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Halloween Chocolate Cupcakes With Marshmallow Frosting

Welcome, my ghoulish gourmets, to a recipe that will chill your bones and sweeten your soul! 

My Halloween chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow frosting are perfect for anyone who wants to bring a bit of spooky fun to their kitchen.

What’s so great about these ghoulish little cakes is that they’re so easy to make, which is ideal for a last-minute Halloween party.  

And they’re not over-the-top creepy (have you seen some of the really icky Halloween treats out there?  Wow!), so even the littlest of monsters can enjoy them.

The cupcakes are made from my go-to chocolate cake recipe, which is just as easy as preparing a boxed cake mix. Finally, they’re frosted with an easy 7-minute frosting. 

The dirt on top is made from Oreo crumbs – Yum!

Ingredients you’ll need

Here are the main stars of our spooky show!

  • All-purpose flour: The backbone of the cupcakes. This versatile flour is perfect for light, moist cakes. You can also use cake flour, but I think all-purpose flour gives the cupcakes a more airy texture.
  • Sugar: This sweetens up the cupcakes. I use a scant cup, which means just a smidge under a full cup. But if you have a real sweet tooth, use a full cup.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder: This gives the cupcakes their rich, chocolaty flavor. Who can resist that? Go for a good quality cocoa powder for best results.
  • Grapeseed oil: This flavorless oil keeps the cupcakes moist without altering the chocolatey goodness. You can also use any other neutral oil you have on hand.
  • White vinegar & baking soda: It might sound strange to add vinegar into a cupcake recipe, but this combo will give the cupcakes a great rise!
  • Vanilla extract: This adds a subtle depth of flavor to our cupcakes – no baker can be without vanilla extract, I use it in practically every sweet recipe I make.
  • Cold water: This helps bring everything together into a smooth, pourable batter.
  • Sugar, light corn syrup, water, and egg whites: All of these go into our fluffy marshmallow frosting. If you can’t find light corn syrup, glucose syrup works just as well.
  • Oreos: We’re crushing these up to create the “dirt” on our cupcake “graves”. Fun and yummy! And hard and crumbly biscuits will work, but dark-colored ones are better.


Step 1: Prep and mix the cupcake ingredients

Preheat your oven to 350F and line a 12-hole cupcake pan with paper liners (I always do this first so I don’t forget – once I poured the cupcakes into the tray with no liners, and it was a disaster!). 

In a bowl, sift and mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder. 

Then make three wells in the dry mix. One larger than the other two.

Pour the grapeseed oil into the largest well, the vinegar into another, and the vanilla extract into the last one. 

Then pour cold water over everything and whisk until you’ve got a smooth batter.

Pro tip: it’s important the water is cold so it doesn’t promote gluten development in the flour, which often results in rubbery cupcakes. Over-mixing can also give the cupcakes a dense texture.

Step 2: Bake the cupcakes

Fill your cupcake liners about 3/4 full with batter and bake for 15-20 minutes. 

Check if they’re done by lightly pressing the tops. If they spring back, they’re ready! 

Or you can do the good old toothpick test. You want the toothpick to come out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.

Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for a few minutes, then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 3: Make the frosting

Combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and egg whites in a heatproof bowl. 

Set this over a saucepan of simmering water (ie make a double boiler). 

Whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. This should take around 4-5 minutes.

If you don’t have a thermometer. You’re looking for the mixture to thin out and develop a frothy top.

You can also dip your fingers (very quickly) into the mixture and rub it between your fingers. If it’s smooth and you can’t feel any sugar grains, it’s ready.

Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the vanilla and beat the mixture on high speed until it’s glossy and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Don’t over beat! 

Step 4: Decorate the cupcakes

Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cooked cupcakes.

Pro tip: if you don’t have a piping bag, you can make one by cutting off a small corner of a zip-loc bag.

Then crush up a handful of Oreos in a food processor or with something heavy until you have fine crumbs.

Sprinkle these over the frosting to create your ‘dirt’. Add any Halloween decor you want, and voila! You have your very own edible graveyard!

Can I use a different frosting?

I used marshmallow frosting in this recipe because I love its light and fluffy texture. It gives a delightful contrast to the rich chocolate cupcakes. And it only takes 7 minutes to make!

Also, the pristine white color makes an excellent backdrop for the Oreo “dirt” and Halloween decorations.

But if you’re in the mood for a different frosting… no problem, here are some other options.

Buttercream frosting: A classic choice, buttercream is creamy, rich, and super easy to make. It’s heavier than marshmallow frosting so I would use slightly less! If you’re feeling fancy you can try Swiss meringue buttercream.

Cream cheese frosting: If you prefer something tangy to balance out the sweetness of the cupcakes, cream cheese frosting is a fantastic option.

Chocolate ganache: For the chocolate lovers out there, why not double down on the cocoa with a glossy chocolate ganache? It’s made from chocolate and cream, resulting in a rich, decadent topping. Psst… want to be prepared? Ganache is easy to make ahead of time and reheat.

Remember, the key is to choose a frosting you love. 

After all, you’re the one who’s going to be enjoying these ghoulish treats!

