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‘Half Baked Harvest’ Author Tieghan Gerard Shares Wicked Halloween Cupcake Recipe (Exclusive)

'Half Baked Harvest' Author Tieghan Gerard Shares Wicked Halloween Cupcake Recipe
Courtesy of Tieghan Gerard

No tricks, all treats! Tieghan Gerard is getting into the spooky spirit with a killer cupcake recipe — and her inspiration is one all Halloween lovers can relate to.

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“The recipe is inspired by Hocus Pocus, which is a Halloween classic and one of my favorite movies,” the Half Baked Harvest cookbook author revealed in the latest issue of Us Weekly. “The cupcake itself is made with brown sugar, pumpkin, and of course, plenty of pumpkin spice. And the frosting is a nice and simple cream cheese frosting that goes perfectly.”

Gerard’s Black Cat Pumpkin Cupcakes are decorated to emulate the frightening felines, but there’s nothing scary about the recipe itself. Making the food guru’s dessert is guaranteed to be a hit with the whole family. “It’s a great way to get [kids] involved in the baking fun,” she told Us.

The Ohio native gained a massive online following after starting her Half Baked Harvest blog in 2012, and her culinary star has only continued to rise. She’s been featured on The Cooking Channel, Food Network, HGTV and more and has penned multiple cookbooks with hundreds of delicious meals for fans to try at home.

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Gerard’s latest recipe guide, Half Baked Harvest Every Day, quickly became a New York Times bestseller after it hit shelves in March. “With Every Day, I wanted to create recipes that are adaptable for everyone. I brought more color into the recipes and focused on flavor,” she told Glamour at the time. “There are lots of different vegetables and whole grains. You’re meant to cook the recipes and enjoy them with your friends and family.”

From Blueberry-Lavender Cake to Crispy Baked Prosciutto Breakfast Cups, the blogger’s new cookbook has a little something for everyone — without skimping on flavor and fun.

Keep scrolling to learn how to make Gerard’s Black Cat Pumpkin Cupcakes just in time for Halloween, and pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly for more holiday inspiration:

½ cup melted coconut oil (or melted butter)
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs at room temperature
1½ cups pumpkin puree
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

'Half Baked Harvest' Author Tieghan Gerard Shares Wicked Halloween Cupcake Recipe
Luke Fontana

For Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
2 sticks (16 tbsp)
salted butter at room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

For Decorating:
Black food coloring or activated charcoal
Melted white chocolate
Gold sanding sugar
Black sanding sugar
Black sprinkles
Black licorice, cut into 1-inch strips

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1. To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 16 cupcake molds with paper liners.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand-held mixer), beat together the coconut oil, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs and pumpkin until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin spice. Mix until smooth and no lumps remain in the batter.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake 18 to 22 minutes until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool.

'Half Baked Harvest' Author Tieghan Gerard Shares Wicked Halloween Cupcake Recipe
Courtesy of Tieghan Gerard

4. To make the frosting: In a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Add 1 tbsp of activated charcoal or a couple of drops black food coloring. Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes more.

5. To make the cat’s ears: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon the melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag and snip off a small portion of the corner of the bag. Pipe two small triangles, filling the triangles in with chocolate. Submerge one toothpick into each triangle. Sprinkle gold sugar over the chocolate, then draw a line with the chocolate tracing the triangle. Sprinkle the outside chocolate with black sugar. Repeat this process to make 16 sets of ears.

6. To make the cat’s eyes: Draw two small dots with the white chocolate. Sprinkle each with gold sugar and add one black sprinkle in the center. Repeat to make 16 sets of eyes. Place ears and eyes in the freezer for 15 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, frost the cupcakes with a knife or use a small star piping tip to pipe the frosting onto each cupcake. Sprinkle each cupcake lightly with black sugar. Add one dot of frosting in the middle of the cupcake for the nose.

8. Grab the ears and eyes from the freezer. Stick the ears into the side of the cupcake, then place the eyes into the frosting. Place licorice on either side of the nose as whiskers.

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