Do you love Halloween as much as I do? Ever since I was a kid, I’ve just loved all things pumpkin! Maybe it’s because I was the third child and my older brother and sister grew out of carving pumpkins long before I did? I was always so excited to carve my pumpkin each year, but they were too cool for school to carve them with me. Darn older siblings! To this day, I still get excited to decorate for Halloween and to carve my pumpkins. So now I’m super excited that two of my three kids are old enough to help me! AND they actually want to!
I know I know I know. Some of you are saying it’s still too early for Halloween. But I just don’t think it is! It’s definitely too early for Christmas though, if that makes you feel any better? (I mean come on Costco, what’s with all the Christmas tree displays?! Although, I’ll be honest, I had to hold myself back from buying a big old roll of Christmas wrapping paper when I was at Costco last week… I can’t help myself!)
These pumpkin cupcakes are really easy to decorate, and they are so festive for the Halloween season! In fact, I think they fall in the same category as the mini pumpkin bundt cakes I made a few years ago – They are cute, fun and appropriately festive right up until Thanksgiving!
For this post, we just used a boxed cake mix – You know me, always wanting to do things the easiest way possible. So this is all about the decorating, not about your ability to prepare a box of cake mix. So please don’t judge. I also make a fantastic chocolate cake from scratch when I really want to!
Decorate Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes
Here’s what you’ll need to make these cupcakes:
- 1 Box of cake mix
- Store bought orange icing (or whipping cream or white icing with orange food colouring)
- Wavy pretzels or pretzel sticks
- Orange colored sugar (or orange sprinkles)
- Cupcake liners
- Wooden skewer
- Piping bag (totally optional)
Prepare your cake mix according to the package directions. Or you can make it from scratch using my favourite homemade chocolate cake recipe.
Bake them in the oven according to the directions and wait until they are completely cool before you decorate them.
We made two different sizes – a few large cupcakes and a few small cupcakes. Not only will it make your display of pumpkin cupcakes look more polished, but it will also allow people to choose a cupcake size depending on how hungry they are. (How’s that for being practical?)
Spread a generous amount of orange icing on top of all of the cupcakes. You can use a piping back if you want to – that’s totally up to you. We just loaded it on with a spoon and smoothed it out as best we could. You’ll be covering it with orange sugar, so it really doesn’t matter at this point if it isn’t a perfect swirl of icing.
Sprinkle the orange sugar over top of the orange icing. Use a generous amount of sugar, or you won’t be able to do the next step with the skewer.
Press a dry, wooden skewer onto the frosting to make pumpkin veins radiating from the center to the outer edge of the cupcakes. These are subtle, but the texture is really important for your pumpkin shape.
I’ve seen these wavy pretzels at the bulk store before, but I don’t think they always have them? And for the life of me, I can’t find them anywhere for you to order online, so you’ll have to keep an eye out for them in stores. If you can’t find them, a regular pretzel stick will work. I just really loved how these wavy ones made such an awesome pumpkin stem!
Break the pretzel in half and gently press it into the center of the cupcake.
I really love how these turned out! You could use orange sprinkles instead of the orange sugar if you want. Or you could make them using both to have even more variety and texture. I just wish we would have thought of adding a curly, green vine of icing to the pumpkin stem. Don’t you think that would look great? Oh well, maybe next time!
They are so easy, and so festive! If you are going to be icing cupcakes anyway, this is almost exactly the same amount of work, but they turn out looking so cute!
Photography for this post by Mei-Lanie Del Rosario.
This method of decorating pumpkin cupcakes is SO EASY! You can use your favourite cupcake recipe, or if you are short on time (I’m always short on time…) you can just use a box of cake mix. Make them in a few different sizes and you’ll end up with your very own cupcake pumpkin patch. I love decorating methods that are easy, quick and totally doable for beginners!