Photo: Romulo Yanes; Styling: Rachel Haas
Hands-on Time
42 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 50 Mins
Serves 12 (serving size: 1 cupcake)

These spooky spiderweb cupcakes for Halloween are easier to decorate than you think. Simply frost in white icing, then pipe black icing in concentric circles and drag a toothpick through them to create the webbed effect. For kid-friendly cupcakes, use water instead of bourbon in the frosting.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°.

Step 2

To prepare cupcakes, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, stirring with a whisk.

Step 3

Place 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined (about 3 minutes). Add eggs and vanilla, beating well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups lined with muffin cup liners. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

Step 4

To prepare icing, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and bourbon in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, for 3 minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 250°. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; using clean, dry beaters, beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low, and continue beating until the egg white mixture cools (about 3 minutes).

Step 5

Place 1/4 cup butter in a large bowl; beat until light and fluffy. Fold in 1 cup egg white mixture. Fold butter mixture into the remaining egg white mixture. Spread about 3 tablespoons icing over each cooled cupcake. Combine meringue powder and 1 tablespoon water in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add powdered sugar, beating with a mixer at medium speed until thick and smooth. Stir in black food coloring to desired shade. Scrape the powdered sugar mixture into a zip-top plastic bag, and snip a tiny hole in 1 corner of bag. Pipe black spiders or webs over frosted cupcakes.

Ratings & Reviews

Skittles's Review

October 25, 2012
Agreed! Good cupcakes, BAD icing! Seems nonsensical!! Especially for childrens' cupcakes! (Why doesn't someone edit out the other two comments saying nothing about the recipe? Especially the one try to solicit?)

kurtcunningham's Review

November 04, 2011
my co-worker's sister makes $70 an hour on the laptop. She has been unemployed for 8 months but last month her check was $7699 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read this site

BakeMe13's Review

October 29, 2011
Is there something off with the icing recipe here? Does some of the powdered sugar need to go in the white icing? Mine came out very thin with the butter not well integrated . . . It also seems like 1 teaspoon meringue powder (I used Just Whites - not equivalent?), 1 tablespoon water, and a full cup of powdered sugar makes just a dry mess, not a thick and smooth icing to add the black food coloring too and pipe through a plastic bag. Where did I go wrong?

mrsery52's Review

October 28, 2011
My husband most recent major heart attack i start researching heart health recipes. Desserts,right cheese,meats,cooking oils,for seasoning,and all the right things,he wants his dessert after dinner and i was able to find some great tasting recipes for all use.

casandreas's Review

October 27, 2011

erobbins4's Review

October 12, 2011
I have to agree with the first poster the cupcakes themselves are good - moist and with great flavor. The icing (of which I only made the white and not the black since I couldn't find meringue powder) was a lot of work for something that was really only a 2 in taste. I would make the cupcakes again but would also use a different frosting recipe. My daughter wouldn't even eat the frosting. The spider web design was simple to make and a came out cute.

jmeleeS's Review

October 10, 2011
I just made these cupcakes this weekend, and they are adorable! I would have given them higher stars for just the cupcake itself. I made exactly as instructed (except I had bittersweet chocolate chips on hand in lieu of the baker's bar) and they were amazing. Nice and fluffy and very chocolately. I did not care for the icing at all though; it was pretty labor intensive and it was very boring flavor (with an odd aftertaste) and I used the bourbon too! A black icing gel tube for the spider web design was perfect; don't bother with the zippy bag for the amount of work it takes and the small amount of icing you need for the decorations. On 6 of the cupcakes I used the gel and the other 6 I put spider rings in the middle. Together the cupcakes are adorable and I would definitely make again, just using a different icing (if I can't find one I like from C.L. - powdered sugar is not the answer to good icing). Use your favorite icing recipe and enjoy these at your next Halloween event!