I am jumping with both feet onto the Halloween bandwagon, and because gorging on sweets is not enough, baking spooky treats is obviously necessary! Starting with… ghostly cupcakes!

The base is a simple chocolate cupcake mix, adapted from a Hummingbird Bakery recipe. The topping is swiss meringue: I used Martha Stewart’s own version, the 7 minute frosting. It’s a brilliant white perfect for a ghostly figure. Add choc chips for eyes and a chocolate button for a screaming mouth, job done.


For the cupcakes:

80g unsalted butter, softened

190g caster sugar

200g plain flour

40g cocoa powder

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

240ml whole milk

2 large eggs


1. Preheat your oven to 190°C. Line a muffin tin with paper cases.


2. Beat together the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until the ingredients are well incorporated and sandy in texture.

3. Pour the milk into a jug, add the eggs and whisk together.

4. Slowly pour the mixture into your dry ingredients and combine.

5. Mix until the batter is smooth.


6. Spoon the batter into your paper cases, two-thirds full.

7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and the cake is springy to the touch.



For the Swiss meringue:

300g caster sugar

5 large egg whites

1 tbsp golden syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate chips and chocolate buttons for decorating.


1. Whisk together the sugar, egg whites and golden syrup in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and feels completely smooth between your fingers, it will take 2-3 minutes.

2. With an electric mixer on a high speed, whisk until stiff glossy peaks form, about 7 minutes. Beat in your vanilla extract.


3. Fit a large round tip (I used n 18) to a piping bag, fill with the meringue and create ghostly figures onto your cooled cupcakes.

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4. Add eyes with chocolate chips and a mouth with a chocolate button.

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Photography: Emma Scott-Child