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4.34 from 15 votes
Close up of an easy ghost cupcake with marshmallow frosting and a cute chocolate face!
Easy Ghost Cupcakes
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr

Boo! These easy ghost cupcakes are simple to decorate and the perfect treat for your Halloween party. My favorite no-fail chocolate cupcake is topped with a swirl of marshmallow frosting and a chocolate face is piped on for spooky cuteness.

Course: Cupcakes, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cupcakes, ghost cupcakes, marshmallow frosting
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Calories: 276 kcal
Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • tsp baking powder
  • tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup boiling water
Marshmallow Frosting
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
To Decorate
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate, melted
Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 - 12 cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add buttermilk, eggs, and oil to the dry ingredients and mix well until combined.

  4. Slowly add in boiling water and mix to combine.
  5. Fill each lined cup using an ice cream scoop and bake 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Rotate the pans once while baking.
  6. Cool the cupcakes in the pans for about 5 minutes, then remove them from the pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.
Marshmallow Frosting
  1. Place all ingredients except marshmallows in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Be sure the water does not touch the bottom of the pan.

  2. Beat with an electric mixer until very thick and glossy, at least 7-8 minutes. A candy thermometer inserted into the mixture should read 160 degrees.

  3. Add in the marshmallows and continue to beat until marshmallows are melted, about 3 mins.
  4. Remove from heat and beat for an additional 7-8 minutes, until cooled and very thick. The bottom of the bowl should feel room temperature, not warm. If it is still warm, continue beating.

Decorate the Cupcakes
  1. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip about 2/3 full with marshmallow frosting. Pipe frosting in concentric circles on top of the cupcake, creating a peak.

  2. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes, refilling the piping bag as needed.
  3. Place the melted chocolate into another piping bag fitted with a small round pastry tip (#2). Pipe eyes and a mouth on each cupcake. 

Recipe Notes

Special equipment needed: 24 cupcake liners, pastry bags, large round pastry tip, #2 round pastry tip

If you don't have pastry tips, simply cut a wider hole at the end of a pastry bag for the frosting, and just the tip for the chocolate face.

Frosting Tips:

  • Be sure no egg yolk slips into the frosting as it could prevent it from thickening.
  • Make sure your mixing bowl is clean and grease-free, as that may inhibit thickening.
  • When heating the frosting over simmering water, be sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water and keep the heat to very low.
  • To ensure your frosting is fully cooked, insert a candy thermometer after whipping for 7-8 mins. The thermometer should read 160 degrees.
  • Use a whisk attachment to beat the frosting in order to incorporate air and volume after it is taken off the heat. 
  • Put you hand on the bottom of the bowl after beating it off the heat for 8-10 mins. It should feel room temperature, not warm. If it is still warm, continue beating. The time is simply a guide here, rely on touch and sight to be sure your frosting is light, glossy, and thick.
  • Frosted cupcakes can be kept at room temperature for 2-3 days. Don't refrigerate them as the frosting may weep.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Ghost Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 276 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 21mg7%
Sodium 357mg16%
Potassium 138mg4%
Carbohydrates 53g18%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 46g51%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 45IU1%
Calcium 42mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.