Ghost Meringue-Pumpkin Buttercream-Dark Chocolate Cupcakes!

ok…so as promised here is the longest most involved cupcake recipe I’ve ever tackled, but the results are the cutest Halloween cupcakes you’ve ever seen!

I have decided to treat this like ONE massive recipe b/c I think the order I did everything in worked out perfectly. If you would like to do only one recipe here are the original ones, which I adapted mine from; ghost meringues from, pumpkin swiss meringue buttercream from Judy & dark chocolate cupcakes from Cake on the Brain (it should be noted that her cupcake recipes are the only ones I ever use)

So first I made the pumpkin part for the icing [it needs to set in the fridge for over 2hrs]


  • 2 Tbsps butter
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree [not pie filling]
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon [I used way more]
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg


The recipe was E-Z!!

1. Throw all the ingredients in a sauce pan and heat it up over med heat, stirring constantly until simmering.

2. Simmer for 5-6 mins or until mixture turns an awesome pumpkin pie colour!

3. Pour into a separate bowl and chuck it in the fridge until it’s cold. (2 or more hours).

Halloween nail polish is completely optional, wedding ring, not so much 😛

Ok so now we have 2 hrs to kill so let’s make those darn little ghosts for the top of our cupcakes…..

Ingredients: (I think if I made this again – I would cut the recipe in half it made over 50 ghosts!)

  • white of 4 large eggs 
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
Directions: PRE-HEAT OVEN 200F
1. Separate the whites from the yolks. I like to save mine for other recipes like Hollandaise sauce or egg yolk omelets. 

2. Pout whites into mixing bowl and beat until it’s frothy.

pouring egg white into mixer

3. Then add the cream of tartar and beat, slowly increasing the speed until the egg whites look smooth, glossy and resemble shaving cream.

shaving cream consistency 
4. Add about half the sugar slowly and beat until full incorporated. 
5. Reduce speed to the lowest setting and add vanilla and sprinkle in the rest of the sugar. 

7. Transfer to a piping bag….or in my case b/c the lady at the cake section in Fortinos wouldn’t give me any, use a ziploc bag and cut the corner 😀

8. Using a steady hand slowly push the meringue out of the bag making a blob, pull up, while still pushing and make a second blob (smaller than the first) and then do it again for the head pulling up after stopping to get the “pointed head’ 

Neither Colin nor I were any good at this….and these aren’t my arms 😉

9. put the ghosts in the middle upper & lower racks and leave there for approx an hour (I checked every 20 mins) until they are hard and dry. [the recipe said to let them cool in the oven but I didn’t have time for that so I took them out /w NO issues]

10. Once the ghosts have set use edible gel colours and a toothpick to paint on eyes and mouths. Put them in an air-tight container to store. 
Now onto the cupcakes – PREHEAT ovens to 350F 
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter 
  • 2 ounces [2 squares] dark chocolate (bittersweet)
  • 1/2 cup dutch cocoa 
  • 3/4 cup Flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

1. As mentioned Pre-Heat ovens to 350F and then chop the 2 squares of bittersweet chocolate. 

Yep that is a gin & tonic, I find baking almost always requires a drink! 

2. Chop butter into cubes and put it, the chopped chocolate and the 1/2 cocoa in a microwavable bowl.

3. Microwave on high for 1 min. Remove and stir until the chocolate has melted – set aside. 

4. Mix flour, baking soda & baking powder together and set aside (I usually just leave them in a measuring cup. 

5. Crack your eggs and throw them into mixer – whisk until nicely beaten. 

6. Add sugar, vanilla & salt and mix until fully incorporated. 

7. If chocolate mixture is cool then add it to mixture and stir. 

8. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated. 

9. Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and stir. Then add the remaining flour and mix until you have a beautiful batter.

10. Line cupcake tin /w liners and pour batter into them. I find /w this recipe you want to have them 3/4 of the way full. 

11. Bake @ 350F for 15-18 mins or until a toothpick inserted into them comes out clean. 
Ok so now we have our pumpkin in the fridge, our ghosts in a tupperware and our cupcakes cooling on the stove. All we need now if the icing….
Pumpkin Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of butter (room temp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • prepared pumpkin [see above]

1. Separate egg whites and pour them, the sugar and salt into mixing bowl. 

2. Fill a sauce pan half way with water and heat up on stove. Whisk the eggs and sugar over the heat until sugar is dissolved. 

3. You will know it’s done when the mixture feels smooth btwn your fingers. 

4. Starting on low and gradually increasing your speed mix until soft peaks form and then whisk on high until thick and fluffy. 

5. Grab your room temp butter and cut it into tbsp sized cubes. 

6. With mixer on med-low slowly add a few cubes at a time, waiting until the butter is fully mixed in before adding more. 

