Spideriffic Chocolate Cupcakes

Since moving to Southern California, one of the few down sides has been encountering brown widow spiders and learning of their recent insurgence.  Having discovered them in our yard, and their more atrocious egg sacs hiding among outdoor toys and furniture, we’ve become relentless in uncovering every possible inch where they may be nesting. If you have never seen their egg sac, they look like spiky white balls which can contain up to 80 eggs per sac. So every few weeks, we comb the suspecting hidden areas, with our brown widow spider combat gear- big shoe and paper towels.

So, to celebrate our victories against the anthropods and wanting to bring a festive treat for my daughter’s class,  I decided to make Halloween spideriffic with these fun chocolate cupcakes! As one friend noted, kids tend to lick the frosting then toss the cake- I did a little research on boxed cakes. It was my first time using a box cake since middle school however I couldn’t help but tweak the recipe a bit.



  • 1 box of Duncan Hines chocolate box cake mix
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup of decaffeinated coffee, cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 can of Duncan Hines chocolate frosting, not whipped
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon whipped cream (optional)
  • Black sprinkles
  • Candy eyes
  • Pretzel sticks


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, beat the butter, adding the eggs one at a time until light and fluffy. Add the coffee and vanilla. Divide batter amongst cupcakes, makes 24, and bake for 15 minutes. The box says 18-24 minutes so check with a toothpick. Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack.

In a mixer, whip the canned frosting, I added 2 tablespoons of butter (optional) and 1 tablespoon of whipped cream to give it a homemade taste to it. Apply frosting to cupcakes once you’ve fully whipped the frosting, it may weaken the color a bit. Now the fun part where you can include children participation. Over a nice low shallow bowl, I allowed my daughter to put the sprinkles on then poke the pretzels into the cupcakes, and finally apply the eyes.

Happy Halloween!


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