Scary graveyard brownie cupcakes are a real Halloween treat for your favorites little ghosts and goblins! Dense brownies topped with chocolate buttercream.
“Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat…”, do you remember that song? I used to sing joyously that with my cousins, knowing very well how naughty it was!
Halloween has got to be one of my favorite fall festivities. It’s one of the rare nights sugar crazy kids get to stay up all night, dress like what they secretly want to be in real life, collect pillowcases full of free candy from strangers and your parents don’t say no. I admittedly had a secret stash of candy hidden in my closet that I was sneaking each day until Santa came to town.
I don’t make a lot of cupcakes, but I sure eat a lot more than recommended (if you ask my husband). If I made them often I would be tempted to eat one each day all by myself, you know, not to be wasteful, ha. However, for some reason, I always feel the need to make cupcakes for Halloween, because it’s fun to get creative and tap into your inner kid.
But who really needs a good excuse to turn flour, butter, and sugar into something fun and edible? I’m totally there! It was tough for me to decide on what kind of cupcakes to make this year; there are just too many elements to nail down. I lost sleep over this, haha. So I settled for something a little different, dark chocolate brownie cupcakes with chocolate buttercream.
Halloween Cupcake Decorating Tips
I had never made brownie cupcakes before and thought it would be a nice change-up from traditional cupcake batter. This recipe yields a chewy brownie with a dense fudge-like texture on the inside. Now the even trickier part was picking my cupcake topper decorations.
- This year I went for a spooky graveyard theme. I made little tombstones with Trader Joe’s Speculoos cookies cut in half, then dipped in gray colored icing (powdered sugar mixed with a tiny bit of milk until it reached the right dipping consistency, that’s it!).
- Write tombstone sayings for each cookie. I went for “Boo!, Bonz, Ah!, Yikes and RIP”. I’m sure you can get even fancier and scary.
- For the graveyard “dirt”, I ground up some chocolate wafer cookies and leftover speculoos cookies.
- I found the coolest Wilton skull sprinkles and added a few to each cupcake to make it look like the bones were coming out of the grave.
I had a blast making these graveyard cupcakes! They tasted pretty boo-licious too, I know, I’m a nerd. If you’re looking for more Halloween cupcake ideas, check out my spooky spider web cupcakes. Be safe and have a great Halloween!
What is a Speculoos cookie?
Do you remember the “cookie butter” craze? I think it’s still happening, haha! Some indulgent food geniuses decided to take delicious crispy, caramelized, cinnamon-flavored speculoos cookies that were originally made in Belgium, combine it with sugar and oil, gave it a whirl, and you’ve got cookie butter. The speculoos cookies have a wonderfully sweet and spiced gingerbread-like cookie flavor, just without the ginger sting. You can also find them in the form of Biscoff cookies. I remember getting these on Delta flights, so much better than peanuts. You can crumble the speculoos cookies on top of ice cream, dip it in your favorite hot beverage, or use them for pie crusts, yum!
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Halloween Graveyard Brownie Cupcakes
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, or bittersweet, 60% cocoa recommended
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature, 1 stick
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened, sifted
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 ⅔ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened, sifted
- ⅓ cup milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 speculoos cookies, cut in half
- ½ cup powdered sugar, plus more as needed for glaze and writing
- black food coloring, to achieve gray-colored tombstones
- ¼ cup crushed cookies, or gingersnaps
- skull candies, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. Place chocolate and butter in a double boiler or heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally just until melted, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove bowl from the heat.
- Whisk in sugar and salt until mixture is smooth; whisk in eggs to combine. Gently whisk in flour and cocoa just until smooth (do not overmix).
- Fill each cupcake to about ¾ full with batter. Bake, rotating halfway through until a toothpick inserted halfway in centers comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes and allow to cool completely on the rack.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Using the whisk attachment on a mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift together powdered sugar and cocoa. Whisk together to combine. Whisk in sugar mixture with butter, alternating with milk, beating well after each addition. Beat until smooth. Blend in vanilla. The buttercream will be light and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag.
- In a small bowl, whisk together ½ cup powdered sugar and milk; add milk a ¼ teaspoon at a time until a glue-like consistency is reached. Add more powdered sugar if needed to thicken the glaze. Place 2 tablespoons of the white glaze in a small plastic bag or bottle to use for writing on the tombstones and set aside.
- In the remaining glaze, add a small amount of black food coloring to color the tombstones gray. Cover with plastic wrap if not using immediately.
- Dip the halved cookie into the gray glaze, scraping off excess glaze. Allow glazed tombstones to dry fully on a sheet pan.
- For the white writing glaze, cut off a small portion of the tip of the plastic bottle (if using), and write the letters on each dried tombstone. Set aside.
- Pipe a generous amount of buttercream in the shape of a circle on top of each cupcake. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of crushed cookies evenly on top of the piped buttercream. Add the tombstone to the center of each cupcake. Add a few candy skulls if desired.
- Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart, Cupcakes
- Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers.
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