Ghoulishly Gluten-Free Halloween Cupcakes

Ghoulishly Gluten Free Halloween Cupcakes on

I’ve got a very special reason for posting a recipe for these gluten-free Halloween cupcakes.

Jenny bounded down the walkway in a flurry of ribbons and pink satin. Her mother, a short, cheerful looking woman in her thirties, scurried after the little girl, stopping occasionally to pick up a dropped wand or a tuft of fake hair.

“Jenny, wait for me!” she shouted. “Your costume is falling apart!”

By the time her mom got to the party, Jenny was lost in a sea of six year olds. The large family room was packed tightly with pint-sized cats and dogs, ghosts and ghouls, princesses and punk rockers. Jenny’s mother scanned the fifty or so little heads, looking for a familiar blonde-haired, blue-eyed tooth-fairy wearing a lavender pointed hat. Four identical hats flitted through the crowd, but only one had a missing veil from an unauthorized scissor incident the night before.

“Thank god I found you before the food came out,” Jenny’s mom panted as she took her daughter’s hand and steered her towards a row of folding chairs along the wall. Jenny sat in her seat, bouncing and vibrating like she was going to explode from the sheer excitement that surrounded her. Her mother gazed around the room


Ghoulishly Orange and Black Halloween Cupcakes on
“Nice to see she’s feeling better!” remarked an older lady as she came over and handed Jenny a tiny box of grape juice. “That new diet’s really working, isn’t it? I haven’t seen her this excited since last year.”

“Yes! She’s doing so well. We’re all doing much better, actually, so that’s good. It’s amazing how something so innocent can make you so sick.”

The older lady nodded in agreement. “What do you want to do about those?” She pointed behind her hand to three pink boxes sitting on a card table in the corner. The boxes, tied up with white cotton string, were covered with multi-colored smudges.

Ghoulishly Gluten Free Halloween Cupcakes on

Jenny’s mom sighed. “I’m not sure. This is the first time we’ve had to deal with this situation since the diagnosis. I don’t really know what to do. I couldn’t not bring her. She would have been crushed to miss her friends.”

Realizing that she was the topic of conversation, Jenny looked up at the two women quizzically. “Mommy?” she asked. “What mommy?”

“Nothing!” Her mom chirped, quickly recovering from the conversation. “Why don’t you go grab some chips?”

“Nuh-uh… I’m waiting for the cupcakes!” Jenny smiled her gigawatt smile and pointed across the room at the boxes on the table.

The two women exchanged glances. The older lady smiled awkwardly at Jenny’s mom, and with a short wave, excused herself to tend to the other children.

Ghoulishly Orange and Black Halloween Cupcakes on

A few minutes later, a tall woman in a witch costume began clapping her hands to quiet the waves of activity that flowed back and forth the room. Her hooked nose almost looked like it should have come in the package with her black cape and hat. “Ok everyone,” she called out. “Kids, quiet down. It’s time to form a line so that we can eat. Let’s all try to be nice, ok? No pushing! Hey, I said NO PUSHING!”

Knowing exactly what was coming next, fifty little bodies filed clumsily into a crooked, giggling line. The tall witch pulled the strings from first box and opened the lid. The unmistakable scent of sugar wafted through the air, churning the kids into waves of defeaning chatter.

Jenny, now physically held to her seat by her mother, was besides herself. “What about me, mommy? But what about me?” She shrieked over and over again. “But I want one! But I want a chocolate one! They’re going to be ALL GONE!”

“Jenny, we talked about this. You can’t have one of those cupcakes, remember? You can’t eat those things anymore. Remember we brought you some special cookies? Here take one of these.”

Ghoulishly Orange and Black Halloween Cupcakes on

But Jenny wasn’t having any of it. She swatted her mother’s hand away and the cookie hit the ground. She was now flinging her body towards the cupcakes with every bit of strength that a six year old could muster, determined to break free of the grip that held her. Her mother, frustrated but resolute, picked up the cookie, her purse and Jenny in one swoop of her arm and headed for the door.

“I’m sorry honey. You can’t have one.”

