Jack Skellington Cupcakes

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Today’s cupcake recipe is inspired by the Pumpkin King himself! These Jack Skellington Cupcakes look super complicated to make but are incredibly easy, even for a novice cupcake decorator. 

A deceptively easy recipe for Jack Skellington Cupcakes - a fun Nightmare Before Chrismas dessert perfect for your Halloween party! A spooky treat the Pumpkin King himself would approve of.

Jack Skellington Cupcake Recipe

When it comes to Halloween desserts, there tends to be two extremes: super cute, kid-friendly desserts and gory, gross (almost unappetizing) desserts, like the infamous kitty litter cake that goes viral about this time every year or our Zombie Gut Cinnamon Rolls.

I think this Jack Skellington dessert toes the line between both – a cute little fondant Jack Skellington head perched on top of what appears to be a mossy pumpkin patch.

The “moss” is actually a green sugar cookie topped with green, vanilla buttercream frosting, with green sugar cookie crumbs sprinkled on top. It’s a fun play on the classic pumpkin patch pudding that uses chocolate graham crumbs over a chocolate pudding base.

Of course, if you’re not too sure about the mossy appearance of these cupcakes, you can swap out the green sugar cookie for a chocolate sugar cookie (and the green buttercream for a chocolate buttercream) for a different look. Either way, these cupcakes are stunning and will make the Nightmare Before Christmas fans in your life very happy.

I think they look intricate and like you spent hours decorating them, while in reality you can decorate two dozen of these in less than 30 minutes (and that includes the time to whip up the buttercream frosting).

Baking Tips:

One important thing to note if you plan on making these cupcakes: to allow the fondant heads enough time to dry, I prepared those the night before baking the cupcakes. Baking Kneads has some tips on speeding up fondant drying time if you are in a bit of a time pinch, but planning ahead and rolling out the fondant balls the night before is definitely the easiest way to go.

If you even make two cakes or cupcakes a year, I highly recommend purchasing a basic piping set like this one – you won’t believe how easy it is to pipe gorgeous decorations yourself using the right equipment!

(For just a bit more, this starter cake decorating set is a crazy good deal – basically everything you will ever need for cake or cupcake decorating is in here!)

To create that perfect swirl of buttercream, I just use a large star tip in my piping bag. I place the tip in the center of the cupcake and start swirling outwards to the edge of the cupcake, applying even and gentle pressure on the piping bag to create a smooth flow of frosting. To make those little star burst decorations on the top (beside Jack’s head) I place the tip of the piping bag directly onto the cookie and make a quick spurt of frosting while flicking my wrist up.

It’s super easy to do, but if you need a bit of practice, grab a plate or piece of parchment paper and practice on that before you get started. (That way, you can also scrap the frosting back into the bag when you’re done practicing.)

More Nightmare Before Christmas Crafts and Recipes:

Jack Skellington Cupcake Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cupcakes:

For the Moss Cookies:

For the Jack Skellington Fondant Heads:

For the Green Buttercream Frosting:

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.

NOTE: Since I knew that I would be spending a bit of time decorating these cupcakes, I took it easy on myself and only made the frosting from scratch. If desired, you can use your favorite cupcake recipe or sugar cookie recipe to swap out for the boxed versions called for in the recipe.

Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful

  • Electric mixer <– this is a great hand mixer if you don’t want to make the investment into a stand mixer
  • Cupcake pan
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Piping bag with large star tip <– a basic piping set will have all you need
  • Cupcake Scoop
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Spoon or Spatula <– I like these spatulas because they are one solid piece and don’t have removable heads for bacteria to get trapped underneath. Plus they are heat-resistant and have a lifetime warranty.
  • Baking Sheets

How to Make Jack Skellington Cupcakes

How to Make Jack Skellington Fondant Heads:

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Pinch off about 2 Tablespoons of white foundant and roll into a ball. Place the ball on the lined cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining fondant, making 24 balls.

Allow to dry overnight.

Just before making the cupcakes, use the black edible marker to draw on Jack’s facial features. Allow the ink to dry as you prepare the cupcakes.

How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes:

Line a muffin pan with Halloween-inspired cupcake liners.

Prepare and bake the chocolate cupcakes according to the box instructions, filling the liners 2/3 of the way full.

Allow to cool completely before decorating.

How to Make Moss Cookies:

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Place the prepared cooking dough in a large bowl and mix in about 1 teaspoon of the gel food coloring.

Use a cookie scoop to portion the dough out onto the prepared baking sheets, then use a butter knife to press the dough into irregular shapes reminiscent of a moss pad.

Bake according to package directions, until cookies have a light brown edge.

Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding with the recipe.

You will need 24 cookies for the cupcake toppers. Crumble the remaining (extra) cookies into a small bowl to use as the moss.

For the Green Buttercream Frosting:

Beat together the butter and powdered icing sugar for 2 minutes until well combined.

Add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract. Beat until buttercream frosting has a thick, smooth texture that holds still peaks.

Add in the green food coloring, until you achieve a color similar to that of the baked sugar cookies.

