the monster’s fur style piping on the purple and also for the swirly fur on the orange monsters. Similar to a Wilton piping tip #233.
  • A small open star piping tip for the blue and green monsters, similar to a Wilton piping tip #199.

Piping these monster cupcakes really takes no skill, so play around with whatever piping tips you have on hand because, as soon as you add the eyes, it changes them completely.

11 colourful cupcakes with candy eyes on a wooden platter.

How to fill a piping bag

If you don’t use them often, filling a piping bag can get messy, so here’s my easy, no-mess piping bag filling tips.

  1. Start by cutting the tip of the bag off, if using disposable, just big enough to poke the tip of the piping tip or coupler through. Note: A coupler is two parts, that screw together to surround and hold the piping tip in place, and are used to easily swap out piping tips.
  2. If you’re using a coupler, first insert the internal portion of the coupler, into the bag. If not, slip the piping tip down inside the bag and make sure the bag is tight around it. Again, if using a coupler, add the tip to the outside, then screw on the external part of the coupler.
  3. Hold the bag gently around the centre, then fold the top of the bag down over your hand. Use a small spatula (I like a silicone spatula best for it’s flexibility), to spoon the frosting into the bag, pressing it down on top of the last so there are no air bubbles.
  4. Continue adding the frosting until the bag is filled all the way from it’s tip to the top of your hand that’s holding the bag.
  5. Unfold the top of the bag and twist the top a few times so it’s tight against the frosting. Now you’re ready to pipe.

Storage

Monster cupcakes will keep well for 4-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring them to room temperature before serving. They can sit at room temperature for up to 24 hours, without an issue.

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A variety of coloured cupcakes on a wooden platter with candy eyes.

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12 colourful cupcakes with candy eyes on a wooden platter.

Monster Cupcakes

4 from 1 vote
These adorable monster cupcakes are perfect Halloween treats or for birthday parties. Moist and tender dark chocolate cupcakes, topped with a fun, colourful frosting and beady little eyes.

Ingredients

FOR THE BLACK COCOA CUPCAKES

  • 130 g plain (all purp) flour (1 cup / 4.6oz)
  • 40 g black cocoa (½ cup / 1.4oz)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 113 g unsalted butter, melted (½ cup / 4oz / 1 stick)
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar (100g / 3.5oz)
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed (100g / 3.5oz)
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup buttermilk (180ml)

FOR THE WHIPPED WHITE CHOCOLATE FROSTING:

  • 226 g unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks / 1 cup)
  • 325 g icing (powdered) sugar, sifted (2 ½ cups / 11.5oz)
  • 180 g white chocolate (1 cup / 6.4oz)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Gel food colouring
  • Candy eyes

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 180C / 350F (160C fan) and line your muffin tins with paper cases
  • In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well to combine. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the melted butter and both sugars until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl each time and beating well after each. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
  • Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture. Stir through gently until just combined. Now add half of the buttermilk, mix gently again. Continue like this until all the flour and buttermilk is combined… just. It is important not to overmix or be too heavy-handed otherwise your cupcakes will turn out dense and tough.
  • Fill the cupcake cases only to about ⅔ full. Bake in the oven for around 18-20 minutes, turning the pan around in the oven halfway through to make sure they bake evenly. When a skewer inserted comes out with just a crumb or two, they are done.
  • Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

FOR THE WHIPPED WHITE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

  • Microwave the white chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring well between each, until just melted. Set aside and allow to cool.
  • Beat together the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Don't skimp on this part – mix for a good 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the milk and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated
  • Add the melted and cooled chocolate, then beat on medium-high for around 3 minutes. It should be smooth and creamy.
  • Divide into 3 or 4 bowls and colour each to desired colours.
  • Spread or use a piping bag and piping tips to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. All ovens vary and often thermostats aren’t accurate. It’s handy to keep an oven thermometer inside your oven to ensure the right temperature. Check these cupcakes 2-3 minutes before the recipe suggests.
  4. I used a grass tip and open star tip to make my monster’s fur designs.
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