These Frankenstein cupcakes can be made traditionally or a bit healthier. They’re super moist and chocolaty with an adorable, brutish face of Frankenstein. Can also be made gluten-free.
I based these cupcakes on my Gluten-free Halloween Cupcakes that are topped with a healthier cream cheese frosting. But don’t worry – you don’t have to make these cupcakes gluten-free! It’s just an option.
If you don’t need these cupcakes to be gluten-free, you can use all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour instead of gluten-free flour. You can also make the cake base from these Eyeball Cupcakes for Halloween. That recipe uses eggs, and this one uses vinegar in place of the eggs.
It might sound crazy, but it works, and you absolutely don’t taste any vinegar!
Whichever type of cupcake you decide to make, it’s the Frankenstein faces that make these cupcakes perfect for Halloween. I used natural food colors to get vibrant green Frankenstein faces. I love that this food coloring is made from natural ingredients like plants, veggies and seeds. Plus, there are no artificial dyes making it wholesome and better to eat.
Nothing screams Halloween like these chocolaty cupcakes, so let’s get to it!
How to make them
It’s nothing complicated. First, you mix together the wet ingredients.
You’ll notice that it looks a bit less yellow than you’d expect. That’s because this recipe is egg-free.
It uses a little bit of vinegar in place of the eggs, but you won’t be able to tell! The cupcakes have the perfect taste and texture.
Then you mix up the dry ingredients.
Mix them together until combined. The batter will be VERY thin! Almost like water.
But don’t worry. There’s no need to add more flour or do anything else to the recipe. If you follow the directions and don’t make changes to it, the cupcake will bake up perfectly.
Then you bake them and let them cool before frosting.
How to make the Frankenstein faces
For the green base for the face
First, you whip up the cream cheese frosting. It’s a standard recipe, but with less sugar!
If you’re using the McCormick Natures Inspiration Food Colors, like I did, to create the mint color for Frankenstein’s face, use 1 cup of frosting and beat in 1/2 teaspoon sky blue + 1/4 teaspoon sunflower until totally combined.
Spread the green frosting on a cooled cupcake.
I used 4 teaspoons (18 grams) of cream cheese frosting per cupcake. But you have enough to use up to 2 tablespoons of frosting per cupcake if you want more frosting.
For the mouth and side stitches
I used a piping bag with Wilton Tip 2, but you can use whatever tip you think makes sense to pipe on the mouth and little stitches on the side of the face.
- Once the chocolate has cooled a bit (not too hot, but still easy to pipe), pour it into the piping bag.
- Pipe the stitches on the side (they can be in different spots) and then the mouth.
- Lastly, place on the candy eyes.
You’ll get 16 cupcakes in all with this recipe. But you can divide them in half and decorate different spooky designs like these Chocolate Spiderweb Cupcakes. They’re less spooky than the eyeball decorations mentioned above. 😉
Candy eyeballs? Eww.
I know! I think they’re pretty gross. But luckily, there are ways around using the store-bought ones.
There are loads of homemade googly eye recipes that don’t use nasty ingredients. Like this recipe that calls for powdered sugar, an egg white and mini chocolate chips.
You can make them in different sizes, too, and can place the chocolate chip in various places to make some fun googly eyes. So that makes it even more fun.
If you don’t want to use an egg white, there are several recipes that don’t use egg at all. These Vegan Googly Eyes use aquafaba, and some other recipes use corn syrup or cornstarch instead.
And food coloring?!
I checked out all the highly-reviewed natural food coloring that’s easy to buy in the US. I think McCormick Nature’s Inspiration Food Colors has the best ingredients, so that’s what I used.
I like the ingredients in ColorKitchen’s Food Coloring even more, but it still says “unavailable” on Amazon. So I had my parents send me the colors from McCormick (to Germany, which I live).
The green isn’t as vibrant as your usual gel food coloring, but still looks pretty good, I think. 🙂
How to store and freeze
You can store leftover cupcakes in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
These cupcakes are great to make ahead and freeze, then decorate when you’re ready. I freeze them unfrosted so that the face doesn’t smear and the decorations remain crisp.
To thaw them, let them come to room temperature, then decorate.
If you have some decorated cupcakes left over, you can freeze them frosted. They’ll taste fine, maybe not as fresh, but still good.
Can I use eggs instead of vinegar?
Although this recipe today uses vinegar (which you can’t taste) instead of eggs, if you’d rather use eggs, you can use my Whole Wheat Chocolate Cupcakes recipe.
Both recipes are equally delicious!
