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Black and White Sugar Skull Cupcakes

Hey friends! I’m teaming up with Zulka® again to bring you one more festive Día de los Muertos recipe, and it’s a good one! These black and white sugar skull cupcakes have a rich, moist, chocolate base and a thick white chocolate buttercream frosting. Oh, and let’s not forget those cute little sugar skulls on top! They’re the perfect party treat! ????

Black and White Sugar Skull Cupcakes

I love a good chocolate cupcake, how about you? These cupcakes have taken me forever to perfect, but I can honestly say after about 3 batches of tender, moist, ultra chocolately cupcakes, I’m satisfied. I wanted to do something to play off of the black and white theme that’s associated with sugar skulls (of course there’s lots of color too), so I whipped up a sweet white chocolate frosting. I’ve never used white chocolate in buttercream before, but it was insanely delicious. I topped the cupcakes with some bright sprinkles and a solid white chocolate sugar skull. My husband absolutely LOVED them. He’s begged me to make them again at least 5x now. Win! ????????

Black and White Sugar Skull Cupcakes

For these cupcakes I used all three Zulka® Non-GMO Project Verified sugars: Zulka® Morena Sugar, Powdered Sugar and Brown Sugar. They come from freshly harvested sugar cane which means they have a natural, unrefined flavor that makes it them the ideal replacement for conventional sugars. Did I mention that you don’t have to do any crazy conversions? It’s a cup-for-cup substitute!

Black and White Sugar Skull Cupcakes

I used the Morena sugar and the brown sugar in the cupcake base and the powdered sugar in the frosting. They added a nice richness to the cupcakes that I just loved!

Black and White Sugar Skull Cupcakes

For the skulls I used a little skull mold I found (see notes for more info) and just melted the white chocolate down and re-solidified it. Super easy. I even stuffed a few with sprinkles… because the more sprinkles the merrier, right? I took my cupcake corer (you can use a knife to) and made a small well in the center of each cupcake to pour sprinkles in. I ditched the core and just piped the frosting over top. I was so happy with how these turned out. Not only did they taste amazing but they looked pretty darn cute too!

Black and White Sugar Skull Cupcakes

I hope you’ll bake up a batch of these black and white sugar skull cupcakes for your Día de los Muertos party, or you know, whatever occasion you want to celebrate… because they’re way too good to only make once a year! Enjoy & happy baking!

Zulka® Pure cane sugars are available at most major retailers as well as local grocery stores too! 

Black and White Sugar Skull Cupcakes |

Black and White Sugar Skull Cupcakes Recipe

These black and white sugar skull cupcakes are both festive and delicious! They've got a rich & moist chocolate base and a thick sweet white chocolate buttercream.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Cupcakes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 18 cupcakes
Calories: 455kcal
Author: Andrea
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For the Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter - melted
  • 1/2 cup canola oil - OR vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup pure cane sugar - We like Zulka brand
  • 1/2 cup pure cane brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate - 60%, melted
  • 2 eggs - room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks - room temperature
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder - sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk - OR sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup warm water - +½ tsp expresso powder
White Chocolate Frosting
  • 6 oz white chocolate - melted and cooled
  • 1 cup unsalted butter - room temperature
  • 2-2 1/2 cup pure cane powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
White Chocolate Sugar Skulls
  • 6 oz white chocolate - melted


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard size cupcake pans with 18 liners, set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, oil, sugars, vanilla extract and melted chocolate until smooth. With mixing speed on low, add the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sifted cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. With mixing speed on low, gradually add the dry ingredients along with the sour cream (or buttermilk) and the warm water/espresso mixture. Mix just until combined. Allow the batter to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Divide batter evenly among cups, filling ⅔ of the way full (I like to use a large scoop, a #20). Place in the oven and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched and a cake tester comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake! Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To Make the Frosting
  • Meanwhile to prepare the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Turn mixing speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Pour in the white chocolate and beat for 2 additional minutes or until creamy. Add the heavy cream, vanilla and salt, beat for 1 more minute or until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar if needed. Frost the cooled cupcakes with a large pastry tip or an offset spatula.
To Make the Skulls
  • To make the white chocolate sugar skulls, pour the melted white chocolate into the mold. Place in the refrigerator to firm up. If desired, add details using a edible marker or black frosting. Place on top of the frosted cupcakes, garnish with festive sprinkles.


-If you want to fill the cupcakes with "confetti," just core the cupcakes (with a knife or a cupcake corer) and fill them with sprinkles. You can either place a bit of the cupcake core over the top or pipe the frosting directly over top.
-Sugar skull mold is from Lekue (Crazy Skull Game Mold).
Nutrition Facts
Black and White Sugar Skull Cupcakes Recipe
Serving Size
16 serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Did you make this recipe?Take a picture and tag @lmadesimple on Instagram or tag #LMSBakes! We can't wait to see your version!

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Disclosure: this post is sponsored by Zulka® Pure Cane Sugars. As always, all opinions are my own.


About the Author


Hi I'm Andrea!

Hotelier turned Food Blogger to help make your life simple, one recipe at a time.

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