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Sugar Ghost Cupcakes

I had 10 neighborhood kids stop by to help me make these cupcakes for a bake sale, though I have no doubt that most of the treats never made it that far! —Mysie Sabin, Franklin, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 3 hours Bake: 20 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    2 dozen


  • 1 package chocolate cake mix (regular size)
  • 1 package (16 ounces) miniature marshmallows
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons water
  • 1 package (2 pounds) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
  • Blue, orange and green paste food coloring
  • Miniature peanut butter cups
  • Malted milk balls
  • Clear vanilla extract


  • Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions for cupcakes; cool completely on wire racks.
  • In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine marshmallows and 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in three-fourths of the sugar; turn onto a work surface coated with 3 tablespoons shortening.
  • Knead until smooth and pliable, gradually adding remaining sugar and shortening. If necessary, moisten with remaining water. Wrap fondant in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
  • To decorate, set aside 1/4 cup frosting. Tint remaining frosting blue; frost cupcakes.
  • For ghosts: Invert two peanut butter cups and stack, securing together with a small amount of reserved frosting. Top with a malted milk ball, attaching with frosting. (See photo.) Repeat, forming 24 stacks.
  • On a work surface lightly sprinkled with confectioners' sugar, roll a 1-1/4-in. ball of fondant into a 4-in. circle (see photo); drape over a stack. For eyes and mouth, gently cut out shapes using pastry tips. Repeat for remaining ghosts.
  • For pumpkins, stems and tendrils: Tint desired amount of fondant orange. Wrap fondant around malted milk balls; shape into pumpkins. Add imprint lines with a veining tool or toothpick.
  • For stems and tendrils, tint a small amount of fondant green. Shape into stems; attach to pumpkins using vanilla. For tendrils, roll out remaining green fondant; using a pizza cutter, cut into thin strips. Gently wrap strips around toothpicks; set aside to dry. (Tightly wrap any remaining fondant in plastic wrap and store in a resealable plastic bag for another use.)
  • To finish cupcakes: Place a small amount of reserved frosting on top of each cupcake; top with a prepared ghost. Carefully remove tendrils from toothpicks and attach to pumpkins, using vanilla. Attach pumpkins to cupcakes as desired.
Nutrition Facts
1 cupcake: 441 calories, 11g fat (3g saturated fat), 23mg cholesterol, 225mg sodium, 84g carbohydrate (68g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein.

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  • cindiak
    Oct 12, 2016

    I did a trial run on these and they turned out so cute. They are going to be a big hit at our company potluck.

  • mary fagan
    Oct 26, 2014

    wonderful recipe . the kids loved them and it was so easy

  • baba101
    Sep 14, 2014

    these cupcakes look super cute and delicous!!!!

  • mawmaw42
    Oct 31, 2012

    My daughter and I made these for my grandsons kindergarten party and they were a huge hit! This recipe was easier than I thought it would be and they are so cute. We will definitly make these again next year.

  • CandyGardner
    Oct 1, 2012

    No comment left

  • dharriso
    Jul 25, 2012

    No comment left

  • ritamc53
    Oct 19, 2011

    Everyone loved these adorable treats. Fun to make, too.

  • Mommy_2_2_angels
    Oct 9, 2011

    I absolutely LOVE these cupcakes. I did go the shorter route and I bought Fondant, and these things couldn't have been any cuter! My neighbors and my kids LOVED them, although they decided to play with them before actually eating them. I will definitely be making this again next year!!

  • Stephen Dziekan
    Oct 3, 2011

    I love these cupcakes; had never made fondant before, this was easy. I had a lot of fun with this recipe, they taste great and I'm about to make them again for this Halloween!

  • kelc84
    Nov 11, 2010

    I made these for a childs halloween party at school & they were a huge hit! They turned out great, even though I never used fondant before! I tried the lollipop idea and couldnt get it to work, I think I rolled my fondant too thin you could see the color of the lollipop through but the original recipe worked great for me. Very time consuming but cute results!