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Kitty Litter Cupcakes



In my Bile & Bloody Bandages post, I talked about how Halloween food rides a fine line between being creepy and too gross to eat. I specifically mentioned a kitty litter cake that my cousin had brought to a party. She served it in a clean litter box with a poop scoop and melted a whole package of Tootsie Rolls® into it. It looked a little too real and not many people ate it.

But I’ve had a change of heart. I removed the litter box, scoop, and that unfortunate mound of you-know-what. While my Kitty Litter Cupcakes are still gross-looking, they’re more palatable than the kitty litter cake. They’re almost cute, actually!

More importantly, they taste great! And once you get past the melted Tootsie Roll®, what you’re actually left with is homemade yellow cake filled with chocolate pudding and topped with fresh whipped cream and cookie and cake crumbs. That’s not too gross, is it?

At the end of this recipe is a quickie version.

Makes 24 filled cupcakes.

1-3 oz package chocolate pudding (the kind you cook)

2 cups milk

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1½ tsp baking powder

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1¾ cups granulated sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

4 extra large eggs

1 cup milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 TBS white vinegar

1-16 oz container heavy whipping cream

2 TBS confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1½ cups of plain vanilla cookie crumbs (I used half of an 8.4 oz package of Pally Thee Biscuits but use what you prefer)

Blue and green dye (optional)

24 Tootsie Rolls®

Make the pudding:

Prepare the chocolate pudding according to package directions. Pour the pudding into a bowl and place a piece of cling film directly onto the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Put the pudding into the refrigerator.

Make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line two standard-size 12-cup muffin tins with paper baking cups. You will probably have enough batter for 25 – 26 cupcakes (which can be used for the kitty litter).

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Set aside.

Cream the butter for 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture all at once, the eggs, and ¼ cup of the milk. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes.

Stir the vanilla and vinegar into the remaining milk.

Add the milk mixture in three installments (about ¼ cup each) to the batter and beat on low speed just until incorporated after each addition. Fill the baking cups two-thirds of the way full.

Bake for 18 – 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven. Cool completely.

Make the whipped cream:

Place the heavy whipping cream in a small mixing bowl. Add the sifted confectioner’s sugar. Beat on low for 1 minute (this prevents the cream from splashing). Gradually increase the speed and beat on medium-high for 2 minutes or just until stiff peaks are about to form in the whipped cream. Put the whipped cream in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Fill the cupcakes:

To fill the cupcakes, cut a hole.

Insert a paring knife into the top of a cooled cupcake at a 45 degree angle. Don’t push the knife all the way down to the bottom—you don’t want the filling to leak out!

Cut a cone out of the cupcake.


Pull the cone out of the cupcake and cut off the bottom half (with the pointed end). Set aside the bottom half of the cone to use in the kitty litter topping.

Fill the hole in the cupcake halfway with the chocolate pudding. Cover the chocolate pudding with the top part of the cone. Press lightly. Once all of the cupcakes are filled, set aside.


Make the kitty litter:

Place the cookie crumbs into a mixing bowl. Add the reserved pieces of cupcake and 2 whole cupcakes. Crumble the cupcakes and cupcake pieces with your hands. Mix all of the crumbs together.

Place half of the crumb mixture into a second bowl.

In one bowl, add 2 – 3 TBS of whipped cream and a drop or two of blue food coloring (you want the crumbs to be light blue rather than bright). Mix together gently.

In the second bowl, add 2 – 3 TBS of whipped cream and a drop or two of green food coloring (you want the crumbs to be light green rather than bright). Mix together gently.

Combine the two colors of kitty litter crumbs into one bowl. Add 1 – 2 TBS more of whipped cream just until the kitty litter is clumpy and holds together. Set aside.

Cover the cupcakes with kitty litter:

Add just a drop of green food coloring to the remaining whipped cream. Stir until the cream is slightly greenish and sickly-looking (you don’t want it bright green). Spread the rest of the whipped cream evenly on the remaining cupcakes. Sprinkle the kitty litter crumb mixture on top of the cupcakes or carefully dip the top of the cupcake into the kitty litter crumbs.

Make the kitty poop:

Unwrap the Tootsie Rolls® and place on a microwave-safe dish. Microwave for 10 – 15 seconds. Gently drape one slightly melted Tootsie Roll® over each cupcake.

Don’t Freak Out!

