For ages I’ve been promising one of my friends that we’d do some fun baking together and that I’d show him some cool baking tricks. And what recipe, you ask, did I think would be perfect for honing his baking skills? Why, the first of my Halloween baking: brain cupcakes with bleeding centers! You know you have good friends when they’re equally as happy to make gross Halloween food as you. So without further ado, meet my baking assistant and mad scientist, Trond!
Yields 12 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1/2 stick (57 grams) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup milk
For the filling:
Raspberry or strawberry jam
For the frosting:
2 sticks (about 226 grams) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pink food coloring
Start by preheating your oven to 350* Fahrenheit (175* Celsius) and lining your cupcake pan(s) with liners. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat again until sugary lumps form. Add the eggs, baking powder, and vanilla extract. Mix until all the ingredients are incorporated and until the batter is smooth. Add the flour and mix until it’s completely absorbed into the rest of the ingredients. Add the milk and mix just until all the ingredients are combined. Pour the batter into the lined cupcake pan(s) and bake for 16-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
While the cupcakes bake and later cool, you can whip up the frosting. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar, and continue mixing until the frosting returns to a smooth, creamy state. Add pink food coloring (or red in smaller quantities) and mix until you reach the desired shade of pink.
Before frosting the cupcakes, we’ll need to fill them. This step is optional, but if you want to up the creepy factor by having your brains “bleed,” this is the way to go. To fill the cupcakes, cut a small cone out of the center of each cupcake. Fill the hole with raspberry or strawberry jam, trim the piece you removed down to a flat top, and replace it over the jam filled center.
Once the cupcakes are filled, spread a nice layer of frosting on the top of each cupcake to create a nice dome shape. Spoon the rest of the frosting into a piping bag and affix with a medium round tip (like Ateco #12), or trim the tip of a plastic piping bag straight across to a medium opening. To pipe the brain design, we’re going to work with one side and then the other. Pipe a straight line down the center of the cupcake, up around the side, and zig zag down again between the frosting borders you just created. Repeat for the other side. Enjoy these creepy, mad scientist Trond approved cupcakes at your next scary engagement!
Design inspired by Martha Stewart