Tragic wails could be heard across the yard and into adjacent houses. Concerned neighbors glanced out their windows to search for the source of such a forlorn sound, for surely something must be terribly wrong. All they could see, though, was a short, sad looking woman carrying a sobbing tooth fairy back to the car.

These cupcakes are for Jenny.

Ghoulishly Orange and Black Halloween Cupcakes on



Ghoulishly Gluten-Free Halloween Cupcakes
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These Halloween cupcakes are mottled with orange and black, making for an awesome display once you bit them open - plus they're super simple to make, and they'll impress everyone who lays eyes on them. I recommend picking up some Halloween sugar decorations from your local baking shop to make them extra cute! You can find black food coloring for your Halloween cupcakes at professional cake shops, or else try large-scale culinary chains like Sur la Table or Williams Sonoma. If all else fails, you can buy it mail order from places like's Gourmet or Home and Garden sections. I use the black tube from my AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Food Color Kit, which I picked up at a cake decorating store a while back. I love this stuff! I have so many colors to work with and it's unbelievable fun. Makes 12 cupcakes.
Gluten-free Halloween cupcakes
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 drop orange food coloring (or more to get the color you want)
  • 8 drop black food coloring (or more to get the color you want)
  • Buttercream frosting (recipe below)
Orange and black buttercream frosting
  • 3-1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 drops orange food coloring
  • 8 drops black food coloring (optional)
  • Milk to adjust consistency
How to make gluten-free Halloween cupcakes
  1. Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.
  2. Place cupcake liners in a pan large enough to hold 12 cupcakes.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together gluten free flour mix, salt, baking powder and xanthan gum. Mix well.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed. Mix for about one minute.
  5. To sugar and egg mixture, use a spoon to gently stir in oil, milk, and vanilla.
  6. Add the dry flour ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat with an electric mixer for one minute at medium speed.
  7. Divide batter into two equal portions, pouring them into two separate bowls. Into one half of the batter mix the orange food coloring and beat well. Into the second half mix the black food coloring and beat well.
  8. Using large spoons - such as tablespoons or soup spoons - start layering the colored batters into the cupcake cups until they are 2/3 full. Take a butter knife and gently swirl the colors together a tiny bit. Don't mix them too much, or you will just end up with gray cupcakes! They key is to just create a few swirls within the batter so that they look interested when you bites into them.
  9. Place pan in oven on center rack. Bake for about 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Cool on a rack for five minute before removing cupcakes from pan. Allow cupcakes to cool completely on rack before frosting.
  11. Ghoulishly Orange and Black Halloween Cupcakes on
  12. Pipe on buttercream frosting. Decorate with Halloween decorations of your choice.
How to make orange and black buttercream frosting
  1. With an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter. Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another two minutes.
  2. Add vanilla, beating on medium for 30 seconds.
  3. If you want a thinner frosting, beat in milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. If you want thicker frosting, mix in more powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time until it's as thick as you like.
  4. If you all orange frosting, beat in orange food coloring until well mixed. If you want two-toned frosting like in the photos below, divide the frosting into two portions and beat orange coloring into one half and black food coloring into the other half.
  5. Place a piping tip into your pastry bag and lay the bag on its side. Spread orange frosting along one half of the bag, making sure to not fill up more than half of the bag.
  6. Now slide your black frosting into the bag, on top of the orange, so that they are one on top of the other. It should look like this (please forgive the terrible illustration - I'm a cook, not a graphic designer!):
  7. Icing Diagram for Gluten-Free Halloween Cupcakes on
  8. Now twist your piping bag like you would normally do, and pipe a swirl onto your Halloween cupcakes. Here's a piping tutorial just in case.

If you liked these Halloween cupcakes, here are some other gluten free Halloween resources you might enjoy:

Tweet Facebook Pin It


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:  

Comments from other ninjas:

  1. Melanie McMinn says

    That is some smack-you-upside-the-head colour! I’ve never used Gel Paste food colour, but I’m impressed with the results. Especially the black.

  2. ABowlOfMush says

    These are the best looking Halloween cupcakes I’ve ever seen!

    I have a gluten free friend who will go gaga over these, I’ve sent them to her.

    Really great!