1) Every time I make my homemade yellow cake recipe into cupcakes, I get two extra cupcakes. I don’t know why. I put that extra batter into stand-alone (foil) cupcake holders and place them on a sheet pan or put the batter into a tiny pan that is greased and floured. It doesn’t matter what these cupcakes look like because they’re going to be sacrificed to the kitty litter portion of the recipe. And that way, you actually get 24 filled cupcakes.

2) A note on chocolate pudding: I prefer the kind that is cooked (and yes, I really like the chocolate skin that forms on top) which is why I used it in this recipe. You can easily substitute my homemade Chocolate Espresso Custard that I make to fill my Pączki; just omit the espresso!

3) A note on food coloring: You can choose artificial liquid or artificial gel (it’s potent; start with a dab of gel at the end of a toothpick and work your way up to the color you desire). I prefer natural food coloring that comes from foods like spirulina, turmeric, beet root, and purple sweet potatoes. It’s more expensive but for people with food dye allergies and sensitivities, they’re worth it—unless you’re actually allergic to the foods used in the dye; then, of course, avoid them!

4) For people wearing braces, just omit the Tootsie Rolls® and artfully drape some of the leftover chocolate pudding on top of the cupcake. No guest should be left behind from experiencing this cupcake in all of its disgusting glory!

Kitty Litter Cupcakes—Easy Version

I taught two Halloween food cooking classes at my local community center this year and by far, Kitty Litter Cupcakes were the favorite.

This version makes 22 filled cupcakes.

You can make this recipe come together even quicker by using prepared whipped topping instead of making whipped cream from scratch!

1 box yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines®)

1 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1-3 oz package instant chocolate pudding

2 cups milk

1-16 fl oz container heavy whipping cream

2 TBS confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1½ cups of plain vanilla cookie crumbs (I used half of an 8.4 oz package of Pally Thee Biscuits but use what you prefer)

Blue and green food coloring, optional

24 Tootsie Rolls®

Make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line two standard size 12-cup muffin tins with paper baking cups.

Prepare the cake according to package directions. Divide the batter evenly between all 24 cups.

Bake for 18 – 21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool completely.

Make the pudding:

Prepare the chocolate pudding according to package directions. Put the pudding into the refrigerator until ready to use.

Make the whipped cream:

Place the heavy whipping cream in a small mixing bowl. Add the sifted confectioner’s sugar. Beat on low for 1 minute (this prevents the cream from splashing). Gradually increase the speed and beat on medium-high for 2 minutes or just until stiff peaks are about to form in the whipped cream. Put the whipped cream in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Fill the cupcakes:

To fill the cupcakes, cut a hole.

Insert a paring knife into the top of a cooled cupcake at a 45 degree angle. Don’t push the knife all the way down to the bottom—you don’t want the filling to leak out!

Cut a cone out of the cupcake.

Pull the cone out of the cupcake and cut off the bottom half (with the pointed end). Set aside the bottom half of the cone to use in the kitty litter topping.

Fill the hole in the cupcake halfway with the chocolate pudding. Cover the chocolate pudding with the top part of the cone. Press lightly. Once all of the cupcakes are filled, set aside.

Make the kitty litter:

Place the cookie crumbs into a mixing bowl. Add the reserved pieces of cupcake and 2 whole cupcakes. Crumble the cupcakes and cupcake pieces with your hands. Mix all of the crumbs together.

Place half of the crumb mixture into a second bowl.

In one bowl, add 2 – 3 TBS of whipped cream and a drop or two of blue food coloring (you want the crumbs to be light blue rather than bright). Mix together gently.

In the second bowl, add 2 – 3 TBS of whipped cream and a drop or two of green food coloring (you want the crumbs to be light green rather than bright). Mix together gently.

Combine the two colors of kitty litter crumbs into one bowl. Add 1 – 2 TBS more of whipped cream just until the kitty litter is clumpy and holds together. Set aside.

Cover the cupcakes with kitty litter:

Add just a drop of green food coloring to the remaining whipped cream. Stir until the cream is slightly greenish and sickly-looking (you don’t want it bright green). Spread the rest of the whipped cream evenly on the remaining cupcakes. Sprinkle the kitty litter crumb mixture on top of the cupcakes or carefully dip the top of the cupcake into the kitty litter crumbs.

Make the kitty poop:

Unwrap the Tootsie Rolls® and place on a microwave-safe dish. Microwave for 10 – 15 seconds. Gently drape one slightly melted Tootsie Roll® over each cupcake.