I love science.
All of it.
Earth science. Life science. Space science. Anatomy. Chemistry. (Well, maybe not physics.)
The point is that when I saw these cupcakes I absolutely swooned. Almost anatomical (I tried my best) brain cupcakes, that oozed out blood clots when you bit into them? I was positively overjoyed.
I also realized that with Halloween coming up it was a spooky time to debut these gruesome treats so even people who were not so science-minded could enjoy.
All of mine ended up being shaped only slightly differently, but I kind of think that's half the fun. While waiting to bite into mine to reveal the blood clot inside all I could think about was brain surgeons. And whether they would love them or hate them.
And as I was thinking this I tried to emulate my all time favorite brain surgeon.
Ok, I know Derek Sheppard (Patrick Dempsey) isn't a real brain surgeon. But if anyone had to operate on my brain. You know I'd hope it'd be him.
^This is me being thrilled I found a way to work a P.Demp picture into this blog-post/monologue.
I made these cupcakes using my favorite vanilla cupcake base and basic vanilla buttercream tinted with just a little red and yellow food coloring and cocoa powder to get that pinkish-grayish brainy hue. (YUM).
The blood clot effect was achieved by plopping some cherry pie filling right in the middle of the cupcake before baking. I used a medium decorators tip to achieve the shape of the brain. The full instructions are listed below.
These could not have been easier and were truly so much fun. Both for Halloween and science lovers alike. And not one person in my life was too grossed out to eat one. When I mentioned whipping up some anatomical bleeding heart cupcakes the next week, that was a different story.
We'll just have to see how those go.
Brain with Blood Clot Cupcakes
For Vanilla Cupcakes:
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tbsp or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 can of cherry pie filling
1 batch of basic buttercream
red food coloring
yellow food coloring
1/4 tsp cocoa powder
To make cupcakes, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard size muffin tin with white paper liners. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk briefly to combine. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until fluffy (2-3 min). Add the sugar and beat until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the milk and vanilla and beat lightly until combined. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and beat just until combined.
Pour 1 1/2 Tbsp of batter into each muffin cup. Plop 1 Tbsp cherry pie filling in after. Cover the cherry pie filling completely with more batter, filling the cupcakes 3/4 way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes (rotating pan halfway through) or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes for 15 min in tins. Take out of tins and cool completely.
Make buttercream as directed, adding 2 drops yellow and red food coloring and cocoa powder. Beat until color is consistent and well combined. Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a medium circular tip with the buttercream. Using a cooled cupcake, start decorating.
To decorate hold bag at a 45 degree angle and draw two straight lines directly next to each other in the middle of the cupcake. Go back and forth all the way down half of the cupcake 3 times to make one side of the brain. Complete the same motion on the other side to make the second side of the brain. Eacj brain should have 3 layers at the end. It helps if the buttercream is cold for this. If you buttercream gets too soft during this process, place in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes before continuing.
Buttercream is forgiving. If you don't like how something look, scrape it off and try again. It gets easier and easier to more you decorate. And remember no two homemade cupcakes will look exactly the same, that's what makes them so special. Enjoy!
Vanilla cupcake recipe adapted from: Magnolia Bakery
Cupcakes inspired by: Annie's Eats