Thank you for the amazing 8 years here at A Baked Creation, we can't thank you enough for the memories! But we've decided to move over to a new site - Sincerely, Syl. Please join us there for future posts on all the things you loved here!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ghosts of Cupcakes Past

S: We've eaten a lot of cupcakes in the past months.
H: Ahem!
S: Okay, I've eaten a lot of cupcakes in the past months. Many were bought at bakeries that boasted selling cupcakes made from scratched, free of this and that. So this Halloween, let's try something a little bit scary. Something seen as a big no-no in the world of baking.
H: (in a scary voice) Ccccake Mixxxx.
S: That's right. There seems to be an ongoing debate between bakers who use cake mix and those who bake from scratch.
H: We for one don't see a problem with either camp. We've come in peace!
S: For this spooky season, we are going to try using a cake mix enhanced recipe from the Cake Mix Doctor.

A Better Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake

Recipe from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!
(Makes about 22-24 cupcakes)

1 package of plain yellow cake mix (I used Golden)
1 package of vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup of milk
1 cup of vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 package of frozen chocolate chip cookie dough

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and have all ingredients at room temperature. Also have your cupcake liners and pans ready.
  2. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, beat on low speed until all the ingredients are incorporated. About 30 seconds.
  3. Scrape the sides with a rubber spatula and mix on medium for 1.5-2 minutes. The batter should look well blended.
  4. Set aside 3/4 to 1 cup of the cupcake batter.
  5. Using the rest of the batter, evenly scoop the batter into your cupcake liners/cups - filling them two thirds of the way.
  6. Cut the pieces of frozen cookie dough in half to make 24 pieces.
  7. Place a piece of frozen cookie dough on the top of each cupcake and push it down into the batter.

  8. Using the 3/4 to 1 cup of batter that was set aside, evenly distribute them (about 1 teaspoon for the 22-24 cupcakes)
  9. Place the pans in the oven and bake the cupcakes until they are golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. This should take about 23-27 minutes.
  10. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool before frosting.

Fluffy Chocolate Frosting

Recipe from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!
(Makes about 3 cups)

1 stick of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2/3 cups of unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups of sifted confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup of milk
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  1. Place the butter and the cocoa butter in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low until well combined. About 30 seconds.
  2. Add the confectioner's sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.
  3. Mix on low speed under the frosting is light and fluffy. About 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of milk if the frosting is too thick or more confectioners' sugar if the frosting is too thin.

The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!
Written by Anne Byrn

ISBN 13: 9780761129615
ISBN 10: 0761129618
Publisher: Workman Publishing
Hardcover: 502 Pages

The cupcakes we tried were light and super moist, but during the cooling session, some of the tops caved in - my fault. I shouldn't have added the extra pudding (since Betty Crocker already has pudding in it, but I couldn't find a plain cake mix - Anne Byrn explains the difference in this book). I also think this might have to do with the cookie dough! The recipe allowed for extra batter, so as you can see, we made some mini cupcakes too. Don't want to waste it! I think to improve on this recipe, next time I will cut the cookie dough even smaller. Even though the frozen cookie dough we bought were already divided into 24 pieces, smaller ones might work better.

It was interesting to alter the cake mix instructions. I've seen chefs do it on Food Network, so I'm glad I had a chance to try it with the Cake Mix Doctor!

The cookbook includes a coloured table of contents that includes a photo of what the cake, cupcakes, brownies, bars, and cookies look like. Yes! That is so helpful and all cookbooks should include a photo of the finished outcome. It doesn't have to be fancy styled photographs, The Cake Mix Doctor Returns! kept it simple and informative.

This cookbook also includes side columns for you to write Recipe Reminders and Notes for each recipe instruction. There are clear instructions for the different types of baking you can do with this book. I like how Anne provides background information and is honest in her recipe introductions. She tells you where she got the recipe from and what she did to improve on it - what works and what doesn't.

I would recommend this for bakers who want to move a step up from using only cake mix. The recipes are almost similar to baking from scratch, except it is usually missing the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

Thank you to Laura from Workman Publishing for the copy of The Cake Mix Doctor Returns! by Anne Byrn.

Ghost Toppers

(Makes as many as you want!)

Jumbo gummies aka gumdrops
White-coloured fondant
Cookie cutter
Rolling pin
Modeling stick
Wilton's round piping tip #3

Have your jumbo gummies laid out to be ghostified!

Materials used: rolling pin, modeling stick, cookie cutter, round piping tip #3.

Roll out a thin layer of fondant. Use your cutter to cut the fondant.
It doesn't have to be such a wiggly cutter, if you prefer a smooth circle - go for it!
I didn't do a clean cut, I've never met a ghost, but I think some would have that wispy look on the edge.

