Are you ready to sweeten up the scariest night of the year? Then look no further than these festive Halloween cupcakes starring dense and fudgy chocolate cake paired with sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting.
To ensure these Halloween cupcakes steal the spooky spotlight, they’re decked out to resemble pumpkins, complete with pretzel stems and candy vines. Dessert and tabletop décor? Double the win! And now they can join the ranks of their fellow fun and festive sweets, including Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops, Cheesy Breadstick Bones, Halloween Candy Bark and my favorite Blood Red Velvet Pudding with Meringue Bones.
If you love the look of these pumpkin-inspired cupcakes but aren’t a chocoholic like myself, simply swap in my go-to recipe for vanilla bean cupcakes. You can keep the cream cheese frosting or whip up a batch of my silky smooth buttercream frosting instead. So many variations to mix and match!
Preheat your oven for Chocolate Halloween Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and don’t forget to share your culinary creations with me on Instagram by using the hashtag #justatasterecipes for a chance to be featured!
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For the cupcakes:
- 12 Tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the frosting and decorations:
- Green candy melts
- Green sprinkles
- Pretzel rods
- 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- Orange food coloring
Make the cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tins with liners.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition, then add the vanilla extract.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and sour cream.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
- Alternately add the buttermilk mixture and flour mixture to the stand mixer in three increments each, beating between each addition. (Do not overmix the batter.)
- Fill the cupcake tins about 2/3 full then bake the cupcakes for 15 to 18 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer them to a rack to cool completely while you make the frosting and decorations.
Make the frosting and decorations:
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
- Melt the candy melts according to the package instructions then pipe vines onto the lined baking sheet. Immediately top the vines with the green sprinkles then set them aside to cool until they’ve hardened fully.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl and continue beating until combined. Add the vanilla extract and 1 to 2 teaspoons of orange food coloring and beat just until combined and the frosting is your desired color of orange. Refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes to make it easier to pipe.
- Break or cut the edges off the pretzel rods to form 1-inch pieces then insert them into the side of each cupcake to form the pumpkin stems. Pipe or slather the frosting onto the cupcakes, and then using an offset spatula, release the candy melt vines from the wax paper and press them into the tops of the cupcakes so they are coming out from the pretzel stems.
- Serve the cupcakes immediately or store them in the fridge until ready to serve.
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