  3. Jenn says

    These look so festive I love them! Thanks for providing the tips about how to get the swirly icing – very clear and informative! I have not made GF cupcakes yet, it is on my list to do!

  4. Amy (Sing For Your Supper) says

    Oh wow – I saw your picture on Foodgawker and had to rush over here to tell you how beautiful these are! They look fantastic!!

  5. Candace says

    wow your cupcakes look amazing!
    I am using your recipe for a school cooking show project!
    I am excited to show my class your delicious looking cupcakes
    you should seriously own a bakery shop :-)

    very very creative, very impressed!

  6. Nicole says

    Hi! so sad to read about Jenny hope she’s doing way better, specially with this halloween looking cupcakes, these are just perfect for any Holloween get together.

  7. Mireille says

    These look amazing! Have you experimented with making this recipe Casein and Egg Free as well? Specifically the icing since I am not able to find GFCF orange icing anywhere….

    • steph says

      I haven’t, but it might be possible. You’d have to add for protein and leavening elsewhere, probably by adding soy milk, almond flour and a little more baking powder. I’ve made vegan buttercream before with Earth Balance, and it’s turned out wonderfully! Crisco also works, but well, it’s Crisco. 😉

  8. Lake says

    I just made these cupcakes for Halloween and can swear they are fantastic!

    I’m new to GF cooking having only just been diagnosed with Celiac disease last month. My bread still leaves a lot to be desired but these little beauties came out a treat.

    I substituted maize starch (corn flour) for the potato starch and my oven’s temp is a little dodgy but they still tasted delicious. Some people even ate 3 in a sitting (so it might be best to make a double batch).

    The story about Jenny was so heartbreaking I cried but with these cup cakes you certainly never have to face this situation. If you serve these wonderful little cakes all the kids will be battling to get at your GF stash. Pretty sure people won’t even know they’re gluten free if you don’t tell them yourself. Thanks so much for this GF recipe – it’s a really winner!

    • steph says

      Lake, I’m so glad you enjoyed them! I served them to a few friends and they didn’t know they were GF. I was so happy to hear that. 😉

  9. John Bradley says

    Thanks for the recipe to the cupcakes. They are making me hungry! Got to have these for the next Halloween Party!!
    .-= Check out John Bradley

  10. Tim says

    Until recently, I was not aware that so many people had issues with gluten. Fortunately for me, I do not have this problem but I am still going to try these out!
    .-= Check out Tim

  11. Marcos says

    Hello, I made these cupcakes for St. Patrick’s day (white cake, green icing) and they were an absolute hit. Thanks very much for posting.

  12. Wenny Chan says

    Hello, my name is Wenny and on behalf of my sorority alpha Kappa Delta Phi, Inc. from City University of Baruch College, New York. I would like to ask for your permission to use the picture of your beautiful cupcakes for our Halloween Bake Sale Flier! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or comments! Thank you so much!

  13. Jenn says

    Hi! I am planning to make these for a work potluck. Do you think I could use gluten-free all-purpose baking flour?
    like this one
    instead of the gluten-free flour mix you listed in the recipe?


  1. […] Peanut Butter Pretzel Pumpkins PHOTO 2. Mini Halloween Confetti Cookie Sandwiches PHOTO 3. Ghoulishly Gluten Free Halloween Cupcakes 4. Candy Corn Pretzel Bark PHOTO 5. Whole Wheat Witch Fingers PHOTO 6. MOnster Munch 7. Homemade […]

  2. […] Pumpkin Chocolate Spiced Bundt Cake from Crumb           31.  Ghoulishly Gluten Free Halloween Cupcakes from The Culinary Life         32.  Vampire’s Weekness by Will Cook […]

  3. […] Cupcakes 17. Monkey Cupcakes 18. Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes 19. Cream Cheese Brownie Cupcakes 20. Ghoulishly Gluten Free Halloween Cupcakes 21. Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing 22. Pumpkin Chocolate Chihp Cupcakes […]

  4. […] Apples From Cravings of a Lunatic16.  Halloween Nutella Fudge Brownies from Back for Seconds17.  Ghoulishly Gluten-Free Halloween Cupcakes from The Culinary Life18.  Mini Halloween Confetti Cookie Sandwiches from Keep It Sweet […]