how to make ghost cupcakes

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These impressive Ghost Cupcakes are perfect for a simple and delicious Halloween treat!

I’m not kidding when I say that these just might be the cutest Halloween cupcakes that you’ll ever make. Who can deny how adorable these Halloween ghost treats are?
And while they’re perfect to go along with any Halloween-theme, they’re also great for fall parties and sharing with family and friends as well. Making a fun dessert recipe and sharing with others is such a simple way to spread happiness!
How to make ghost cupcakes
ghost cupcakes on top of each other
ghost cupcakes
ghost cupcakes on top of each other

Can you use ready made cupcakes for these simple Ghost cupcakes?

If you’re needing to save some time, absolutely! Pick up a batch of pre-made, undecorated cupcakes and just skip over the steps below that teach you how to cook the cupcakes from start to finish.

What alternate homemade frostings can be used for these Halloween Ghost Cupcakes?

Using buttercream icing is actually really great for this recipe because it’s thick enough to keep the ghosts attached and in place.
Note the buttercream frosting we provide below is made especially thick for this reason.
Using other options for frosting like whipped cream wouldn’t’ really have the same texture or taste.
Plus, there’s a good chance that the whipped cream wouldn’t be strong enough to hold the ghost on top of the cupcake.
ghost cupcake recipe

Ghost Cupcakes- Ingredients

FOR THE CUPCAKES:

1 1/2 sticks of butter – softened
1 3/4 cups of granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla
1 Tablespoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 3/4 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of half n half
Purple food coloring gel

FOR THE PURPLE FROSTING:

2 pounds of powdered sugar (32-ounce package)
1 cup of vegetable shortening (Crisco)
2 sticks of butter – softened
3 – 4 Tablespoons of heavy cream
Purple food coloring gel

FOR THE GHOST COVER

Store-bought Fondant – white
Extra small candy disks in white – purple and black
Large Marshmallows
Don’t worry, even though the list of ingredients is long, they’re still super fun and simple to make!
Make certain that you scroll down to the bottom of the post to get the full recipe! This is one Halloween dessert that you’re not going to want to miss.
ghost cupcake batter poured in muffin tin
ghost cupcake batter swirled
swirled purple ghost cupcake batter

Tips for making Ghost Cupcakes

  • Make certain that when you’re working with the fondant that you don’t let it get too warm. If it’s overly warm, it becomes droopy and won’t work as well.
  • Refrain for placing these cupcakes in the refrigerator once you add the fondant. For whatever reason, having fondant in the fridge tends to cause it to dry out and potentially start to crack.
  • If you’re worried that you have too much fondant on the top of your cupcakes, simply cut off the excess with a knife and make it fit.
  • Use a marshmallow as your “secret” step and tip for holding the draped fondant ghost in place. People will be wondering how stiff your frosting is, but really in fact it’s a marshmallow shape!

kitchen aid mixer white frosting

cutting white fondant for ghost cupcakes

cupcake batter swirled purple

purple swirled ghost cupcakes

How can you tell when a cupcake is done cooking?

The easiest way is to insert a toothpick in the middle of the cupcake. If it comes out clean with no residue, the cupcake is done cooking. However, if the toothpick has batter on it still, you’re going to need to continue cooking those cupcakes until they are done completely throughout.

ghost cupcakes top down shot

purple frosted cupcakes

ghost cupcakes

How to Make Ghost Cupcakes

These impressive Ghost Cupcakes are perfect for a simple and delicious Halloween treat!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ghost cupcakes, halloween dessert, halloween treat,
Author: Agnes Hsu

Ingredients

FOR THE CUPCAKES

  • 1 1/2 Sticks butter - softened
  • 1 3/4 Cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/4 TSP salt
  • 2 3/4 Cups flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups half n half
  • Purple food coloring gel

FOR THE PURPLE FROSTING

  • 2 Pounds powdered sugar (32-ounce package)
  • 1 Cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
  • 2 Sticks butter - softened
  • 3-4 TBSP heavy cream
  • Purple food coloring gel

FOR THE GHOST COVER

Instructions

  • 1.
    First, make the cupcakes;  In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, place the softened butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, and mix until well blended, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl and mixing until smooth. In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt, and mix to blend. 
    Add the flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with the half n half, until all flour and half n half have been added, and blending between additions.  Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl, and mix on high speed for one minute.
    Remove mixing bowl from mixer, and scoop out about 1/3 of the cupcake batter into another bowl, and place about 1/4 of a teaspoon of Purple food coloring gel in the middle of the cupcake batter in the bowl.   Swirl the food coloring gel through the batter with a spoon, but leave it swirled, and do not mix the food coloring into the batter completely. (see photos) 
    Place 24 cupcake liners in a 24 count muffin tin or 2 12 count tins.  Fill the liners about 1/2 way with the plain batter, and then add the swirled batter on top of the plain batter, filling the liners about 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  When the cupcakes are done, remove from the oven to a wire rack, and let them cool completely.  
  • Make the Frosting.  This is a thick/stabilized frosting, so it will be thick.  
    While the cupcakes are baking, and cooling; place 2 sticks of butter in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, and mix with the whisk attachment until the butter is light and fluffy. 
    Add the vegetable shortening, and mix until well blended. 
    Add 2 Tablespoons of cream, and blend on low until well mixed. 
    Add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, mixing between additions until all the powdered sugar is added. 
    Add the additional cream if the Frosting is too thick.
    Drop about 4 or 5 drops of Purple food coloring gel into the Frosting, and turn the mixer on and right back off again, 3 or 4 times, to swirl the food coloring through the Frosting, but DO NOT MIX the purple food coloring gel into the frosting, leave it swirled.
    Place in the refrigerator.
  • Roll out the Fondant on a piece of parchment paper, until it's thin. 
    Cut out the Ghosts (one ghost per cupcake) with a metal icing spatula; using the metal spatula, cut out about 4 inch disks, in a scalloped patter around the edges, (see photos) so the Ghosts will drape. 
    Set aside on the parchment paper.
  • When the cupcakes are cool, place the frosting in a pastry bag, and with a large tip, swirl the frosting onto the cupcakes coming up to a point. 
    When all cupcakes have been frosted, place one of the large marshmallows on top of the swirl, and push down a little, securing the marshmallow on top of the frosting. 
    Place the cut out Fondant Ghosts on top of the marshmallow, and place two of the black candy disks on the Fondant for the Ghosts eyes, pressing them gently into the Fondant.  Serve immediately.
    Enjoy! 

Notes

NOTE:  I used Great Value Fondant - white - found at Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market stores.  It worked just as well as the other Brands, was easy to use, and handle, rolled out like a dream, and held the Ghosts shape.  When working with Fondant, a cool setting is best; if it's hot, the Fondant will droop.  If you're not serving the cupcakes as soon as you assemble them, I would suggest not cutting the Ghosts out until 3 hours before serving the cupcakes, and leaving them on the parchment paper in a cool place, but NOT the refrigerator.  The Fridge tends to dry the Fondant out, and it will crack, and that won't be a good look for your Ghosts.  You can Frost the cupcakes ahead of time, and put the Marshmallows on the frosting, and place the cupcakes in the refrigerator.  When you're ready to serve the cupcakes, roll out the Fondant like the instructions above state, and cut out the Ghosts; this can be done up to 3 hours ahead of time, then just place the Ghosts over the marshmallows, add the eyes, and serve.  Enjoy!
 
ALSO:  If your Fondant Ghost is a little too long after you drape it over the marshmallow, simply snip off the fondant around the bottom of the Ghost, so that the swirled frosting is visible.

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