Just in case you are in need of a quick last minute treat to make to celebrate Halloween, here you go.  Chocolate frosted cupcake tops, otherwise known as frosted cake-like cookies, decorated with Halloween sprinkles.  If you’re anything like me, you probably have one of those monster containers of Halloween sprinkles at home…okay, actually two now.  Yep, I happened to notice that this year the sprinkle container had a couple of new varieties and I just couldn’t resist.  Anyway, back to these lovely cookies.  They are meant to mimic the top part of a cupcake (the best part, duh) and come pretty darn close.  They are quick and easy to make, made festive in a snap when topped with some pretty sprinkles, and definitely satisfy a chocolate craving.

Shanon and I decided to bake these together as our virtual baking project for this month.  It turned out we both had this recipe bookmarked for quite some time.  We were doubly excited about this selection because these cookies come from Paula’s blog.  We had the privilege of meeting Paula when we attended Food and Light in Boulder, CO last year.  She is incredibly sweet and I feel so lucky to have met her.  Our family enjoyed these cookies as a wonderful Halloween treat while we carved pumpkins this weekend.  Whether you make them today or some other day, definitely do make them.  Break the monotony of sneaking pieces of Halloween candy and make use of your sprinkle surplus.  And, have a very happy Halloween!


For the cupcake tops:
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. espresso powder
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk (or plain yogurt)

For the frosting:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Line baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder.  Whisk to blend, and set aside.  Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt over a pot of simmering water (or in short intervals in the microwave) until smooth.  Set aside and let cool until just barely warm to the touch.

  • 02

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg.  Blend in the vanilla.  Beat in the melted chocolate until smooth.  With the mixer on low speed, add in half of the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.  Add in the buttermilk and mix just until smooth.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients.

  • 03

    Drop the dough in spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1½ tablespoons per cookie, spacing each about 2 inches apart.  Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, just until set.  Let cool on the baking sheet about 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

  • 04

    To make the frosting, place the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl.  Melt over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave in short intervals, stirring until smooth.  Stir in the sour cream.  Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until the mixture is smooth and glossy.  If necessary adjust the consistency with additional confectioners’ sugar to thicken or sour cream to thin it out.  Frost cookies as desired and decorate with sprinkles (optional).


  • Bella

    awwww….the kids are absolutely edible!

  • These sound lovely! Can’t wait to try. Also, love your little one’s costume!

  • I’m so intrigued by the sour cream for the frosting! I love sour cream in recipes for cakes/cupcakes, especially when combined with chocolate, so I’m really excited to try this one.

  • I just read about these over on Shanon’s site. Great cause!

    And your owl… love!

  • awww your kids have adorable costumes on!! i especially love the owl! i haven’t made Halloween cookies yet :( I wish i didn’t work today..those look so yummy and fluffy!

  • Irene L.

    This reminds me of the Seifeld when Elaine has the idea of opening a muffin shop that only sells the ‘top of the muffin’. You are so right, it is the best part! Happy Halloween!

  • Your little ones are too cute! And these really would take care of my chocolate cravings:-)

  • Brenna J

    Oooh! These sound delicious!! I can’t wait to try them!!

  • jen

    these look fantastic! and your kiddos are way too cute, and your daughter looks just like you!! so sweet. love the costumes! happy halloween!! :)

  • What cutie-pie kids! I am in love with those sprinkles; they just scream Halloween and monsters to me.

  • Nicole G

    Ok, Annie, you are on a roll lately! First the awesome Nightmare Before Christmas cookies that I am heartbroken I won’t have time to make this year. That movie is a family favorite in our house! And now these awesome cakey cookies! BTW, your kid’s costumes are adorable!!! Love them, especially the owl!

  • Hi Annie, thanks for the link. Your cookies are so cute with the sprinkles. Your little goblins are even cuter. Happy Halloween.

    p.s. My sister says she likes the frosting better with semi-sweet chocolate. She has a wicked sweet tooth.

