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Easy Spider Cupcakes start with a boxed cake mix doctored up to taste like homemade and are topped off with fluffy homemade buttercream frosting and Oreo cookie spiders on top.
Halloween will soon be here and that means I’ve been in the kitchen making all the Halloween desserts! Every year I start looking in the summer for all the things I can make and choose my top five favorites for the coming year.
This year I’ve been extremely busy so I tried to make things that were easy but still super fun for kids and adults. These Spider Cupcakes are easy because they start with a boxed cake mix but they taste homemade because I doctored them up before decorating them.
While I usually prefer to make cake and cupcakes from scratch I think that when I’m decorating cupcakes for a fun event it’s totally acceptable to use a boxed cake mix as the base.
How to Doctor a boxed cake mix:
- Substitute milk for the water. You will be doing a 1:1 substitution. Use regular milk or a plant based version.
- Add an extra egg to the batter. Most box cake mixes use 3 eggs so add in a fourth egg.
- Use melted butter in place of the oil.
- Add a box of pudding mix. Trust me on this, it will enhance the flavor. Choose a flavors that pairs well with your cake mix flavor.
- Use vanilla yogurt or sour cream in place of the water in the recipe.
- Add vanilla or almond extract to give the cake additional flavor.
For this recipe I chose to make a yellow cake mix with a box of vanilla pudding because I wanted a simple vanilla cupcake. Feel free to choose whatever flavor combination you would like.
Popular flavor combinations:
- Chocolate cake mix: chocolate pudding, chocolate mint pudding, chocolate fudge pudding.
- White cake mix: Lemon pudding, vanilla pudding, butterscotch pudding, french vanilla pudding, coconut cream pudding, pistachio pudding.
- Spice cake mix: vanilla pudding, butterscotch pudding, banana pudding, cheesecake pudding.
- Yellow cake mix: vanilla pudding, coconut cream pudding, white chocolate pudding.
- Strawberry Cake Mix: vanilla pudding, white chocolate pudding, cheesecake pudding.
The possibilities are endless. I like to go to the market and simply look through the cake mixes and pudding mixes and choose my flavors while I am there because they are located in the same aisle and it’s fun to mix and match.
- a box of cake mix (I chose yellow cake mix but choose your favorite)
- milk (I use whole milk but plant based milk can be used)
- vanilla extract (depending on your flavor other extracts can be used as well)
- powdered sugar
- Oreo cookies
- candy eyes (I use these ones)
To Make the Cupcakes: Follow the directions on the back of the box for the temperature then preheat the oven. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Substitute milk for the water, melted butter for oil, and add an additional egg to what the box says. Add in a bowl along with the cake mix and pudding mix and mix for 1-2 minutes or until combined.
Fill the cupcake liners halfway full and bake. This should make a small dome over top of the cupcakes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
To Make the Frosting: Add softened butter to a large bowl and beat with a mixer. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk and beat for 1-2 minutes or until fluffy.
Can I use canned frosting?
While you can use canned frosting I don’t recommend it. While I use box cake mixes I refuse to use canned frosting because it has a weird after taste and making your own takes just minutes and is so much better.
Once the frosting is made set aside half a cup and dye it black. I use AmeriColor Gel Food Coloring because it makes a true black color with a very small amount.
You can leave the remaining frosting white or dye it any color you would like. I ended up making mine orange since it is Halloween. Use the rest of the frosting and frost the cupcakes.
What can kids do to help?
- Kids can measure the ingredients. This is a great way to teach them measurement skills.
- Kids can help mix. Give them a spoon or whisk and let them go to town with the cake batter.
- Children can choose the base color for the frosting and help mix it until they achieve the desired color.
- They can add the Oreo cookie to the top of the cupcake.
- Kids can pipe on the spider legs.
Place an Oreo cookie on top of each cupcake. This will be the body of the spider. Use a drop of frosting and stick two of the candy eyes on top of the Oreo cookie.
Then use the black frosting and pipe eight legs from the cookie to the edge of the cupcake for the spiders legs. That’s all you need to do to make these super fun spider cupcakes for Halloween.
More Halloween Cupcake Recipes:
- Easy Frankenstein Cupcakes
- Caramel Graveyard Cupcakes
- Caramel Swirl Silly Pumpkin Cupcakes
- Hocus Pocus Cupcakes
- Brain Cupcakes with Red Wine Shooters
- Candy Corn Cupcakes
These cupcakes were so fun and everyone really enjoyed them. Kids absolutely loved the cookie spiders on top.
The cupcakes had a lovely vanilla cake flavor to them and it was hard to tell that they weren’t homemade. The fluffy buttercream frosting on top was a great pairing with the cake.
I love that you can change up the cake flavor and the frosting color and have a different taste and look every time you make these Fun Spider Cupcakes.
- 1 box (15 oz) yellow cake mix
- 1 c. milk
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 box (3 oz) vanilla pudding mix
- 12 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 c. powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 24 Oreos
- 48 candy eyes
- food coloring
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.
- Follow the directions on the back of the cake mix box substituting melted butter for oil, milk for water, and adding an additional egg. Add in a box of pudding mix.
- Mix the batter for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
- Divide the mixture between the muffin tins filling each one 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or according to the package directions.
- Remove from oven and cool completely.
- To make the frosting put the butter in a bowl and mix on medium high speed until smooth.
- Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk and mix until smooth and fluffy.
- Remove a half cup of frosting and dye it black. Leave remaining frosting white or dye the color of your choice.
- Cover each cupcake with frosting and place an Oreo cookie on top.
- Using a touch of frosting place two candy eyes on top of each cookie.
- Place the black frosting in a piping bag or a zip top baggie and snip off the end and pipe eight legs onto each cupcake.
Recipe adapted from Texan Erin