Celebrate Halloween with these chocolaty Day of the Dead cupcakes. Perfect for a Día de los Muertos party, these Mexican chocolate cupcakes are festive and delicious. With colorful sugar skull decorations and fun sprinkles, these cupcakes will be the hit of your Día de los Muertos fiesta! But, that’s not all. These delicious cupcakes have a unique ingredient, scroll down to find out what it is!
For a Mexican-themed Halloween party, add these easy pumpkin empanadas to your menu!
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Sugar skull cupcakes
When I was thinking about this recipe, the one thing I knew I wanted to use was a colorful sugar skull as decoration. I found the perfect edible cupcake toppers for these day of the dead cupcakes and am absolutely enamored with them. They are full of color and they’re the exact size needed to top a standard cupcake.
Day of the dead cupcakes
Halloween is a fun time of year, lots of ghostly treats and goblin eats. I mean, all you have to do is say “trick or treat” and people give you candy. For FREE. That’s a holiday I can get behind.
What is Día de los Muertos?
Since the movie Coco came out, I think people have a better understanding that it is not the Mexican version of Halloween. It is a time to remember friends and family who have passed on. In Mexico, people go to the cemeteries to give the departed offerings of their favorite things.
They’ll often leave food and drinks, candles, photos and little trinkets. It may sound a bit morbid, but it’s quite the opposite. It’s a celebration of life and it’s full of color, which is why I wanted to share these Day of the Dead cupcakes with you.
Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes
What makes Mexican chocolate different? It has cinnamon in it, which gives it a really nice flavor and makes these Mexican chocolate cupcakes extra delicious.
I remember a long time ago having chocolate in Mexico that had ground almonds in it as well. If you don’t have an allergy and you won’t be serving these to anyone with a nut allergy, a tablespoon of very finely ground almonds or a drop of almond extract would be great here.
Mexican chocolate is sold in round tablets that are scored in wedges (like a pie). Because it has sugar in the chocolate, you can melt it into hot milk for “instant” Mexican hot chocolate.
Día de los Muertos cupcakes
Skulls are often decorated with marigolds, so I gave my cupcakes a little floral flair. Totally edible. All of it, even the flowers!
If you can’t find marigolds, nasturtiums are also edible or you can look for edible flowers in your local gourmet market.
The flowers are of course optional, but I love how they look on this cupcake and they give it an authentic feel.
Day of the Dead recipes
If you are having a Día de los Muertos celebration, here are a few recipes to make your party auténtica!
• Atole – a thick, creamy drink made from corn. Add a bit of Mexican chocolate to turn it into champurrado
• Pan de Muerto – literally translates as “bread of the dead”
• Make your own Sugar Skulls – found all over Mexico during the month leading up to day of the dead
What can I serve with these day of the dead cupcakes?
- Pumpkin empanada recipe (from scratch)
- Chicken Tacos with Cumin Lime Crema
- Ceviche with Jalapeño and Corn
- Chicken Taco Salad with Avocado Buttermilk Dressing
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More cupcake recipes
- Caramel Apple Cupcakes with Apple Cider Buttercream
- Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
- Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream
- Ginger Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream
For the Cupcakes
- 3 oz chocolate, mexican
- 1/2 cup water, boiling
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder, dark, not Dutch-processed
- 1 cup flour, all purpose
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 6 tbsp butter, unsalted
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla, mexican
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper , (optional)
- 3 sticks butter, unsalted, room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- sugar skulls
- Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and line cupcake pans with 14 papers.
- In a small bowl, combine chocolate, cocoa powder and boiling water. Stir to melt and set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt, whisk to combine and set aside.
- (add cayenne if using)
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes).
- Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla.
- Add half of the flour mixture and beat just to combine.
- Add half of the chocolate mixture and beat just to combine.
- Repeat with remaining flour mixture and chocolate.
- Bake for 18 - 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Cool on wire rack.
- Combine butter and half of the powdered sugar in a medium bowl.
- Using an electric mixer, beat together until combined, then slowly add the remaining sugar. Add salt, milk and vanilla.
- Beat for 4 - 5 minutes until very fluffy.
Decorate with sprinkles and edible sugar skulls.
Mexican chocolate substitute: to replicate the flavor of Mexican chocolate, use 3 oz of semi-sweet chocolate, plus 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon and a drop of almond extract, if you have it.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 482Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 255mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 1gSugar: 48gProtein: 3g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
Thanks for stopping by! Have a delicious day 🙂
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Originally published 9/14/19, most recent update 9/28/21.