Easy to make spider cupcakes with a pumpkin cupcake base and cream cheese frosting! With grain-free, gluten-free, whole grain, all-purpose flour options. Can also be made vegan. Perfect for Halloween! Scroll down for a how-to recipe video.
This year, I’ve seen a lot of those super cute peanut butter cup spider cookies (like these from What the Fork Blog!). I wanted to make something similar, but I wanted the base to be pumpkin.
I couldn’t come up with a seriously delicious + chewy pumpkin cookie, so I turned to my favorite pumpkin cupcake recipe, which I posted on Monday.
I’m terrible at all things decorating but these spider cupcakes were really so easy to put together! I was sick when I made these and had been sick for a while and had a deadline (this recipe was a contribution to another blog).
So I used some ingredients I wouldn’t normally use, just to get them done. But fear not – there are homemade + allergy-friendly options for everything!
So yeah. The candy eyeballs I used on these cupcakes are pretty nasty ingredient-wise. There’s even a warning on the back of the package about how some of the ingredients may have an adverse effect on activity and attention of children. We picked them off before we ate the cupcakes.
If you don’t want to use store-bought candy eyes, use the homemade chocolate eyes in my monster mouth post for a much less processed version. Or actually, it may just be easier to pipe the white chocolate right onto the cookie, let it harden, and then pipe the semi-sweet chocolate pupil over that.
I also used Oreos, another ingredient I never use on the blog. But at least they’re delicious and don’t come with a warning. ;) But here are some dietary-friendly + homemade options!
- For a grain-free version, use Paleo Oreo Cookies from Gluten-free on a Shoestring.
- For a gluten-free version, you can buy these or make these homemade gluten-free Oreos, which is a gluten-free adaptation of Smitten Kitchen’s recipe.
- For a whole wheat version, use these Faux-reos.
The pumpkin cupcakes have gluten-free, whole grain and all-purpose flour options, but for a grain-free option, use 1 batch of these pumpkin spice latte muffins instead of the below recipe.
Omit the espresso powder and the Nutella topping. It only makes 16 so you won’t need as many cookies, eyes or chocolate for piping the legs.
Don’t want a pumpkin cupcake base? These paleo chocolate cupcakes would also be great here! I also have an amazing chocolate cupcake recipe with gluten-free, whole wheat and all-purpose flour options.
No matter what ingredients you use, I really think these spider cupcakes are sure to be a hit. Enjoy! :D
Spider Cupcakes for Halloween (gluten-free, whole grain, all-purpose flour options)
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 20 cupcakes
For a vegan version, use these gluten-free vegan chocolate cupcakes and use vegan cream cheese and butter for the frosting recipe below. For a grain-free version, use 1 batch of these pumpkin spice latte muffins instead of the below recipe. Omit the espresso powder and the Nutella topping.
- 2 cups (250 grams) whole wheat flour, whole spelt flour, all-purpose flour or 1 cup (134 grams) 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour for a GF version
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 large eggs (50 grams each, out of shell), room temperature
- 2 cups (480 grams) canned pumpkin puree
- 2 cups (400 grams) brown sugar, raw sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 cup (240 milliliters) olive oil1 (or another neutral-tasting oil that's liquid at room temperature like canola oil)
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 12 ounces (340 grams) cream cheese, softened2
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (195 grams) powdered sugar
- 20 Oreos (use these for a gluten-free version or these homemade Paleo Oreo Cookies for a grain-free version - see the post for other homemade options)
- 1 cup (170 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- 40 candy eyes (use the homemade chocolate eyes in my monster mouth post for a much less processed version)
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C). Line two muffin pans with 20 paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
- In a larger bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin puree, sugar, and oil.
- Add the dry mix to the wet and stir just until combined. Do not over mix!
- Divide the batter among the liners, filling each one almost full, and bake for about 20 – 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 3 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese until soft and smooth. Add the salt and vanilla and beat until combined. Add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until fluffy.
- Spread about 1 ½ tablespoons of frosting over each cooled cupcake.
- Twist the Oreos apart and place the side without frosting face up on the cupcake. You can also use whole Oreos if you prefer.
- Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until melted. Pour into a piping bag.
- Pipe 4 legs on both sides of the Oreo. Pipe a tiny bit of chocolate on the bottom of two eyes and place on the Oreo.
- Keep decorated cupcakes refrigerated for one day until ready to serve. Keep undecorated cupcakes at room temperature for up to 3 days. The Oreos get slightly soft over time so decorate just a few hours before serving, if possible.
- If you use olive oil, the batter will taste like olive oil but the taste disappears after baking.
- If you live outside of North America and have the kind of cream cheese that's meant for toast (that comes in a little plastic tub) rather than American style brick cream cheese, then get a 300 grams of cream cheese, place it in the center of a cheesecloth, and wring out the liquid until you have 225 grams of cream cheese left.
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52 comments on “Spider Cupcakes for Halloween (gluten-free, vegan options)” — Add one!