- If using olive oil – can you taste it? If you taste the batter or try them when they are hot out of the oven, you will notice the olive oil taste. But once cooled, you can’t taste it at all. If you’re concerned about it, use a light olive oil. And not a super expensive one. I always use the organic brand of extra-virgin olive oil from Aldi or Lidl.
- Can I use a different oil? You can use vegetable oil, canola oil or grapeseed oil. Anything with a neutral taste will be fine. I haven’t tried coconut oil, but you might get a coconut taste if you use unrefined oil. If you use refined coconut oil, you won’t be able to taste it.
- Can I use butter? If you use butter, the cupcakes won’t be as moist. Butter is 80-82% fat, whereas oil is 100% fat. It’s the fat that makes them ultra-moist.
- Do they taste like cardboard when using whole wheat flour? Nope! They taste just as if you had made them with all-purpose flour.
- Which kind of gluten-free flour mix works? I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free 1-to-1 Baking Flour as it is my mainstay brand. If you have a different brand that works as a 1-to-1 substitute, it will probably work with this recipe. But just know that the texture may vary with different flour mixes. I’m 99% sure that King Arthur Gluten-free Measure to Measure Flour will work and make fantastic cupcakes.
- Does the GF version taste gluten-free? Not at all! They taste like they’re made with all-purpose flour (at least with the brand I used).
- Can I use almond / coconut / other types of flour? Nope, there isn’t a direct sub for gluten-free flour mixes.
- Can I reduce the sugar? I wouldn’t because these cupcakes aren’t super sweet. Also, sugar is what helps keep in moisture. So if you like dry cupcakes, then I guess you could. If you had to, you could reduce it by a few tablespoons, but I wouldn’t want to do more than that.
- Can I use something other than the listed sweeteners? I’ve only made these cupcakes with the listed sweeteners and nothing else. So those are the ones that work 100%. That being said, if you had a different granulated sweetener that you usually use in place of granulated sugar, then it would probably work.
Healthier Halloween treats
- Ghost Meringues
- Pumpkin Spice Macarons
- Halloween Hot Chocolate Bombs
- Gluten-free Mummy Hand Pies
- Pumpkin Cold Brew with Sweet Cream
- Halloween Punch with Eyeballs
- Vampires Kiss Cocktail (adults only)
I hope you get a kick out of making these Frankenstein Cupcakes; I know I did! If you make them, I’d love a shoutout on social media. Just tag @texanerin and #texanerinbaking so I’ll see them. Also, we love to hear your thoughts, so leave us a comment below!
For the cupcakes:
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive, canola or vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the frosting:
- 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- green food coloring (I used 1/2 teaspoon sky blue + 1/4 teaspoon sunflower McCormick Natures Inspiration Food Colors)
- 16 cupcakes
- the above frosting
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
- 16 candy eyes
- Preheat your oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and line two muffin tins with a total of 16 cupcake liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the milk and the vinegar. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Then stir in the oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and the vanilla extract.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and the salt. Add this to the wet mixture and stir just until combined. Do not over mix! The batter will be almost as thin as water. Don't worry!
- Fill the liners a little more than halfway full and bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean or with some moist crumbs (but not raw batter). They will be very, very soft but will firm up as they cool.
- Let them cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter with an electric hand mixer at medium speed until it's well combined. It's okay if it looks a bit crumbly.
- Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until fully combined and then beat in the salt and vanilla.
- Beat in the food coloring now. If it's firm enough to pipe, frost your cooled cupcakes.
- If you want the frosting firmer, refrigerate it for about an hour, stirring the frosting after every 15 minutes. Don't let it chill for too long before frosting your cupcakes because it gets quite firm, like a cream cheese tart filling. In that case, let it sit at room temperature for a bit before filling the piping bag.
- It's best to decorate these on the day of serving. If you want to prepare them in advance, then you can put on the green cream cheese and save the rest for the day of serving.
- Melt the chocolate in a small pot over low heat, stirring frequently. Or microwave it in a microwave-safe bowl at half-power, stirring after every 30 seconds.
- Once the chocolate has cooled a bit (it shouldn't be too hot but still easy to pipe), pour it into the piping bag fitted with Wilton Tip 2 or whatever small tip you have.
- Pipe on the mouth and a little stitch on the side. Place on the candy eyes. Then switch to a slightly larger tip to pipe on the hair at the top.
- You can store leftover cupcakes in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- white whole wheat flour
- whole wheat flour,
- all-purpose flour
- or for a gluten-free version, use 1 1/2 cups (207 grams) Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-free Baking Flour