What’s this? Chocolate Jack Skellington Cupcakes? Yes, please! For fans of the Nightmare Before Christmas, these cupcakes are a must! They start life as a box of cake mix, and the Mickey Ears decoration and Jack’s tie are actually pretty easy to make and resemble the Pumpkin King’s iconic suit!
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Chocolate Jack Skellington Cupcakes
The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions and to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required as well as understand the steps and timings involved.
So these chocolate Jack Skellington Cupcakes are the second cupcakes I’ve shared that are Jack-themed! The Jack cupcakes that I shared before featured Jack’s face on the Mickey Ears fondant decorations and had a Minnie Mouse bow on the top of the frosting.
These cupcakes are based on Jack Skellington’s iconic black and white striped suit and bat bow tie.
The Ears are made with black fondant and a silver edible pen, and the bow tie is something you can make in a couple of different ways and I’m going to outline those in tips section.
Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe
You may have some of the ingredients for this recipe in your kitchen already – the full list with measurements is found in the recipe card.
For your convenience, any specialized or notable ingredients and equipment needed for this recipe have been listed below and linked to Amazon if available online.
This recipe uses American cups. They’re a handy piece of kitchen equipment to have along with a kitchen food scale. Having both in your kitchen means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog as I use both cups and weighted measures.
- Black Fondant
- 4″ Round Cutter – to cut out the Mickey Ears
- Fondant Rolling Pin
- Silver Edible Writing Pen
- Box of Chocolate Cake Mix – plus the ingredients to make the cake mix, usually eggs, oil, and water.
- Powdered Sugar – known as Icing Sugar in the UK
- Pure Vanilla Extract – buy the best you can afford, it makes all the difference to flavor!
- Black Food Coloring Gel
- Large Piping Bag
- Large Star Tip – for example, Wilton 1M
More Jack Skellington Themed Stuff!
If you’re throwing a Nightmare Before Christmas themed party, check these posts out next:
- Jack Skellington Mickey Mouse Rice Krispies Treats for Halloween
- Jack Skellington Ornament Craft
- Jack Skellington Cupcakes
Chocolate Jack Skellington Cupcakes Recipe Tips
Fondant Mickey Ears
If you have never worked with fondant before, don’t panic – it is really easy to use, follow my tips and you’ll be just fine!
- Line a cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper to place the fondant pieces on to dry.
- Dust your work surface with powdered sugar so that the fondant doesn’t stick. Think of it like the way you use flour when rolling out dough.
- Rub a little powdered sugar into your hands and knead a handful of the fondant to make it more pliable before rolling, rather than using straight from the package.
- Dust your rolling pin too, and roll fondant to about ¼” thick. Some fondant rolling pins have guides you can use. You don’t want it too thick as it will take ages to dry, and you don’t want it too thin as it will become more tricky to work with.
- Cutting the Ears: Pour a little pile of powdered sugar onto your surface and dip the cookie cutter into it before cutting the ears – again, this is to prevent sticking.
- If there is excess powdered sugar on the pieces, you can gently brush away with a pastry brush, or an unused, clean paintbrush.
- Alternatively, you can use a vodka spray. Pour some vodka into a mini spray bottle and gently mist the fondant wings. Vodka dries quicker than water which is why it is usually used when handling fondant.
- Always make extra pieces – that way if some break or you have another mishap, you have got backups that you can use.
- Leave the cut fondant pieces to harden in a cool, dry place – do not place in the fridge.
- The fondant pieces should be solid enough to handle and insert into the cupcakes after 3 – 6 hours. I personally leave fondant pieces to dry for around 24 hours. How long this takes, however, is based on the size and thickness of the fondant, and how humid your house is, so judge best if they will hold up as they need to in the cupcakes.
- When making cakes or cupcakes that use fondant decorations I like to make them a few days ahead of time which allows for drying without the stress. Fondant that isn’t dry enough can mean disappointing end results.
- After using fondant the surface will be super sticky (it always is in my experience!) so you will probably have to wipe away the sugar first, then give it a soapy hot wash over and then another clean over! You can always by a fondant rolling mat for easier cleanup!
- Make sure that the ears are well dried before you draw the pinstripe suit lines on them with an edible silver marker pen.
Bat Bow Tie
- You have a few options here!
- You can have the design printed onto rice paper to cut out and place on the cupcakes. Check with local bakeries/cake makers or even online like eBay which is where I’ve bought rice paper decorations in the past.
