Easy Halloween Bat Cupcakes
Originally posted August 12, 2020. Updated 2/19/2021
Easy Halloween Bat Cupcakes
As I’d mentioned in my Easy Butterfly Cupcakes post... when I was a kid, my grandmother used to make “butterfly cupcakes” for us.
They were really cute - the top of each cupcake was cut off and split in half, and they were usually filled with lemon pudding. The top pieces became “wings”, and the whole thing was dusted with powdered sugar.
As a frosting FIEND, I’m a little surprised - looking back - that I was so big on these cupcakes. There’s no frosting!
I still make those cupcakes from time to time, and I think of her when I’m making them. I have a few recipes that really make me think of my gramma, including Gramma’s Potato Salad, her Homemade Perogies Recipe, or ... Mushroom Soup and Eggs on Toast !. While I think of her often anyway, cooking any of her foods definitely brings her memory to the forefront!
While she usually kept to the same format - white cupcake, lemon pudding filling, medium-depth cut - I tend to play a bit more fast and loose with it, depending on my mood.
Historically, that’s meant playing with the following aspects... which I’m now playing with to make Easy Halloween Bat Cupcakes:
Customizing your Easy Halloween Bat Cupcakes
While I usually stuck to light coloured cupcakes for a delicate look, we’re going DARK here. Pictured is my Black Velvet Cupcakes Recipe, which is included at the end of this post.
If you know your audience is cool with it, you can substitute anise flavouring for the vanilla. SO good - if you like black licorice!
While obviously I recommend my black velvet cupcakes recipe, you can dye any chocolate cake black - homemade or boxed mix - but you’re definitely going to want to start with a chocolate base. Otherwise, it’s going to be very difficult to achieve an intense black colour.
I like to use a gel food colouring - like you can buy at any cake decorating store - as they tend to give the most intense results.
A note of warning: You are very likely to poop funny colours after eating black velvet cupcakes. Just remember that you ate them, and don’t be alarmed! It’s not a medical issue!
Historically, I tend to prefer the texture of Jello’s “Cook and Serve” filling for making the butterfly version of these cupcakes, as they set a bit thicker when the pudding cools fully.
Between the limited availability of the Cook and Serve variety, and the more narrow availability of flavours, sometimes I’ll make this with instant pudding, just using a little less milk when doing so.
Banana Cream and Pistachio are particularly great as fillings for this! I like the colour of the pistachio pudding as-is for these Easy Halloween Bat Cupcakes, and will sometimes add a bit of yellow or orange food colouring to lighter coloured puddings.
In general though, when I’m making BAT cupcakes, I actually prefer to use frosting.
When making these Bat Cupcakes, I find that frosting just fits better. Also, I like the bright colours achieved with frosting better - tinting pudding can be a bit wonky.
As a base, I like to use:
- My Swiss Meringue Buttercream: When I’m feeling indulgent or bougie), or
- My American Buttercream: When I just want a decent hit of sugar, without much effort!
Orange flavour extract is really great in the frosting, when it comes to these Halloween ones... especially if you flavoured the cupcakes with anise!
(Yes, it sounds weird, but it WORKS. Just see my Tiger Tail Ice Cream Recipe as an example!)
Sometimes I like to add a surprise filling. Consider it a bit of a trick AND treat!
When you cut your top off at a more steep angle - cutting a cone shape into the cupcake base - you can fit more filling.
A bit of pie filling or pudding in that deeper cavity, sealed off with piped frosting is a fun alternative to a single type of filling.
Adjusting the angle of your knife when cutting the top of the cupcake off can vary your end result a bit:
A shallow cut - even just slicing the top off, flat - gives you dainty “wings” ... and not much of a cavity for filling. When I do it this way, I find it works better with frosting.
A deeper cut - angling the tip of the knife downward and towards the center of the cupcake - gives bulkier “wings”, but also more room for filling.
I like how this style acts more like a cup, so tend to cut a bit deeper when I’m doing a pudding topping, or a combo topping.
The diameter of your cut - the size of the piece you cut off the cupcake - affects the size of your “wings”.
Personally, I like to cut fairly close to the edge, leaving only a small lip of the base cupcakes. I like the bigger wings - I’m not fond of tiny “wings” on top, it’s just a proportion / aesthetic thing for me.
