Halloween cupcakes

These grab-and-go little desserts could not be simpler to make

Sat, Oct 26, 2019, 06:00

  • Serves: 12
  • Cooking Time: 30 mins
  • Course: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Irish


  • 200g butter, at room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g self-raising flour, sieved
  • Zest of an orange
  • For the buttercream icing:
  • 150g butter, softened
  • 300g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1-2 tbsp milk (as needed)
  • Orange colouring paste
  • 100g dark chocolate, melted


1. Preheat an oven to 170 degrees Celsius, fan, or equivalent.  Fill the muffin tray with paper cupcake cases.

2. Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and using an electric whisk, combine the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce to the slowest speed and gradually add in the eggs, one at a time.

3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla extract. Lastly, add the sieved self-raising flour and half the orange zest.

4. Transfer the batter to the cupcake cases, filling them evenly, each about two thirds full.

5. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 minutes, until nicely risen and golden and slightly springy to the touch. Leave in the tin for five minutes then transfer to a cool wire rack to cool completely before icing.

6. To make the icing, using an electric mixer, first whisk the butter until softened and smooth. Gradually add the sieved icing sugar in three batches (to avoid a powder cloud), and continue whisking until smooth. Lastly, mix in the remaining orange zest and some milk if needed to loosen the icing to avoid it being overly stiff for decorating.

7. To colour icing, dip the tip of a spotlessly clean skewer into the colouring paste, mix through the icing to see how strong the colour is (its best to add colouring gradually to reach your desired tone of orange). If the colour needs to be deepened, continue adding colour.

8. Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle with icing. Decorate each cupcake by piping from the outside inwards to give a peaked effect in the centre. 

9. Roll up a small square of parchment paper diagonally to create a mini paper piping bag. Fill with melted chocolate and pipe outlines of spiders and cobwebs onto a sheet of acetate paper (or some other clean stiff plastic paper). Set aside to cool before using to decorate cupcakes.

 Variation: You could make cobwebs and skeletons with white chocolate.