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Such a cute idea! Made these today and turned out awesome! I just used boxed cake mix and frosting! Love this thank you so much for sharing!
What a great use of oreos! My kids loved these!!
I am loving all these cute ideas! I made the Oreo spiders and they were such a hit at my son’s school! Also, thanks for the cream cheese frosting recipe, it’s perfect!
Love these pumpkin cupcakes! Aside from them looking absolutely adorable, they are also quite delicious! I tend to use sunflower seed oil for the majority of my baking — turns out great. Next time I make these do you think I could add chocolate chips in? My family is a huge fan of chocolate paired with pumpkin!
Hi are all 3 flours mentioned need for the recipe or one of the 3?
Hi! Just pick 1. :)
Hi Can I use coconut oil instead of canola oil? I can’t wait to make these in a couple days!
Hello! You can. :) I’d recommend using refined coconut oil so that there’s no coconut taste (unless you don’t mind some coconut flavor!).
These are too cute! Perfect Halloween treat! Thanks Erin
I’m glad you like them! :)
Hi Erin Could I just do Chocolate cupcakes and white icing since I am not into Gluten free?
Hi! Yes, you can. I list 3 other non-gluten-free flour options in the recipe. :)
Hi cute recipe, the only thing I’m wondering is on the frosting 1/2 cup of butter and then another tablespoon what’s that extra butter for I don’t see it in the instructions ,
I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! And oh my. Thank you so much for pointing that out! I’ve fixed it. Thanks again for taking the time to ask about that!
So cool and creative. I will try this with my kids.
Thanks! Have fun and enjoy. :)
I’m so going to make these for the girls in my dorm but as far as the eyeballs go what do you think about putting a glob of white chocolate than putting a mini chocolate chip in the middle of that(the pointy side down into the frosting)
Oooh! That’s a great idea! Much better than my suggestion of piping on white chocolate and then using another bag with semi-sweet chocolate to pipe on the pupil. :) Thanks a bunch. I’d love to hear how the cupcakes come out!
These are too cute! Perfect Halloween treat!
I’ve just made these, haven’t got to decorate them yet, but wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU for yet another awesome recipe!!! It’s the third I’ve made of yours and they are such a hit in our house!
Aww, yay! I’m so happy you like the cupcakes and the other recipes. :) Have fun decorating them! Thanks a ton for your feedback. :)
These look so adorable. I love the options – so many ideas :)
Thank you! :)
Ah! You did a great job decorating! They’re so cute and perfect for the season!
Only because they’re REALLY easy to make. :D
You are amazing at decorating, I don’t know what you’re talking about! These are way too cute and love the candy eyeballs (although good advice on picking them off before eating)
All I did was pipe on the legs! Haha. But thanks! :)
These are adorable and sound delicious! I had no idea about those candy eyeballs…I just bought some, but threw away the package since it wouldn’t reseal. Yikes! I’ll probably be pitching the rest…
Aww. I’m sorry to ruin them for you! And isn’t that packaging horrible?! It would have been so easy to include a little lid!
These are so cute and I love the idea about picking off the junky eyes. Also, not sure if can get them but Newman’s Own makes a less junkier Oreo type cookie!
Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to look for those. I love making homemade but they are kind of a pain to make. :/
This is such a great idea for Halloween!! I am glad I like spiders ;)
Haha. They’re great even if you hate spiders, like me! ;)
These cupcakes are adorable and so perfect for Halloween!
Thanks so much!
These may be the only spiders I’ve ever felt like eating!
Haha. May be? ;)
Those are sooooo cute! I’ve been doing several Halloween crafts and baked projects with my kids, I’ve go to include these!
I hope they’ll love them! :)
These are so cute for Halloween! My kids would love them :)
Oh my goodness, Erin, these are so stinkin’ cute! What an awesome idea! And beyond the great suggestions for different flours, I really, really liked how you suggested healthy work-arounds for the candy eyeballs, and even gave healthier Oreo options! Brilliant! I know just what you mean about not wanting to use too many processed ingredients or things like Oreos on my blog … but I thought your suggestions made it all totally accessible, no matter how people feel about candy eyeballs that come with (ahem …) “adverse effect” warnings (oh my!). This is such a seriously terrific post with options that will keep everyone happy! Fantastic job!
Aww, thanks! What an amazingly thoughtful comment. I’m so happy that you (and hopefully some others!) appreciate all the options. :) And aren’t those eyes nasty?! Bla. I wouldn’t have eaten them anyway but I’m happy I saw the warning! It’s such a shame because they’re so cute.
I can’t resist a cupcake! These are too cute and so easy!
Thanks so much! :)
These are so darn cute!
What a fun halloween treat. I need to make these with my god daughter.
I bet she’d have lots of fun with that! :)
These are so darn cute!
These cupcakes are so simple and adorable! The candy eyes coming with a warning is mildly terrifying…eep! Good thing there are safer options out there.
Haha. Right?! I don’t even understand why E-numbers are needed for white + black.