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Halloween Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes are perfect for kids when paired with fun decorations and for adults when presented with a simple swirl of chocolate buttercream and an optional dusting of grated chocolate.

Photographs: Natasha Liviero

Text: Natasha Liviero

Chocolate Cupcakes

(Makes 24 cupcakes)


260g cake flour

400g granulated sugar

90g cocoa powder

5ml baking powder

5ml baking soda

5ml salt

2 extra large eggs

250ml full cream milk

125ml canola oil

10ml vanilla extract

250ml hot strong coffee (I use espresso)


  1. Set oven to 180°C.

  2. Prepare muffin tins with cupcake paper cups.

  3. Sift together the cake flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

  4. Place sifted ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with a flat beater.

  5. Add the wet ingredients, excluding the coffee, and beat until well combined.

  6. Add the hot coffee and mix for another minute.

  7. With a spatula, wipe down the sides and bottom of the bowl, ensuring all the ingredients are properly blended.

  8. Pour the liquid batter evenly into the paper cups until 2/3 full. Do not overfill.

  9. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until a skewer/toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean.

  10. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the muffin tins for a few minutes before removing and placing them onto a cooling rack. Handle carefully as the cupcakes will be very soft.

Note: These cupcakes are super soft and moist and best eaten a day after baking. They will last up to five days stored in a cool, airtight container.

Buttercream Frosting


125g Soft butter, cubed

350g Icing sugar

90g Cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

100ml full cream milk (approximately)

10ml vanilla extract


  1. On medium speed, with a flat beater, mix the butter for five minutes.

  2. Sift the icing sugar, cocoa and salt.

  3. On a low speed, add the dry ingredients in batches, alternating with the milk. Add enough milk to achieve your desired consistency.

  4. Add the vanilla and mix until well combined.

  5. Place buttercream into a piping bag with a nozzle of your choice and pipe swirls onto the cupcakes.

Note: This recipe makes enough buttercream for 16 cupcakes. If you like your cupcakes with a generous serving of buttercream or would like to ice more cupcakes, double the recipe.

Easy step-by-step decorations for Halloween themed cupcakes.



  1. Prepare three different sized star cookie cutters. Roll out purple and green gum paste approximately 2mm thick. Use purple gum paste for the largest and second-largest stars and green for the smallest stars.

  2. With the largest and second-largest cookie cutters, cut out the number of star decorations desired, bearing in mind that each star has a front and a back i.e. two stars are stuck together to make one star.

  3. Use the smallest cookie cutter to cut out a single star per largest star.

  4. To assemble the two larger-sized stars, take a star and dampen it slightly. Lay a toothpick from the centre through the lowest point. (See pic 1 below)

  5. Take another star and gently position it over the base star and press gently to adhere. You can brush the stars with edible silver dust at this point. (See pic 2 below)

  6. Take the smallest stars, dampen the backs slightly and carefully position in the centre of the largest stars. (See pic 3 below)

  7. Set aside for at least 24 hours.

Note: Break up the preparation of the cupcakes by making the gum paste figures a few weeks in advance (they will simply harden with time) and the cupcakes with buttercream frosting a day in advance. Position the decorative figures just before serving.

Witches Hat


  1. Weigh out 4g and 8g purple gum paste and roll into balls. (Slide 1).

  2. Press the 4g ball into a flat disc. (Slide 2).

  3. Shape the 8g ball into a wine bottle. Gently roll a thin ‘neck’ to create the tip of the hat. Fold the tip over slightly. (Slide 3 & 4).

  4. Dampen the base and position in the centre of the disc. (Slide 5).

  5. Roll out green fondant and cut 5 - 6mm wide strips to wrap around the base of the hat and black squares, slightly wider than the bands, to conceal the joins. (Slide 6).

  6. Dampen the inside of the strip and wrap it around the base of the hat. Next, dampen the inside of the black square and press it down gently over the join. (Slide 7).

  7. Set aside for at least 24 hours.



  1. Using orange gum paste, weigh out 2g and 4g and roll into balls. (Slide 1).

  2. Measure the length of the two balls next to each other and cut a toothpick slightly shorter. Push the toothpick through the larger ball into the smaller ball to secure the two together. Gently close the hole at the back. (Dampen the sides you are attaching to help with adhesion). (Slide 2 & 3).

  3. Using black gum paste, roll small balls approximately 2mm in diameter. Carefully dampen slightly and adhere to the top of the small ball to create eyes. (Slide 4).

  4. Roll a piece of orange gum paste 5 - 6mm in diameter and approximately 15cm long. (Slide 5).

  5. Cut six pieces, 2.5cm in length. Insert a piece of toothpick into one end and curve slightly to create spider legs. (Slide 6). Set aside to harden for 15 minutes.

  6. Dampen the sides of the larger ball and insert three spider legs on either side. (Slide 7 & 8).

  7. Set aside for at least 24 hours.

Spiders Web


  1. Melt 100-150g dark chocolate (depending on how large and thick you make your webs) over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring every 10-15 seconds until melted.

  2. Prepare a piping bag with a fine 1mm plain nozzle (or snip off a tiny hole at the tip of the piping bag) and fill with melted chocolate. Set aside to cool and thicken slightly. If the chocolate is too warm, it will be too runny and difficult to control.

  3. Sketch spider webs onto a piece of baking paper. Include a 5cm line extending from the base of the webs to position the toothpicks. (Slide 1).

  4. Flip the paper over and pipe the cooled chocolate over the web sketches. Place a toothpick over the chocolate covering the positioning lines, and pipe more chocolate over the toothpick to conceal and secure the toothpick in place. (Slide 2 & 3).

  5. Set aside for 24 hours to solidify.

  6. Brush with silver food dust (Slide 4).



  1. Using white gum paste, roll two equal-sized balls and flatten slightly to form a disc. Join the two discs by dampening one side of each disc. Push together and dry for 10 minutes. (Slide 1).

  2. Roll two equal-sized smaller green balls, dampen slightly and gently press onto the discs. Set aside for at least 24 hours. (Slide 2).

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