October 08, 2008

Graveyard Muffin recipe

time to bone out

The spirits are already up to no good on October 31st, so why not get in on the fun? Unearthly and dark, poisonous purple spookily transforms these innocent pumpkin muffins. Skeletons dredged up from the underworld and a marshmallow ghost drive home the creepy theme. As a twisted surprise, the frosting will stain mouths a dark violet hue.

But fear not, the eerie effect is temporary. And parents can rest assured, these graveyard treats are not all that menacing. In fact, there’s just half a cup of brown sugar in the batter, which has a nice pumpkin flavor that strikes a balance between ghostly and good-for-you. So instead of letting your little ones fall into sugar comas on Halloween, offer them a festive treat that befits the occasion and pleases the adults as well.

it's a dead man's party

Graveyard Muffins

The trick to frosting that dyes your mouth (known as “mouth rot”) is to start with a white icing, like the cream cheese version here, and use generous amounts of very dark food coloring. I used Wilton’s Concentrated Paste in violet (it also comes in black and orange), which is sold at Michael’s, Wal-Mart, Jo-Ann Fabrics and Sur La Table. For the skeleton decoration, I found a skeleton garland at Michael’s and cut it into pieces.


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 15-oz. can cooked pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup brown sugar, plus extra to create “dirt”
  • ½ cup unsulfured molasses
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Violet food coloring (such as Wilton’s Concentrated Paste)


  • Marshmallows to create “ghosts”
  • Red gel (such as Wilton’s Sparkle Gel) to create eyes
  • Plastic skeletons

Heat oven to 375º. Line muffin tin with 12 paper liners. Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, buttermilk, vanilla, eggs, brown sugar, molasses and vegetable oil. Add dry ingredients to wet in three additions, and mix thoroughly. Divide batter among muffin cups, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Let cool.

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Add food coloring, a little at a time, until dark purple color is achieved. Cover and refrigerate about 15 minutes.

Spread frosting over pumpkins and decorate with skeletons and marshmallow ghosts. Sprinkle brown sugar over muffins to create “dirt.”

Makes 12

Posted by Grace on October 8, 2008 in Food and Drink

Permalink | Comments (3)

3 responses to "Graveyard Muffin recipe"

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Wait, these are muffins, not cupcakes? I've always wondered what the difference really is.

Also, I saw you guys have super cute designs that would coordinate with these spooky cupcakes. I mean, muffins.

Halloween cupcakes

Skeleton design

look great! i Love the color! great for Halloween!

this is perfect for my son's halloween breakfast party he is having at school. thanks! pics also helped alot!