Skull Cupcakes

Red Skeleton

The scariest part of Halloween is that it took me over a week to post a picture and recipe! This year we dressed as Bert & Ernie and went to a friend’s costume party. Of course I brought along homemade cupcakes. The skull decorations were inspired by Martha Stewart circa 2005. I adapted the red velvet cake recipe from Martha and the Lee Brothers.


Serves 24

2T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2C cake flour
1t salt
1 1/2C sugar
1 1/2C canola oil
2 large eggs
2T red food coloring
1t vanilla extract
1/2T zest from navel orange
1C sour cream
1 1/2t baking soda
2t white vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pans with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk together flour, salt, and cocoa in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mix sugar and oil on medium speed until combined. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in food coloring and vanilla and orange zest. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
  4. Stir together baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl. Add baking-soda mixture to batter, and mix on medium speed for ~15 seconds.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean (~23 mins). Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then remove from pans to cool completely on wire racks.


(from cupcakes!)

1/2C unsalted butter (room temp)
6oz cream cheese (room temp)
1t vanilla extract
3C powdered sugar

  1. Beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla on low speed until smooth.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Increase to medium speed and beat about 1 minute to lighten the frosting.


48 dark brown M&Ms
48 jimmies (aka chocolate sprinkles)
144 white Jelly Bellys (ie coconut)

  1. Place 2 M&Ms logo-side down near the “top” of each cupcake as eyes.
  2. Place 2 jimmies in the center of each cupcake as nostrils.
  3. Place 2 rows of 3 jelly beans near the “bottom” of each cupcake as teeth.


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