The other day, my seven-year-old daughter looked up at me with a very serious look on her face.

"Is Halloween cancelled this year, mummy?"

Our kids have put up with a lot of social disruption this year. Birthday parties, St Patrick's Day parades, playdates and now, trick or treating have all been cancelled for 2020.

I told my daughter although we wouldn't be doing the usual door-to-door trick-or-treating this year, Halloween was absolutely not cancelled. I let her come up with an alternate plan, which is highly elaborate and includes everyone taking turns knocking on all of our bedroom doors to trick-or-treat within the house. I think it's brilliant.

We carved our Jack-o'-lanterns and arranged for costumes. Schools will still celebrate the holiday, in some way and I have a few fun baking projects planned, to off-set any lack of treats.

Over the weekend, we made these cupcakes. I would tell you how they tasted, but between the kids and my husband, I didn't get the chance to try one. I'm not big on dyed foods, but I was assured these had no strange chemical taste – just buttery icing combined with a slightly tangy white cake recipe.

We found Halloween sprinkles and cupcake liners at our local supermarket; I also found some fun, inexpensive Halloween baking items online at – they shipped within three days, so there's plenty of time to make an order before the big day.

Spooky Halloween Cupcakes

Makes 12


170g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

125g softened butter

250g caster sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

125g sour cream

Several drops of black and orange food colouring (optional)

For the buttercream:

500g icing sugar

125g softened butter

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

60ml heavy cream

Black or orange food colouring (optional)

Halloween sprinkles

These Halloween cupcakes are a fun recipe to try with the kids while they're on their midterm break. \Janine Kennedy


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.

3. In a larger mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar with handheld mixers or in a stand mixer for about two minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4. Add the vanilla and the sour cream. Mix well to combine. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix until just combined (over mixing will make tough cupcakes).

5. If using food colouring, divide the batter in half; making one half orange and the other black. Dollop a bit of each colour into each cupcake liner (fill 3/4 of the way for best results).

6. When the cupcake liners are filled, bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The cupcakes are baked when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

7. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and cool completely.

8. Make the buttercream icing: in a large bowl, combine the butter, salt and icing sugar with a handheld mixer. Add the vanilla and cream and mix well for 3-5 minutes until light, fluffy and creamy. If using, add the black food colouring. If the buttercream feels too stiff, add a bit more cream until the desired consistency is reached.

9. Fit a piping bag with a star tip (or any wide tip) and fill with the buttercream. Pipe the icing onto each cupcake and let the kids decorate with sprinkles.

10. These will keep for up to five days in a airtight container, or you can freeze the un-frosted cupcakes for several weeks.