Also: The bigger the wings, the more exposed cupcake... more excuse for more frosting / filling!
While I normally dust butterfly cupcakes with icing sugar, I skip that for this Halloween Bat version. Why work to get that gorgeous black colour, only to mute it?
If you’d like, you can use some tinted sugar or edible glitter, but really... I think these look best unadorned.
Here’s a video demonstration
(Have the sound on if you'd like to appreciate my taste in background music!)
How to Make Easy Halloween Bat Cupcakes
Once you’ve made your decisions on cupcake flavour, filling, and general look, you can put your cupcakes together.
These assemble very quickly - a matter of moments, really!
Bake Your Cupcakes
Bake your cupcakes, and allow them to cool to room temperature. My recipe for Black Velvet Cupcakes follows this tutorial, but you can use any cupcake recipe you like - or even a box mix. Whatever works!
Make Your Pudding or Frosting
As I mentioned earlier:
Cook and serve is best, just let it cool slightly before using it. You don’t want it molten, but you also don’t want it to cool and set before using it.
If you use instant pudding, just use about ½-2/3 of the milk called for in the directions.
Cut The Top Off
Using a sharp knife, cut the top off each cupcake.
While you CAN just cut it straight across - especially if it has a decent sized dome - I like to cut in towards the center, angling the knife downward, and cutting a complete circle around each cupcake.
Split your “Bat Wings
Neatly and evenly, cut each cupcake top in half.
Fill or Frost your Halloween Bat Cupcake
If you’re using pudding or pie filling, carefully spoon it into the center of the cupcake, making sure it won’t overflow.
If you’re using frosting, you can frost in one of 3 ways, listed in order of effort:
Just spoon it on, and use the back of the spoon to shape / swirl the frosting.
Simple Pipe It
Transfer your frosting to a piping bag. Cut the end off the bag - creating an opening at least ½" diameter - and pipe a swirl of frosting on each cupcake.
Pipe with a Coupler and Tip
If you have some basic cake decorating supplies, fit your piping bag with a coupler and wide tip of your choice - round or star tip.
Fill the bag with frosting, pipe a swirl of frosting on each cupcake.
Set Your Wings In Place
Place a pair of “Bat wings” - Cut sides facing each other, a set of tips facing downward- across the center of a cupcake. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.
If you’re using coloured sugar, edible glitter, etc, just carefully sprinkle it over each completed cupcake.
Admire Your Work
Enjoy making my Easy Halloween Bat Cupcakes!
More Halloween Ideas
If you're still considering ideas for Halloween, be sure to check out my:
Bloody Eyeball Halloween Punch
Halloween Themed Shooters
Halloween Spider Web Cookies
Easy Halloween Bat Cupcakes
Halloween Spider Web Cupcakes
3D Halloween Bat Cupcakes
How to Carve a Halloween Pumpkin Like a Pro
Also, be sure to subscribe to my free monthly email newsletter, so you never miss out on any of my nonsense.
Well, the published nonsense, anyway!
Black Velvet Cupcakes
- 3 cups Cake flour
- ⅓ cup Cocoa powder
- 2 ¼ cups Granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp Baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp Salt
- 3 ½ oz Instant vanilla pudding mix*
- 6 Eggs
- 1 ½ cups Butter melted
- 2 Tbsp Pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup Buttermilk **
- Black food colouring Gel works best
- 1 batch batch Swiss Meringue buttercream
- 1 batch American buttercream
- 2 tsp Flavor extract of choice
- Food colouring optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pudding mix in a large mixing bowl. Add in eggs and butter, beating until smooth.
- Carefully add melted butter and vanilla to the mix, mixing on medium speed until smooth.
- Add buttermilk to batter, mix until well incorporated and smooth.
- Use food colouring to tint batter black.
- Divide batter among prepared muffin pans. Bake until golden and knife inserted into center of batter comes out clean - about 20-22 mins .
- Allow to cool to cool to room temperature, before decorating.
- Prepare either Swiss meringue buttercream or American buttercream, following the applicable recipe and flavouring and colouring it as you like.
- Frost your cupcake as desired, enjoy!
milk, and let sit for 5 minutes.