Halloween Spider Web Cupcakes

Three cupcakes with orange frosting topped with chocolate webs.
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These spider web cupcakes make the perfect festive Halloween dessert, combining moist pumpkin chocolate cake with spiced cream cheese frosting and easy-to-make chocolate spider webs as a garnish. 

  • Author: alexandra
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hr 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12-13 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: cake and cupcakes
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American



Pumpkin Double Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3 1/8 ounces (3/4 cup, spoon and level) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/8 ounces (1/3 cup) cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process or black cocoa)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) canned pumpkin purée
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 3/4 ounces (1/2 cup, packed) brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 3 ounces (1/2 cup) bittersweet or semisweet chopped chocolate or mini chocolate chips, optional

Chocolate Spider Webs

  • 2 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (or chocolate baking chips)

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened
  • 1 lb 8 ounces (6 cups) confectioner's sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • pinch of salt
  • orange gel icing color


Pumpkin Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Oven and pan prep: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with liners.
  2. Combine dry ingredients: Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice, and salt and whisk to evenly combine.
  3. Combine wet ingredients: In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin, greek yogurt/sour cream, white vinegar, and vanilla extract and whisk together until smooth.
  4. Cream butter and sugar: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld electric mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until the mixture is well-combined and beginning to look creamy. Add the whole egg and egg yolk one at a time, beating each in until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and beater with a spatula as needed.
  5. Combine wet and dry ingredients: With the mixer on its lowest speed, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients followed by 1/2 of the wet ingredients, continuing in this manner until all ingredients are mostly incorporated. Add the chocolate chips (if using). Use a flexible spatula to fold all of the ingredients together JUST until evenly combined.
  6. Transfer to muffin panScoop the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup no more than 3/4 full. Smooth out the tops gently if needed.
  7. Bake: Bake cupcakes in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean or the tops gently spring back to the touch. Cool cupcakes in pan for about 20 minutes, and then use a small icing spatula to carefully lift the cupcakes out of the pan and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Spider Webs:

  1. Prep: Lay out a large sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet or tray. If you’d like to draw out your spider webs on the parchment first as a guide, do so with a pen or pencil and then flip the parchment over so you can pipe on the clean side. You can also download and print a guide online to place under the parchment if you’re not comfortable with drawing your own webs. Fit a piping bag with a small round tip (I used Wilton No. 2). 
  2. Melt the chocolate: Placed chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 30-second increments, stirring in between, until smoothly melted. Alternatively, temper chocolate.
  3. Pipe spider webs: Transfer chocolate to the prepared piping bag and pipe spider webs on the parchment paper. Allow to sit at room temperature until fully set, or transfer to the refrigerator to set faster. Once set, carefully peel back parchment to release chocolate webs.

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. Make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy. Reduce speed to low and slowly add the confectioner's sugar, mixing it in until fully incorporated and scraping down the bowl and beater as needed. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice, and salt and continue to beat until smooth. Gradually mix in icing color with a rubber spatula until desired color is achieved.

Assembling Cupcakes:

  1. Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with your tip of choice (I used Ateco 827) and pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Top each frosted cupcake with a chocolate spider web before serving.


Ingredient notes:

  • All-purpose gluten-free flour can be used in this recipe to make gluten-free cupcakes.
  • White vinegar can be substituted with apple cider vinegar.
  • If using salted butter, reduce the salt in the cupcakes to ¼ teaspoon and consider skipping the added salt in the frosting entirely.

If you have extra batter: 

  • You may have a very small amount of extra batter after filling the 12 muffin cups. If you overfill them, you’ll end up with slightly misshapen cupcake tops. Instead, you can bake any extra batter in a free-standing cupcake liner or a second muffin pan.

Piping tips: 

  • I find it helpful to pipe the webs by doing the straight lines first - almost as if you were drawing a snowflake or an asterisk sign - and then piping the curved lines to connect the straight ones.

Storing cupcakes:

  • Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Cupcake recipe adapted from Pinch My Salt, originally from Country Living