Not Martha

to make: halloween cupcakes

ghost cupcakes

spider cupcakes

my inspiration – a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery

the ghost mold as seen from underneath

one little sugar ghost drying

colored sanding sugar

cupcake with a quarter for scale – I made mini cupcakes

making piped spider 1

making piped spider 2

making piped spider 3

this one is my favorite

halloween! cupcakes!

I love Halloween. I was born in October and as a little kid always though Halloween was my holiday. So this year I tried some cupcakes. note: all the cupcakes pictured are mini cupcakes.

ghost candies
There was a nice picture of a charming cupcake from Magnolia bakery in Manhattan in Lucky magazine a while back. You can see the picture of it to the left. I though the little sugar daisy decorations were precious. But I couldn’t find anything like them, so I made some. I found some Wilton candy molds at Michaels – tiny (about the size of a quarter) ghosts and pumpkins. I used the mexican sugar skull recipe from (a very friendly company with everything for Day of the Dead). They have the recipe, instructions and pictures here.

One cup of sugar, one teaspoon of meringue powder, sift together, then sprinkle bit by bit one teaspoon of water and mix until it is just wet enough to hold together. Pack into molds, slide out of molds onto cardboard and let dry overnight.

I used superfine sugar because that is what I had in the house at the time, I’m not sure if it worked better than regular sugar, but it worked very well. I used a toothpick to dot the ghost eyes of the mold with black gel food coloring before I packed the suagr in, which worked pretty well. I didn’t try coloring sugar to make the pumpkins yet, but I will probably do that soon. After they had dried the ghosts were very hard, perfect.

I used the same black gel food coloring to color the frosting into a drab gray, and to color some sugar for sanding as well. I’m sure black sanding sugar from the store would have been great, but I was too lazy to make the trip. I made mini cupcakes – you can see the results to the left.

I used a cake mix for the cupcakes and a can of cream cheese frosting. The frosting didn’t hold up very well. I would also like to find tiny candy molds in the shape of bats, skulls, and tombstones. I think the ghosts would have looked cuter on regular sized cupcakes.

chocolate spiders
This is recycled from last year. I melted some semi sweet chocolate chunks and used a plastic bag with a tiny bit of the corner cut off to pipe it onto the mini cupcakes. I like the way they turned out. You can also pipe frosting. I found the best way to do this was to pipe the head and all of the legs first, then the body, see left for three successive pictures. You could, of course, pipe a spider on top of a frosted cupcake. I’m not sure if it would be more difficult though.

For posterity, here is the picture from last year:

spider cupcakes

added Oct. 2006 — You might also be interested in my most recent Halloween creation, crawly spider cakes:


19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ditte // Jan 25, 2007 at 6:06 am

    these rocks. i’m gonna make something like that, for my cupcake party:)

  • 2 Dee // Apr 5, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    love the pics!! i’m especially interested in your mini cupcakes. I’m having a hard time finding a pan and the paper liners that are the same size for a mini cupcake. Can you tell me what you used for these? Thanks alot!

  • 3 Mabel // Sep 23, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Your idea to mold the ghosts is great, but you could also have melted dark chocolate for the eyes and white chocolate for the bodies. You can colour the white chocolate for your pumkins and other decorations.

    At easter, when store have white bunnies left at reduced prices, I stock up on them and freeze them for future decorating projects. I find the white chocolate so much whiter than baker’s white chocolate.

  • 4 Sarah // Oct 3, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    I love these! Those spiders are really neat. I also like working with the meringue and sugar mixture because it makes a nice smooth layer. Do you ever add butter to your meringue icings?

    I have some Halloween cupcake ideas too at

  • 5 Valerie // Oct 15, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    I loved the ideas! Breaking it down for those of us not very crafty was wonderful.

    I hope to use one or two for my Halloween get together!

  • 6 Linzi // Oct 23, 2007 at 5:29 am

    I was just wondering how you make black food coloring!

  • 7 megan // Oct 23, 2007 at 7:37 am

    Linzi – I purchased black food coloring paste at a nicer grocery store, you usually cannot find it at normal grocery stores. Or look at a baking or cake design store.

  • 8 Denise // Oct 24, 2007 at 5:14 am

    Bravo! Well done! Looks great!
    I’m with you, I make the mini’s too.
    The kids love them as much as the big ones and they are such a smaller mess!

  • 9 jz // Oct 25, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    Wow, cool spiders! Good job on the photos too. Smaller is better. ;)

  • 10 FhelZone // Oct 26, 2007 at 2:06 am

    This is awesome! I mean look at all this cupcakes their fantastic.

  • 11 zoey // Oct 26, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    there soooo cut my mom wants to use the decoration on the cupcakes for my holloween girl scout party tomarrow[saturday].HOLLA AT YA!!!

  • 12 karen // Oct 27, 2007 at 5:59 am

    The best way I have found to make black frosting is to start with chocolate frosting and add black paste food coloring.

  • 13 ym // Oct 30, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    I just made piped spider cupcakes for my preschool class. It was easy, but looked very cool. I am sure kids will love them!

  • 14 zhqxkg jzvu // Sep 6, 2008 at 4:59 pm

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  • 15 Rose from FineCraftGuild dot com // Aug 28, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    I LOVE this tutorial post. Easy to understand, clear instructions and great, simple ideas.

    OK. You’ll be quoted soon at FineCraftGuild


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    […] Martha creates some beautiful spider and ghost cupcakes. Share and […]

  • 17 Mindy // Oct 9, 2009 at 9:51 am

    These are so great! I am an Editor of a recipe website and mentioned your cupcakes in a recent blog post.

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    […] crawly, chocolate-y spiders sit atop a vanilla cupcake made by notmartha, check out her blog post for an easy-to-follow decorating how-to. A spider to tempt you, not scare you. Photo: […]

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