7. Once all the butter is added throw in the vanilla and whisk until thick. My butter was a bit hard but you should have a thick bunch of buttery goodness. 

8. Switch from the whisk to the paddle attachment and mix on low to remove any air. 

9. Then you can grab your cold pumpkin mixture (b/c you know it’s cold enough after ALL this) and toss it in and mix. 

10. At the end you should have a wonderful light beige icing. (you can store in the fridge for a week or freeze for a month or two) 

11. Add red & yellow (or orange) gel colours until you get the desired Halloween colour. 

Ok FINALLY we are almost done! It’s now time to incorporated EVERYTHING we’ve made and make one awesome Halloween cupcake!!
Grab your cupcakes, ghosts and put your buttercream in an icing bag (I use the Wilton 1M tip for ALL my cupcakes b/c it looks the best and it’s the easiest and quickest)

Don’t leave your son alone /w them or he WILL bite one! 

Do a simple cupcake swirl by starting in the center of the cupcake and swirling around the edges, and around once more on top of that only to end at the top /w a perfect swirl!.

Top /w cute meringue ghosts and sprinkle /w candy corn!!! You’ll be the biggest sensation at any Halloween party! 

1. Was I insane to tackle this???

PS: don’t forget to check out my family’s Halloween costumes AND enter my giveaway!!!! 

16 thoughts on “Ghost Meringue-Pumpkin Buttercream-Dark Chocolate Cupcakes!

  1. ummmm so you are super hard core! this was an intense recipe and you nailed it! i am AT LEAST going to attempt the cupcakes at some point! haha! thanks for the recipe!

  2. You did a great job taking photos through the whole process. I always forget until it is all in the oven. Just started following and love your blog!!! PS – passed on by cecily!!!

  3. Are you sure those aren't your arms?!?! Wow, what a crazy recipe. I did something just as crazy for Easter last year. It takes time, but it's totally worth it. Those are the cutest Halloween cupcakes I have ever seen! The ghosts really make them super cute.

  4. 1. First time to your blog and you have CUPCAKES? CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES? Call it love at first post!! yummmm

    2. I admire you for a) doing such an intense recipe (really I bake from a box) and b) documenting each step of the way. Pics are awesome!

    3. Did you really keep your laptop next to your ingredients when you were cooking? That spells DISASTER for me!

    4. Gin and Tonic? While baking? You are a much braver woman than I!

  5. @Julia thanks Julia! you should try it for next year. All the recipes I tackle can be found on my recipe page 😀

    @Cheyenne thanks for visiting I thought your blog was really cute! nice photography

    @Alyssa Thanks Alyssa! That's what motherhood does to you 😛 haha

    @Chels Thank you. and I think this was one of my most in-depth cupcakes ever….we'll see what happens for xmas! lol

    @Christina @ The Athletarian lol…yes I AM sure Christina 😛 lol thanks girl and you should post a pic of your Easter ones!

    @Michael – thanks Michael! and I love yours & your hubby's blogs! truly inspiring 😀

    @Nessa @ Isle Style Living hahahha best comment today! I love it!

    #3 – yes, yes I do! when mine was broken my husband made me put it on the kitchen table and I'd have to walk back and forth! it's just where all my recipes are now :)

    #4 – it should be noted that I "milk" all my beverages (especially alcoholic ones) and this one took me the ENTIRE duration of the recipe to finish. lol

    @Sarah Keirlaney – you definitely can! but remember that I will always keep an easy link for it on my recipe page 😀 next year I'll have to do something else.

    @Running Diva Mom YAY!!! I think this is your first visit to my blog and what an awesome comment YAY ME 😀

  6. You are not crazy for doing this, this is fantastic!! You are so talented lady, thank you for sharing the steps on how to do it :)

  7. Those are so adorable! But wayyyyyy too hard for me. :) My frosting would just look like a blob and my ghosts……well…….lol
    But they are so adorable! Maybe you will just have to bring some over to my house. 😀

  8. These cupcakes seriously look amazing…and wow, what an intense recipe! If anything…this post has convinced me how much i NEED a standing mixer…i only use a hand mixer right now. I keep saying that whenever I get married I will put it on my registry but would seriously make baking alot easier, lol.

    i have done alot of cake pop projects in the past year and those are pretty intense as takes forever but its worth it for people to enjoy them in the end..i think i'll be making elmo ones next month for kevins nephews birthday party…which will eventually lead to an intense blog post of my own, haha.

  9. I'll bet they were yummy. I made a cake on Halloween. Funfetti with orange icing. It was like my mom used to make… right out of the box :)

  10. Wow – impressive cooking Ali – combined with your death star cake, I think you have an alternate vocation (not so) hidden away. In the meantime, this sounds like a lot of work so can I just buy a couple of yours?
    I think the best bit was the photo of the cupcake with a bite taken out.

  11. Pingback: Happy Halloween! | Running with Spatulas

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