Ghoulishly Glowing Cupcakes



Hey Everyone!! I’m just gonna start out by saying, I am so stinking excited about this recipe! A couple of weeks ago I had a follower e-mail me about a frosting recipe that would glow in the dark. Or I should say almost glow in the dark.

Specifically she needed a cupcake recipe that could glow under a black light, but the trouble was that I couldn’t find one on the internet to try, so I decided to try my hand at making one. After a couple of tries I am glad to report that I have figured it out!! Yay! And the secret ingredient that causes it to glow is…

Tonic Water!  Cool, right? The quinine in the tonic water causes it to glow under a black light for some reason. So, the challenge was to get enough if this into a frosting without making it too bitter or runny. Ugh! Turns out this was a little harder then I thought, but after trial and error I got a frosting that I loved that would actually glow, until I started adding color to it, and no matter what I did I just couldn’t get the stupid frosting to glow after I added food coloring.

Then it dawned on me that if you make gelatin with tonic water the jello will glow. What I ended up doing is taking my cupcake and frosting it. Then I stuck it in the freezer to let the frosting get nice and hard. After cooling I took the cupcake and dipped the frosting into liquid gelatin.

After a few dips and trips back into the freezer to set, the frosting glowed!! Before you start just know that the white frosting glows the best. The green, or if you decide to do orange, will glow it just isn’t as bright. Also a quick note, the darker you go with your color on the frosting the less it glows. And lastly, if you decide to make the colored frosting with the gelatin, discard any left over gelatin that you do not use for the frosting. If you want to make glow in the dark jello then use less tonic water or else it will come out way too bitter {like a 3 to 1 ratio, 3 parts water to 1 part tonic water}. Hope you all have as much fun with glowing cupcakes as me and my family have. Enjoy!!


Ghoulishly Glowing Cupcakes

  • 1 black light
  • 24 prepared and cooled cupcakes

White Glow In The Dark Frosting

  • 7 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons tonic water {diet tonic water works too}
  • mini chocolate chips morsels
Extras Needed for Green Glowing Frosting
  • Neon Food Color
  • 0.3 ounce package of either Lime or Orange Gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup chilled tonic water
Prepare desired cupcakes and allow to cool. Begin frosting by adding confectioners’ sugar, shortening, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons tonic water into a large bowl. Beat on low speed until no loss sugar is visible. Add remaining two tablespoons as needed to bring frosting to piping consistency. Mix at high speed for about a minute to allow frosting to become light and fluffy. Place half of white frosting into a separate bowl and set aside. Add neon food coloring to frosting until it reaches desired color {orange for orange gelatin, green for lime gelatin}.

Pipe colored frosting onto cooled cupcakes and place in the freezer for at least an hour. Meanwhile pipe white frosting on half of the cupcakes using a large round frosting tip. Add two mini chocolate chip morsels for the ghost’s eyes to finish ghost cupcakes.

After lettering colored cupcakes freeze, prepare the gelatin by adding gelatin mix to 1 cup boiling water. Stir for about 2 minutes then add 1 cup chilled tonic water. Transfer to a container that will let you easily dip frosting into and place into an ice bath to cool. Keep gelatin in ice bath stirring occasionally until gelatin is cool but not yet set {about 5 to 10 minutes}.

When gelatin is cool to the touch take cupcakes out of the freezer a couple at a time. Dip into gelatin upside down, submerging the frosting but not the cake {it is ok for the gelatin to drip onto cupcake, just don’t submerge it completely}. Rotate cupcakes dipping and then returning to the freezer for about a minutes to set gelatin, then re-dip. Dip 4 to 6 times for best results.

Refrigerate until a couple minutes before serving to keep gelatin set. Then place cupcakes under a black light and watch then glow.

{Make enough frosting for about 24 cupcakes}
A Food Snots Original
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77 responses

  1. Wouldn't white or neon colored frosting glow under black light, without the tonic water, anyways? Its been my experience that anything white or fluorescent will glow when put under black light.

  2. I was watching cake challenge a few years ago and the gal from cake girls,had come up with a glow in the dark edible liquid also I wonder if this was it.

  3. It should glow with no problems as long as the black light is somewhat close to the frosting. When I took the pictures the black light was within a foot of the frosting. That will give you the best results.

  4. Yeah, I learned about this at Uni. Quinine phosphorescences which means, I think (from memory) it takes the UV light and shifts it into the visible spectrum making it appear to glow in the dark (well under UV lights anyway). After learning this at Uni, I was then far more likely to order a G&T in a nightclub! It is so cool!

  5. well I know this answer may be a bit late, but you might try frosting your cake with fondant and then brushing the mix on with a pastry brush, who knows?

  6. Hi, I had a glow in the dark/blacklight party for my son so I've researched a bit on what glows in the dark, and what glows under black light. No offense but I really think you need to say, that it glows under blacklight, instead of the misleading , "glow in the dark"!!! I had four blacklights, and we had a terrific time. Yes white things for the most glows under black light, as do most florescent things, but it also depends on the material that is used!!! We had neon footballs, andwhite ping pong balls, that didn't work either! Just wanted to readers to not get too mislead, but hope you all have a gr8 time at your parties, and hope they all work!!! We ended up getting blacklight pingpong balls, and glow in the dark paint for shirts… ps we also got neon poster board from the dollar store, and they glow like heck under the blacklight.. ps, we had a tron themed party, the kids absolutely loved it!!! tron music, tron video games, and blacklight games… neon hoops that you throw on big water bottle filled with flourescent ink from neon hightlighter! works very well for either bowling, or base to throw rings on!!! just one real important thing. Ink in hightlighters are toxic!!! do not swallow or ingest!! also, blacklights get very hot, very quickly!! so please be careful, and enjoy!!!

  7. First of all I want to thank you for having the recipe on here like it was supposed to be. So many of the pins when you click on them take you to some far off outlandish place not even close to the recipe that has anything to do w/ the pic you pinned. So thanks for having the right recipe w/ the right pic. Second, you may have said & I just missed it, but how long does this keep glowing? How far ahead of time can you make them?? Thanks, Marty

  8. As to where to get the baking cups, if you go now to Target there should be a nice selection already on the shelves. But, for that matter, in the next few weeks you could find them in the Halloween sections of any store remotely connected with cooking or crafting or seasonal fare… Wal-Mart, Joann (Fabrics), Michael's, Party City, Albertsons, etc. Just keep your eyes open. They may not be the exact same ones but there's always cute ones, and they usually have some left over after Halloween you can get cheap, especially the mini-muffin size. Our mini-cupcakes come in Halloween papers year round! Don't forget some matching sprinkles… there's loads of those too.

  9. hi i am having my daughters bday at the bowling alley where they have all the black lights and stuff i would need !! but infourtanly they don't have a freezer to keep the cupcakes in until time! how would i keep the cupcakes from dieing so to say before they can get to eating them ?

  10. @danyell hall Hi Danyell. So the black light at the bowling alley should work. The black light should be within a couple of feet of the cupcakes to get the best results, but in my experience, bowling alley's have tons of high power black lights so if should work. Also, you really only need to keep the cupcakes in the freezer for long enough to let the jello settle. After that try to just keep them cool, but they should be fine left out for a couple hours.

  11. I would just like to say that I followed this recipe exactly twice and it did not work either time. The powdered sugar did have cornstarch in it, but all the powdered sugars at the store contained cornstarch. I am saddened and I know I probably did something wrong

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