Creepy Crawly Cupcakes


Makes 24

Ingredients for Cupcakes

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cups natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ⅔ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (preferably room temperature)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot water (or hot coffee, or 1 tsp instant coffee dissolved into 1 cup hot water)

Ingredients for Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-5 Tbsp milk

For Decorating:

  • Black Sanding Sugar, at least 1 cup, but other colors are fun, too!
  • Black Liquorice Strings, about 16 feet
  • Small round candies such as Smarties, M&M’s, Skittles or Reese’s Pieces.

Directions for Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin tin with cupcake liners (or lightly grease and flour).
  • In large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Stir in canola oil and milk, stirring until combined.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition.
  • Stir in vanilla extract.
  • Add hot water and stir until the mixture is evenly.
  • Fill prepared muffin tins just over ⅔ of the way full and bake at 350F for 18-22 minutes (use the toothpick test to check).
  • Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Directions for Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • In electric mixer cream butter. Add sugar, one cup at a time until completely combined.
  • Stir in cocoa powder and then vanilla extract. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  • Add milk, 1 Tbsp at a time and beating on medium-high speed after each addition for about 15 seconds.
  • Spread in an even ½ inch layer on top of cupcakes. Stick 2 candies into the frosting of each cupcake to make the eyes.
  • Dip the whole frosted part of the cupcake into a bowl filled with sanding sugar. Insert 8 one-inch strips of liquorice into each cupcake. Keep covered until ready to serve.