Other decoration ideas

I’ve dressed these Halloween cupcakes up as mini graveyards in this recipe, but there are endless ways to bring a festive touch to these treats! 

Here are some more spooky ideas for you to try out:

  1. Candy corn accents: Stick a few candy corns into the frosting for a colorful touch.
  2. Creepy crawlers: Find some gummy worms or plastic spiders to add a creepy-crawly element to your cupcakes. Just remember to remove any plastic decorations before eating!
  3. Fondant shapes: If you’re feeling crafty, you can use colored fondant to create Halloween shapes like pumpkins, ghosts, or bats.
  4. Spooky sprinkles: There are so many fun Halloween-themed sprinkles available these days. From tiny black bats to multicolored ghosts, they’ll transform your cupcakes in seconds.
  5. Edible eyes: Add a couple of edible candy eyes to your cupcakes to make them come alive.
  6. Bloody red drizzle: For a more gruesome touch, drizzle some red icing on top of your cupcakes to mimic blood. This could pair nicely with a vampire or zombie theme! Or add a touch of sweetened cranberry juice to the icing.

Serving suggestions

Want ideas of what else to serve at a spooky spread? 

After all, your guests can’t just eat cupcakes (even though they’ll probably want to with this recipe!).

  • Witch’s brew punch: Make a funky-colored fruity punch for a fun drink, it’s up to you if you use alcohol or not! But I would definitely add some floating fruit “eyeballs” for extra eeriness. Pro tip: Campari is great if you want a ‘bloody’ punch, or you can try one of these Campari substitutes.
  • Jack-o’-lantern stuffed peppers: Hollow out bell peppers and carve a face in them like you would with pumpkins, then stuff them with whatever you want. Here are some great stuffing ideas for peppers, and if you want to reheat the peppers – I’ve got a guide for that too.
  • Mummy dogs: Wrap hot dogs in strips of crescent roll dough and bake until golden. Add dots of mustard or ketchup for eyes, and you have adorable mummy dogs that will be a hit with everyone.
  • Spider web dip: Create a spooky spider web on top of your favorite dip using sour cream and serve with tortilla chips. My personal favorite dips are buffalo chicken dip or spinach artichoke dip.
  • Ghost pizza or pasta: Cut mozzarella into the shape of a ghost and use olives to make eyes (pizza makes great leftovers too – it’s so easy to reheat pizza). Or make some ghoul-shaped ravioli with wonton wrappers.
  • Pumpkin soup: Serve the soup in hollowed-out mini pumpkins for a deliciously warming starter. For a heartier meal, add grilled cheese on the side. Or make a pumpkin risotto instead!
  • Eyeball meatballs: Meatballs are a favorite in my household, and you can add eyes with a small circle of cheese and an olive (same as with the pizza!). Secure the ‘eye’ with a toothpick. Meatballs are also easy to make ahead and reheat.

Storage Instructions

So, you’ve got some leftover Halloween cupcakes? No problem! Here’s how to keep them fresh for later.

Room temperature: frosted cupcakes can stay at room temperature for around 6 hours before the frosting will start to suffer. If you’ve yet to frost the cupcakes, you can keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days. 

Fridge: if you want to keep the cupcakes for longer, it’s best to keep them in the fridge. They will stay fresh for 3-4 days. And remember to take the cupcakes out around 10 minutes before you want to eat them so they can come to room temperature again.

Freezing: you can freeze the unfrosted cupcakes. I set them on a tray and flash-freeze them for 30-60 minutes before putting them in a freezer bag or airtight container. The flash freezing means they won’t stick together. They will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Don’t freeze already frosted cupcakes – the frosting won’t survive.

Pro tip: make sure the cupcakes are completely cool before you store them to avoid any condensation. No one wants soggy cupcakes!

Halloween Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

These Halloween chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow frosting are easy to whip up for your Halloween parties.
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 11 cupcakes


  • For the cupcakes:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons grapeseed oil or other flavorless oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold water
  • For the frosting:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup*
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • A handful of Oreos


  • For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-hole cupcake pan with paper liners (this recipe makes 11 cupcakes, so you can leave a hole empty!). Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, sift in flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine.
  • Using a spoon, make 3 wells in the dry ingredients, one large well and two smaller wells. Pour the grapeseed oil into the largest well, the vinegar into one of the smaller wells, and the vanilla extract into the last well. Pour the cold water over everything and whisk the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth.
  • Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes. They are done when the tops spring back when lightly pressed in the center (or you can do the toothpick test).
  • Remove from the oven and cool in cupcake pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For the frosting: In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer, set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine sugar, corn syrup, 1/4 cup water, and egg whites. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  • Attach the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat mixture on high speed until glossy and voluminous, 3-4 minutes (do not overbeat). Beat in vanilla. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes as desired (I used a large round tip).
  • Process Oreos in a food processor until they are ground into fine crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the frosting and decorate with your Halloween decor.


* I always use a scant cup of sugar, which means just a bit under a cup.
* If you don’t have access to light corn syrup, you can substitute with glucose syrup.

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