Halloween Cupcake Inspiration
I recently agreed to make cupcakes for a big Cub Scout Halloween party. Since I do not usually do the baking or the cake decorating in our family, I needed ideas, so I turned to the Internet for some help. In the end, I had a grand vision of orange or green frosted cupcakes dusted with sugar crystals and dotted with sugar candy eyes. The Boy Scouts were going to love me!
Let’s start with the cupcakes that inspired me.
Five Best Halloween DIY Cupcake Ideas
1. Crawly Cakes. Meagan Reardon at Not Martha is always my go-to for offbeat food projects. (Example: the Meat Hand, which is really what I should have made for the Boy Scouts. “Who wants a finger?!?”) I really liked these wonderful Crawly Cakes, which are made of various store-bought snack cakes, frosting, sugar eyes and Pocky. The end result is a swarm of fun edible creatures.
2. Ghosts and Spiders. If you’re opposed to Little Debbies as a base for your Halloween treats, Megan also has instructions for decorating cupcakes with homemade sugar ghosts and chocolate spiders. I know it sounds complicated (because “homemade” is usually code for “complicated”) but really it isn’t.
3. Hairy Daddy Long Legs. Food Network’s Hairy Daddy Long Leg Cupcakes also had potential — the instructions are fairly simple and don’t require you to make anything from scratch. Frost a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing, cover the icing with chocolate sprinkles and add dot candy eyes and licorice legs. You could also use black cupcake liners to make the body look more like an actual spider. Adorable and easy, but still a no for me. The process of putting 192 licorice legs into two dozen cupcakes just isn’t on my list of things I want to do with my time.
4. Braaaaains. The brain cupcakes at Epicurious also seem really simple to make, especially considering how impressive looking they are. The base is a red velvet cupcake — use a pastry bag to pipe frosting on in a squiggly line to create the brain tissue, making sure to separate the left brain hemisphere from the right. These would be really fun for a grown up Halloween get together, maybe served with a Halloween-themed cocktail. Trick-or-treat for adults.
5. Martha’s Creepcakes. If you want to go all out, I recommend Martha Stewart’s classic Creepcake Cupcakes. I know, it’s Martha Stewart, but honestly, some of these don’t even seem that labor intensive. If you have a flat pastry tip, the mummies would be very easy to recreate, and the bug-eyed alien basically just involves sticking candy and marshmallows on a frosted cupcake. The tentacle alien creature though? Cub Scouts are awesome but I have other things to do (see above re: 192 licorice spider legs).
So What Did I End Up Making?
I know you’re dying to know which of these cupcakes I made for the Boy Scouts. Here’s what happened: I decided that my best bet was to stick with my original vision of frosted cupcakes decorated with sugar eyes. But! I would use black frosting instead of green and orange! Simple and cute but still a little creepy.
Then the weekend got away from me and yesterday, one hour before I had to pick up the kids from school and four hours before the party, I realized the cake decorating store where I’d planned to get the sugar eyes had gone out of business. I ended up topping my cupcakes with sugar candies — mostly smiling jack o’ lanterns — that I picked up at the market on my way back from the closed cake decorating shop.
When I got to the party, there was almost every version of the cupcakes I just shared. Well thought out and nicely decorated and perfectly frosted cupcakes in many different colors.
But you know what? The Boy Scouts loved my cupcakes, mostly because the frosting turned their teeth black. I think the lesson here is that decorated theme cupcakes are great but kids are going to stick them in their mouths and not remember what they looked like, so do what makes the most sense for you.
And maybe also go with black frosting because kids think stained teeth are cool.
Photo source: Depositphoto/krisrobin