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These deserted tree cupcakes are perfect for your fright fest

You know that scene in Beauty and the Beast where her father is driving that invention mobile deep into the dark forest, and he takes a wrong turn? You know the scene, where all he sees on either side of him are twisty, gnarly, spooky-looking trees? That is where the inspiration for these spooky and fantastic cupcakes came from.

It seems a little strange to get inspiration for a Halloween dessert from a Disney movie, but those trees left a serious imprint. As a kid, I was so scared by them I’d hide my eyes when the fumbling pops got lost in the woods. Even though I wouldn’t mind getting lost among these sweetened cupcakes, I’ll just eat them instead.

Spooky deserted tree cupcakes

Spooky deserted tree cupcakes recipe

The trees are actually quite easy to make with some black wire or paper clips and black licorice. Just be sure to warn your guests about the wires to avoid any messy medical emergencies. Other fun decorations, like plastic spiders, ghosts or cookie “tombstones,” can be added. These spooky haunted forest cupcakes are sure to be the next big hit at any one of your parties.

Serves 12

Prep time: 22 minutes | Bake time: 18 minutes | Total time: 40 minutes


  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix plus ingredients listed on the box
  • 1 tub chocolate frosting
  • 2 bags black licorice
  • Candy corn
  • Black sprinkles or glitter


  1. Mix the chocolate cake mix with the ingredients listed on the box, stirring to ensure no clumps remain.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners, and fill each liner 2/3 full with cake batter. Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
  3. Once cooled, frost with the chocolate frosting. This doesn’t have to be fancy, since you’ll be topping it with the spooky trees.
  4. To assemble the trees, trim the ends off 4 to 5 licorice pieces in staggering heights (this will create the look of different tree branches). Carefully stick the wire through the holes of the licorice. Once the wire has been inserted, bend the “branches” so they look gnarled. Using the wire, carefully tie the base of the licorice pieces together to keep the tree together. Repeat until you’ve made about 12 trees. Carefully stick the trees into the centers of the cupcakes, pushing down slightly so they remain standing.
  5. Sprinkle the frosted tops with black edible sprinkles or glitter.
  6. Arrange the candy corn pieces around each tree to create a fun base. Add some fun spiders, ghosts or tombstones, and serve.

More Halloween inspiration

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