Using the round piping tip as a cutter, make two eyes!
If they get stuck, use the modeling stick to poke out the excess fondant.

Next, carefully drape the fondant over the jumbo gummy.
Have fun folding and creating indents to make the ghost's body and "arms."

And you're done! Simple right?
Have these dry for an hour before putting them on top of your cupcakes.

As always, there are more photos posted on our facebook page!


  1. Very cute, I like the pink bow on the girl ghost & seeing the colour of the gummy eyes :-)

  2. Absolutely adorable, I will be making these for my son's class, however I will use a scratch cake ;)

  3. These are just beautiful! I will be borrowing your ideas for some cupcakes for halloween. X

  4. That is pretty awesome! I don't mind cake mixes every now and then!

  5. The little ghosts are so cute! I grew up making betty crocker boxed cakes, and I have a couple in my pantry from when there was a sale!

  6. How do you make the adorable bows??

  7. Jeniffer Paxton - Thanks! And if you held up the ghosts to the light, the gum drops would semi-glow!!!

    LadybugLuggage - Thank you, I think your son's class will have a blast chomping on the ghosts!

    Tara N - Thank you and please do!

    apparentlyjessy - Thanks! I don't mind it either and it's neat to experiment with cake mixes too.

    Jessica - Thank you! When cake things go on sale, it makes grocery shopping so much better. =)

    Carolyn - Hi Carolyn, to make the bows, we dyed our white fondant pink. Then made a tiny sphere and placed it in the middle of the ghost's head. Then two slightly bigger spheres to put on either side. Hope that helps! :)

  8. Cute Halloween cupcakes! I think cake mixes are fun to experiment with. I've had cookie dough cupcakes that were made from a mix and I thought they were fantastic.

  9. Rachel Emilie JacksonOctober 28, 2009 at 6:26 AM

    These are perfect! I think I will make ghost toppers for my Halloween cakes this weekend - thank you!

  10. these are the most adorable cupcakes i've ever seen. how much fondant do you recommend for this recipe? I've never worked with fondant before and I found a recipe that seems good but I am afraid it's going to give me way more fondant that i need.

  11. kamailesfood - Thanks! It is a whole new world of "doctoring" cake mixes, and it is fun!

    Tanya - Thank you! =)

    Rachel Emilie Jackson - Thanks! Have fun making ghost toppers and baking cake!

    rachel - Oh yikes... what we did was take a small ball of fondant and then took more as we needed it. For 24 ghosts, I would estimate we used about the size of a billard's ball? 2-3 golf balls? Maybe less? It is hard to say, sorry! We use pre-made rolled fondant because we like the consistency of it. So we haven't made fondant from scratch before!

  12. OMG sooooo cute!! Thanks for sharing how to make these sweet cupcakes!

  13. Rachel Emilie JacksonOctober 31, 2009 at 12:01 PM

    Hello again!
    I made some cakes for my family following your lovely ghost idea - hope that's okay!?
    Here's the link to see them:
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. How absolutely CUTE! and funny!
    You guys are like sooooo creative.
    And I only bake from scratch these days, except for those last minute parties where the only option is a box o' Betty. Sometimes boxed mixes are better than baked from scratch recipes. So I'm not hating on Betty C. or Duncan H.

    Happy Halloween!


  15. Marian - Thank you and no problem! Glad you liked them!

    Rachel Emilie Jackson - OF COURSE that's okay! This is so cool, I love how you added lil mouths to the ghosts! Thank you for sharing your photos!!! =D

  16. The little ghost toppers are adorable!

  17. Hahaha I LOVE the little pink bow on the 'girl' Very adorable!

  18. Marc - Thank you!

    Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] - Hahaha, thank you! I'm glad you love the bow. =)

  19. The Scootabaker - OMG! I don't know how I missed replying to you. Please forgive. And I'm so late in checking comments. Thank you and I hope all is going well, I love all the things you bake! And yes, box is not to be hated. =D

  20. Hi. I just found this while browsing Halloween cupcakes...this is awesome, think I'm going to do it! I was wondering where did you find the cutter of yours for the ghost toppings? And how big is the cutter? Also instead of spice gumdrops, could you just use DOTS candy?! Thanks!


  21. Hi Alison,

    Have lots of fun make little ghosts this Halloween! I bought the blue cutter from IKEA (of all places) and luckily it is still on their website - http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/80133039

    It's the squiggly circle cutter on the left that is paired with the small heart. Best of luck!


  22. Your ghost cupcakes are awesome! I have included them in our 25 Horrible Hairy Halloween Cupcake Idea post at Party Cupcake Ideas.