- You could buy sheets of rice paper and use edible markers to draw the bow tie yourself. I have done this before too. You’ll find lots of drawings online to help you, just search for Jack Skellington bow tie.
- You could make them from fondant using the tips above to use the fondant and cut around a template using a sharp knife. Ensure completely dry before adding the details with a silver edible marker.
- Or you could simply make them from black card and tell your guests not to eat them!
Cupcakes Baking Tips
- Use black, black and white, or spider-themed cupcake liners to bake your cakes in.
- Use an ice cream scoop to equally divide the cupcake mixture between the cupcake liners.
- The cupcakes should be ready in about 20 minutes – test their doneness by inserting a toothpick into the cakes. It should come out clean when the cupcakes are cooked through. Bake for an extra 2 minutes and check again.
- Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Cupcake Frosting Tips
- When making the frosting you want the end result to be creamy, smooth, and for it to hold a stiff peak. You may have to adjust the amount of powdered sugar and cream slightly to achieve the consistency you need.
- You will be creating a two-color frosting – the original white color of the frosting, and some colored black with food coloring.
- Use good quality food coloring gel or paste as the color will be more vibrant. Do not use liquid color as this will change the consistency of the cake batter, and really won’t taste good!
- Remember that you can always add more color, but not take it away. Add a little to start with and add more to get the shade required.
- Use a piping bag fitted with a large star tip for the two-color frosting swirl.
- There are two ways you can do multi-color frosting:
- Scoop half the side of the piping bag with white frosting and the other half with orange, then squeeze some frosting out until the two colors combine.
- Or, use the double piping bag by putting a piping bag of each color into another piping bag fitted with the tip and frosting as usual. Wilton has a great demonstration video on YouTube that I highly recommend.
- If you feel like you are going to be making a lot of cakes and cupcakes in your future, I think it is worth investing in a set of piping tips so that you know you always have the right ones on hand for a recipe.
- Do not overfill the piping bag with frosting, and make sure you squeeze the frosting down the bag to expel any air bubbles.
- If you are not confident with your piping skills you can practice on some parchment paper first and scoop the frosting back into the bag to use on the cupcakes. just make sure you practice with ONE color and not the two mixed together!
More Halloween Cupcake Recipes
Looking for more cupcakes for Halloween? Check these recipes out next:
How Do I Make Chocolate Jack Skellington Cupcakes?
Just check out the recipe card below with full ingredients, instructions, and demonstration photos. You can print the card out too (don’t worry, the pics don’t print to save your ink!).
For the Fondant Ears
- 2 (4.4oz/124g) packages black fondant
- 1 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)
- 1 silver edible writing pen
For the Cupcakes
- 1 box chocolate cake mix +ingredients to make them.
For the Frosting
- 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 5 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)
- 8 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Black food coloring gel
- Bat bow tie decoration - see blog post tips
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- To make the fondant ear decorations, dust work surface and fondant with powdered sugar.
- Roll fondant to about quarter-inch thickness and use a 4-inch round cutter to cut out 48 circles.
- Place cut circles onto the prepared cookie sheet to dry for at least 4 hours, but up to 24 hours if possible.
- When completely dry, use a silver edible marker pen to draw Jack's pinstripe suit lines on each ear.
- Preheat oven as per directions on the box and place 24 cupcake liners into a cupcake pan. Set aside.
- Make the cake batter according to the box instructions.
- Use an ice cream scoop to evenly divide the batter between the cupcake liners
- Place in oven and bake for the time directed or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, use an electric stand or handheld mixer and add the butter, powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla to the mixing bowl.
- Mix on medium speed until combined, creamy, smooth, and stiff peaks form.
- Divide the frosting in half and add black food coloring gel to one half mixing to desired shade.
- Scoop the black frosting into one-half side of a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip, and then scoop the white frosting into the other half side of the piping bag. Squeeze until the frosting comes out and starts to mix.
- Pipe a frosting swirl on top of each cooled cupcake.
- Add a fondant ear to each side of the frosting.
- Place a bow tie (see blog post for how you can make this as there are several options) to the front of the frosting.
- This is Halloween! Enjoy!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 13mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 0gSugar: 29gProtein: 0g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
Make It A Meal!
You’ve made the dessert, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full meal!
- Appetizer: Jalapeño Popper Mummies Recipe
- Soup: Bloody Mary Soup
- Main Dish: Toxic Mac ‘n’ Cheese Recipe for Halloween!
- Beverage: Oogie Boogie Mocktail
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too!