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Brain Food – Cupcakes for all your Creepy Needs!

It is getting to be that time of year.. the leaves are falling from the trees here, it is dreary and there is a crisp feel to the air. Nightfall sets earlier and earlier here in Alaska. Sometimes you can hear a rustling in the woods along side the trail as you take your afternoon walk… could be that the zombies are feeling a bit more mobile now that they can safely wander the woods without the heat rotting them faster… looking for brains to appease their awakening hunger needs for BRAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNSSSSSS…

It is also time for some fun recipes & ideas for a global excuse to put some shock value into the food! October is the time to bake your heart out and bring these goodies to the office, make a treat for those kids that have been so good this week, or to the upcoming Halloween party. The only requirement in my search for some original ideas was that it had to be visually epic, in the creepy, scary, spooky & gross food category, AND it HAD to be TASTY! So I am challenging myself to this little cooking scavenger hunt! Some ideas will be classics, some new, and my challenge is to adapt them and make them NEW for you and yours!

My inspiration was my enlistment into the Zweep Army by a lovely Zombie lover and someone I consider a friend, April Denton. April maintains a very cool website, Poetry and Zombies and writes Zombie Love stories and poetry! She is also the Chief of Staff for our Zweep Army! We are infiltrating Twitter and Facebook and websites all around the world!

Brain Food

Ingredients

(makes 2 dozen)

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 24 frozen strawberries
  • couple of handfuls of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Boil the frozen strawberries and 1 tbsp sugar in 1 cup of water. Once it boils, turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  2. While your strawberries are simmering, preheat the oven to 350° and place 12 paper liners in a cupcake tray, or place 12 silicon cupcake liners on a baking sheet.
  3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla. (Just a note: gel-paste food colour is much more concentrated than the supermarket liquid variety; if you substitute the liquid, you may need to add an entire bottle (1.5 ounces) to achieve the desired shade)
  4. By now the strawberries should be ready to come off the stove. As they cool down, get your chocolate chips ready by putting them in a plastic bag and pounding them into even smaller pieces with a mallet! (this is not only fun, but it adds the proper enthusiasm and energy into the cupcakes!)
  5. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
  6. Here is where it gets a little tricky because you want the batter divided evenly among lined cups But you are also adding the juicy and gooey center! So fill the cups each halfway, then take a strawberry, place it in the center of the batter then add some of the chocolate chips.
  7. Cover the strawberry and chocolate mixture till each cup is three-quarters full.
  8. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, for about 17-20 minutes. (You can test with a tooth pick or cake tester, but since there is a center this makes it a little harder! But it should come out relatively clean of batter!)
  9. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

Brain Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 LBS unsalted butter softened
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • Red and Brown or Black food colouring (you could also use green if you want a tinge of putrefaction)
  1. Beat butter in a small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy
  2. Beat in sifted powdered sugar and milk in two batches until fluffy. (really important or it will look runny, brains need to be fluffy people!!)
  3. Add in a couple of drops of red and brown or black food colouring until a grey pink shade is reached.
  4. Most black powder has a very green tinge so use red and brown and a small amount of black, near the end.
    (Gels are better as you don’t need very much and I find that it’s easier to accidentally use more liquid colour.)

To decorate

  1. Fit a piping bag with a plain 8mm nozzle and fill bag with brain shaded buttercream. This is a LOT of buttercream frosting, but its because you want it to stack well on top of the cupcakes.
  2. Now just visualize each hemisphere of the brain no need for a diagram, after all your brain is working right? Startby piping a big fat line through the middle, circle the edge with another line than fill with squiggly lines on age of the sides on top. Fill in anything else with random splashes of brain, I mean frosting! Don’t be stingy, you have TONS of frosting right? You can’t really go wrong as the brain matter squiggles go in all sorts of directions. Fill in any gaps with a dot of buttercream. If you feel the need for being PERFECT, I suggest drawing a diagram but it will look better if it is random and FLUFFY!
  3. Chill in an airtight container till ready to deliver to your victims…err your guest and willing taste testers!

***Recipe modified from my favorite Red Velvet cake recipe & buttercream frosting from my Grandmothers recipe box! Photo was found on the web, I cannot find the photographers name and I added the grunge edging for the creepy effect!***

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