Sugar Ghost Cupcakes

Total Time

Prep: 3 hours Bake: 20 min. + cooling


2 dozen

Updated: May. 05, 2023
I had 10 neighborhood kids stop by to help me make these ghost cupcakes for a bake sale, though I have no doubt that most of the treats never made it that far! —Mysie Sabin, Franklin, Wisconsin


  • 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) chocolate frosting
  • Orange and green paste food coloring
  • Miniature peanut butter cups
  • Malted milk balls
  • Clear vanilla extract


  1. Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions for cupcakes; cool completely on wire racks.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine marshmallows and 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, uncovered, on high until melted, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in three-fourths of the confectioners' sugar; turn onto a work surface coated with 3 tablespoons shortening.
  3. 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.
  4. To decorate, set aside 1/4 cup frosting. Frost cupcakes with remaining frosting.
  5. For ghosts: Invert and stack 2 peanut butter cups, securing together with a small amount of reserved frosting. Top with a malted milk ball, attaching with frosting. Repeat, forming 24 stacks.
  6. On a work surface lightly sprinkled with confectioners' sugar, roll a 1-1/4-in. ball of fondant into a 4-in. circle; drape over a stack. Gently cut out 2 eyes and a mouth using pastry tips. Repeat for remaining ghosts.
  7. For pumpkins: Tint desired amount of fondant orange. Wrap fondant around malted milk balls; shape into pumpkins. Add imprint lines with a veining tool or toothpick.
  8. For stems and tendrils: Tint a small amount of fondant green. Shape into stems; attach to pumpkins using clear vanilla extract. 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 an airtight container for another use.)
  9. 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 clear vanilla extract. Attach pumpkins to cupcakes as desired.

Sugar Ghost Cupcakes Tips

Can you use store-bought fondant for these ghost cupcakes?

Yes, no need to make the fondant from scratch for this Halloween cupcake recipe. This adorable Jack-o'-Lantern cake recipe uses store-bought fondant, too.

How far in advance can I make ghost cupcakes for a party?

Like many other cupcake recipes, these ghost cupcakes are best when served within two days of baking.

Christina Herbst, Taste of Home Assistant Digital Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 cupcake: 441 calories, 11g fat (3g saturated fat), 23mg cholesterol, 225mg sodium, 84g carbohydrate (68g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein.