Best zombie brain cupcakes recipe

PHOTO: LUCY SCHAEFFER PHOTOGRAPHY; FOOD STYLING: TAYLOR ANN SPENCER

Don’t just make plain old cupcakes for your next Halloween party, make zombie brain cupcakes! These are nothing more than a moist chocolate cupcake with rich vanilla frosting, but neon green food coloring and clever piping make for a super festive and spooky treat. (Oh, and blood red decorating gel, we really get into it.)

The recipe will produce a little more frosting than needed to decorate 12 cupcakes. If you have any left over, you can store it in the fridge for about 1 week and in the freezer for up to 4 months. Just let it come to room temperature and whisk again before using on other cupcakes or sandwich cookies.

If you wanted to get really anatomical with these cupcakes, you could add a drop of pink food coloring instead of green to really make it look like a brain instead.

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Yields:

12

Preparation time:

0

hours

30

minutes

Total time:

2

hours

0

minutes

Cupcakes

1 1/4 tsp.

(150 g.) all-purpose flour

1 ea.

(200 g.) granulated sugar

1/2 tsp.

(40 g.) unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp.

(120 ml.) buttermilk or whole milk

1/2 tsp.

pure vanilla extract

Frosting & Assembly

4 bed.

(455 g.) powdered sugar, sifted

1 1/2 tsp.

(3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 C.

pure vanilla extract

2


3 drops (or more) neon green liquid food coloring

Red decorative gel, for watering

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Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a standard muffin pan with 12 cups.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Pour boiling water and whisk until well combined.
  3. Fill each pan with 1/4 cup (60 mL) batter, coming up about two-thirds up the sides.
  4. Bake the cupcakes until they have puffed and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Frosting & Assembly

  1. In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl using an electric mixer), beat the powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and salt on medium-high speed until icing is shiny white and very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Color the frosting with green food coloring and beat until well incorporated, adding more as needed. Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle.
  2. Pipe a small mound (about the size of a quarter) over the cupcakes. Pipe 2 straight vertical lines, side by side, down the middle of the cupcakes. Make curvy lines on either side of the cupcakes, resembling a brain.
  3. Drizzle a small amount of red gel over each cupcake, letting it settle into the folds of the brain. Refrigerate cupcakes if not serving right away.

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chocolate cupcakes decorated with green icing and red gel food coloring to look like zombie brains

PHOTO: LUCY SCHAEFFER PHOTOGRAPHY; FOOD STYLING: TAYLOR ANN SPENCER

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