Adjust the flavor or texture with additional powdered icing sugar or heavy cream, as needed.

Scoop 3/4 of the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.

To Decorate your Nightmare Before Christmas Cupcakes:

Spread a thin layer of green frosting onto each cookie “moss pad” and sprinkle with crumbled cookie crumbs. Set aside.

Take your place the tip in the center of the cupcake and start swirling outwards to the edge of the cupcake, applying even and gentle pressure on the piping bag to create a smooth flow of frosting. Flick your wrist to stop the stream of frosting once you have covered the top of the cupcake with the swirled frosting. Repeat with all cupcakes.

Sprinkle the remaining cookie crumbs onto the edge of the frosted cupcakes (as you will not have enough to cover the whole cupcake).

Place a cookie on top of each cupcake.

Make three small frosting dollops on top of each cookie by placing the tip of the piping bag directly onto the cookie and making a quick spurt of frosting while flicking your wrist up.

Place a Jack Skellington fondant head on one dollop of frosting, and a small pumpkin candy on a second dollop for each cookie. There will be one remaining dollop for an accent. Repeat with all cupcakes.

 

Pin this Super Simple Nightmare Before Christmas Cupcake for your Halloween baking:

How to make Jack Skellington cupcakes - a super simple method for making mossy looking cupcakes that look picked straight from the pumpkin patch! These cute Halloween cupcakes are simple enough for the kids to help make and will be a hit at any Halloween event you serve them at.

Grab your free printable recipe card for our Jack Skellington cupcake recipe:

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Jack Skellington Cupcakes

Jack Skellington Cupcakes

A deceptively easy recipe for Jack Skellington Cupcakes - a fun Nightmare Before Chrismas dessert perfect for your Halloween party! A spooky treat the Pumpkin King himself would approve of.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • 1 box Chocolate Cake Mix
  • Plus Ingredients called for on the box

For the Moss Cookies:

  • 2 tubes Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Dough
  • Moss Green Gel Food Coloring
  • 8oz bag of pumpkin candy

For the Jack Skellington Fondant Heads:

  • 16oz white fondant
  • 1 Black Edible Marker with fine tip

For the Green Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup Butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups Powdered Icing Sugar, as needed
  • 2-4 Tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • Moss Green Gel Food Coloring

Instructions

How to Make Jack Skellington Fondant Heads:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pinch off about 2 Tablespoons of white foundant and roll into a ball. Place the ball on the lined cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining fondant, making 24 balls.
  3. Allow to dry overnight.
  4. Just before making the cupcakes, use the black edible marker to draw on Jack's facial features. Allow the ink to dry as you prepare the cupcakes.

How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes:

  1. Line a muffin pan with Halloween-inspired cupcake liners.
  2. Prepare and bake the chocolate cupcakes according to the box instructions, filling the liners 2/3 of the way full.
  3. Allow to cool completely before decorating.

How to Make Moss Cookies:

  1. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Place the prepared cooking dough in a large bowl and mix in about 1 teaspoon of the gel food coloring.
  3. Use a cookie scoop to portion the dough out onto the prepared baking sheets, then use a butter knife to press the dough into irregular shapes reminiscent of a moss pad.
  4. Bake according to package directions, until cookies have a light brown edge.
  5. Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding with the recipe.
  6. You will need 24 cookies for the cupcake toppers. Crumble the remaining (extra) cookies into a small bowl to use as the moss.

For the Green Buttercream Frosting:

  1. Beat together the butter and powdered icing sugar for 2 minutes until well combined.
  2. Add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract. Beat until buttercream frosting has a thick, smooth texture that holds still peaks.
  3. Add in the green food coloring, until you achieve a color similar to that of the baked sugar cookies.
  4. Adjust the flavor or texture with additional powdered icing sugar or heavy cream, as needed.
  5. Scoop 3/4 of the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.

To Decorate your Nightmare Before Christmas Cupcakes:

  1. Spread a thin layer of green frosting onto each cookie "moss pad" and sprinkle with crumbled cookie crumbs. Set aside.
  2. Take your place the tip in the center of the cupcake and start swirling outwards to the edge of the cupcake, applying even and gentle pressure on the piping bag to create a smooth flow of frosting. Flick your wrist to stop the stream of frosting once you have covered the top of the cupcake with the swirled frosting. Repeat with all cupcakes.
  3. Sprinkle the remaining cookie crumbs onto the edge of the frosted cupcakes (as you will not have enough to cover the whole cupcake).
  4. Place a cookie on top of each cupcake.
  5. Make three small frosting dollops on top of each cookie by placing the tip of the piping bag directly onto the cookie and making a quick spurt of frosting while flicking your wrist up.
  6. Place a Jack Skellington fondant head on one dollop of frosting, and a small pumpkin candy on a second dollop for each cookie. There will be one remaining dollop for an accent. Repeat with all cupcakes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 371Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 77mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 0gSugar: 72gProtein: 0g

Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.

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I hope your family loves these cute Nightmare Before Christmas cupcakes as much as mine does!

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