  • Annie, the kids are adorable! And the recipe looks divine, too… =)

  • Annie

    Oooh yes, chocolate sour cream frosting is my favorite kind of chocolate frosting. I highly recommend it!

  • Ah the top of the cupcake — the BEST part. Thanks for this lovely recipe and just in time for Halloween parties everywhere.

  • oh my goodness your kids are the cutest! and those cookies look delicious!

  • I love this idea- the top of the cupcake is always the best part anyway :)

  • omg, I just awweed outloud at work. Your children are absolutely beautiful. Happy Halloween, Annie!

  • Oh man, those look soooo good! I’ve never heard of sour cream in a frosting before but something tells me I’m behind the curve. Is it possible to sub plain greek yogurt for it?

  • Annie

    I am not sure since I haven’t tried it myself. I considered it when I made these but didn’t have time to redo if it didn’t work, so I didn’t try it.

  • First, your children are absolutely precious.

    Two, these cookie-cupcake hybrids look perfect. I’m a little afraid to make these because I think I might eat them all.

  • Liz N

    I love the kids costumes! How cute are they?! Cupcake tops…awesome! My favorite part! Can’t wait to make these Annie. The Halloween sprinkles are perfect!

  • Rose

    Your kids are absolutely adorable! Did you make their costumes? I swear, you are wonder woman!!!

  • Annie, these look so so good. And I think I have the same giant thing of sprinkles. :-)

  • Annie

    Oh heavens no! I’m not that talented.


  • Vanessa Ferrari

    I’d like to know how you managed to get BOTH kids to look like you?
    I do all that work, and my two look just like their daddy. hmph.

  • Annie, you are amazing! What a wonderful cause. Because of what you and Shanon are doing, lives will be drastically changed, if not saved. You were my hero before, but now even more so! I’m definitely looking into Frosting for the Cause to see what I can do. :)

    Also, your kids are absolutely adorable, as always!! what treasures. :) Hope you guys have a fun Halloween together!

  • Annie

    Haha! My family has VERY strong genes and we all look alike, so my kids will probably all look like me. I do love it :)

  • Heather

    These look great, but whats your secret for making them look so uniform and perfect? Did you pipe them? Or have any other tricks up your sleeve?

  • Annie

    I used a dough scoop.

  • Please please PLEASE tell me where you got the owl costume. I had the hardest time finding something cute for my little girl this year, and the owl is just too cute!

  • Just found your site after seeing a zillion people linking to your amazing recipes on Pinterest.

    Woman, you can COOK. And take beautiful pics. A winning combo! :)

  • and P.S. I was at Food and Light THIS year. 2011. Wish I would have met you last year.

  • Annie

    It’s from Pottery Barn :)

  • Annie

    Aw, thank you! I wish I could have met you as well. Food and Light is awesome!

  • Patti T,

    Your children are just so adorable. My grand daughter would love these cupcake tops. She things the ratio of icing to cake should be about two to one.

  • These look delicious! I much prefer the top of the cupcake or muffin anyway! And the chocolate frosting…yum! I am obsessed lately with adding espresso powder to the chocolate!

  • Your trick-or-treaters are adorable and these cookies look so great! I love a large soft and fluffy cake-like cookie so these look irresistible to me!

  • Ahhh! Your little monsters are the cutest! And the cupcake tops are pretty adorable too (although I think the kiddos win this one!)

  • the tops are always the best part!

  • I am so intrigued by these! I’m desperate for something simple yet pleasing, between cookies and cupcakes! It’s perfect- I might just incorporate nutella. Do you recommend the buttermilk and sour cream over any other replacement?

  • Loa337

    Found you on Pinterest. Made these cookies tonight and they were fabulous. The frosting has a very rich dark chocolate flavor and the cookies were like a cakey brownie. Mine even turned out pretty like yours which doesn’t ever happen! Very attractive cookie – would make great treat gifts.

  • Nina

    These are very good! I made sandwich cookies out of them(frosting in and out) with sprinkles. I called them chocolate twist & shouts! thanx 4 posting!