These Chocolate Halloween Cupcakes with Spooky Filling are a cute dessert idea to celebrate All Hallows Eve! This is an easy small batch recipe for tender chocolate cupcakes that are filled with a caramel sauce, and topped with a fluffy marshmallow meringue frosting. Dress up the cupcakes with your favorite ghostly topper or sprinkles for a delightfully bewitching dessert!
Halloween Cupcake Idea
This is officially my first Halloween cupcake on the blog. Pretty exciting, right? Ok, maybe not that exciting. But, I was pretty excited to start conjuring up some Halloween treats this year.
The idea for these Halloween cupcakes came from a desire (or craving), to make make my chocolate cupcakes again – the one’s from the Black Forest Cupcakes recipe.
Chocolate seems like a quintessential flavor for Halloween – just check out the kid’s trick-or-treat bags at the end of the night. And what goes awesome with chocolate? How about a little caramel and marshmallow.
Boom. The Chocolate Halloween Cupcakes with Spooky Filling are born.
Chocolate Cupcakes For Halloween Desserts
The chocolate cupcakes, oh the chocolate cupcakes. I crave these about every other day. No joke. I’ve tested my fair share of chocolate cupcakes for the blog and none come close to this recipe. So what makes them so great?
- Tender and moist – I used the ‘m’ word, but I honestly can’t think of another to do these little cakes justice.
- Reminiscent of Devil’s Food Cake – there are a lot of reasons a Devil’s Food cake (Wiki to the rescue again!) is determined to be devil’s food – but my definition is how cocoa rich it is.
- Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate – the cupcakes taste like chocolate. For real. We add a little brewed coffee to help amp up the cocoa flavor.
- Easy – often I ask myself ‘if they are so easy, why don’t you make them everyday …‘ Good question, self.
The chocolate cupcakes could be packaged and sold in stores. They are just that good. But, that is my opinion, and I’m sticking with it!
Caramel Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
I honestly don’t know if calling the caramel filling in these cupcakes ‘bloody’ is p.c. these days … but for the sake of a cute cupcake and what is supposed to be a fun and silly holiday, I will.
I saw on one of my Halloween baking shows (honestly can’t remember which one), the chef said caramel is a great start to creating a ‘bloody’ filling. Because of the color of caramel already, and how well red food coloring works with it.
Low and behold, they were right! One tiny little drop of red food coloring in the caramel is all I needed for the spooky filling! Tip: start with just one drop of food coloring. A little goes a looong way!
Now, for another ‘keeping it real‘ moment, I used store-bought caramel for this recipe. Yep. And I may do it again. However, if you want to stay fancy, you can try the Maple Syrup Caramel recipe on the blog and make your own.
Tips For Making Chocolate Halloween Cupcakes with Spooky Filling
Chocolate Cupcake Baking Tips
- Use neutral oil – I prefer canola oil. Even with vegetable oil, I found it left a bit of a ‘taste’. We are using oil because it makes the cupcakes tender and moist.
- Hot coffee – The coffee needs to be hot. This helps ‘bloom’ the cocoa powder. I heat mine in the microwave until it boils.
Marshmallow Frosting Tips
- Separate the egg when it is cold – The yolk and white separate much easier and ‘cleaner’ when the egg is cold.
- Use a thermometer – I highly recommending investing in a small digital thermometer – especially if you like to make meringues or caramel.
- Use a hand held mixer – There is just not enough ingredient volume to make the stand mixer work. Been there.
Halloween Theme Toppers and Toppings
I think it is safe to say you can find Halloween baking decorations at any grocery these days. So, have fun. And get the kids involved. We aren’t submitting these cupcakes to any professional baking competition (at least I’m not), so get creative!
I found all of my decorations at Target.
More Easy Halloween and Fall Dessert Ideas
- Candy Corn Pudding Parfait Dessert
- Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies with Maple Icing
- Soft Apple Cookies With Caramel Icing
- Apple Chai Cheesecake Bars
- Chocolate Sugar Cookie Sandwiches
Chocolate Halloween Ghost Cupcakes with Spooky Filling
- 1 – Muffin/Cupcake Pan
Spooky Caramel Filling
- 10 teaspoons Caramel Topping (I used Hershey's)
- red gel food coloring
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons canola oil (any neutral oil will work)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons hot brewed coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon water, room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Spooky Caramel Filling
- I used about 2 teaspoons of caramel filling per cupcake. You can use more or less based on your preference.
- Add the caramel topping to a small bowl. Start with one drop of red food coloring, stir, and add another drop if you want a deeper shade of red.
- Preheat the oven to 350o degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the oil and both sugars. Mix with a whisk until well combined. Then add the buttermilk, coffee, and vanilla, and whisk until fully incorporated.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt over the wet ingredients. Gently whisk to incorporate until no dry streaks remain.
- Pour the batter equally into the cupcake liners. I recommend a cookie scoop to get equal portions – and less mess!
- Bake for 12 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted in the middle of one of the cupcakes comes out mostly clean (a few small crumbs is ok, and good).
- Cool the cupcakes in the pan set on a wire rack for at 10 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on the wire rack.
- Scoop out a small amount of cupcake from the middle to make the well for the caramel sauce. You can use a small paring knife, apple corer, or even the wide end of a piping tip. The size of the well is completely your preference and how much caramel you want in the middle of the cupcake.
- Make the frosting while the cupcakes are cooling. This is the same recipe as the Glossy Marshmallow Meringue Frosting.
- Create a double boiler – Simmer about 2-inches of water in a saucepan. In a heat-proof mixing bowl large enough to fit on top of the saucepan – without touching the water – add the egg white, water, corn syrup, granulated sugar, and cream of tartar. Set the bowl on top of the saucepan and attach a thermometer to the side of the bowl (recommended – see notes).
- Using one of the whisk attachments as your whisk, constantly whisk the mixture until foamy and white. We want the sugar to dissolve and the temperature of the mixture to reach 160F degrees. This may take up to 4 minutes. If you don't have a thermometer, you can test if the sugar has dissolved by carefully rubbing a little of the egg white between your thumb and index finger – if done, you will not feel sugar granules.
- Remove the bowl from the heat, and add the vanilla extract. Using a hand-held mixer with whisk attachments, beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form, and the frosting is pillowy and glossy. This may take about 2 and 1/2 minutes. The frosting is ready to be used immediately.
- Fill the well in the cupcake with your desired amount of Spooky Caramel Filling, and either pipe or spoon the marshmallow frosting on top of the cupcakes. Enjoy!
- Yes – I used store bought for this recipe.
- If you want to make homemade caramel sauce, you can try my Maple Syrup Caramel Sauce.
- This is the exact same recipe as my Glossy Marshmallow Meringue Frosting
- Thermometer – Using a standard candy thermometer for this may not work – given its size (because we are making a small batch!) As an alternate – this is my go-to thermometer for small batch baking.
- Separate the egg white when it is cold – I’ve learned this through practice and professional advice.