These cupcakes are sure to bring out the inner zombie in all of us! Red velvet cupcakes are served inside a hollowed out pumpkin and decorated to look like a brain. Grab a fork and dig in.... BRAINS......!
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Step 1: Make Your Cupcake Batter
I do not usually use box cake mixes, but since this creation has more to do with presentation than the taste, I decided to go with a simple Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake Mix to make my cupcakes. This made the process very straight forward. Simply follow the directions on the box and "voila" your batter is ready to go.
Step 2: Bake Your Cupcakes
Once the batter is whipped up, now we need to fill our cupcake pans with liners and then the batter. I fill each cupcake just over 2/3 full so that they will rise up just over the top of the cupcake liners.. Bake the cupcakes according to the instructions on the box (for me that was at 350 degrees for 19-22 minutes). Once they are doe set them out to cool.
Step 3: Prep Your Pumpkins
While my cupcakes were cooling I started to prep my mini pumpkins to hold the cupcakes. Just use the mini pumpkins that you can find in about every grocery store around Halloween. I removed the top off of the pumpkins and took all the seeds out, cleans out the inner cavity and then rinsed it out well. I tested the size of each hole by placing an empty cupcake liner into the pumpkin to make sure it would fit well.
Step 4: Place Your Cupcakes Into Your Pumpkins
This part is about as simple as it sounds. Place your cooled cupcakes in to the hollowed out pumpkins. In my case, the cupcakes were not quite high enough, so I cut the stem off of the pumpkin lids, then placed the lid into the pumpkin, then set the cupcake on top of it. This brought the cupcake to just the right height.
Step 5: Make Your Icing
So to create te brains I just made some grey icing (the grey did not photograph great, but it is grey). To make the icing I use equal parts butter and shortening, then I keep adding powdered sugar until I get the taste I am looking for. In this case it was about 1 cup butter, one cup shortening and about a pound of powdered sugar. Beat the shortening with the butter until it starts to get smooth and looks whipped and creamy. Then slowly add the powdered sugar, beating the icing at a high speed until it is nice and consistency and is as sweet as you would like it (adjust the sugar to your own preference). Now I add black food coloring a little at a time until I got the grey color I wanted. I highly recommend adding just a little at a time. You can always add more and make it darker, but once its too dark, its hard to go back...
Step 6: Make Your BRAINS!
So finally onto the brains. I first mound a good amount of icing onto the cupcake to give it height, I want my brains to be nice and round and plump (No one likes to eat a flat saggy brain!) Then I piped out icing in a continuous line, thinking about looking like a brian, making sure I made a left brain and a right brain, so it looked as real as possible (I wanted it to look like brains, not like the pumpkin had a bad perm!) I found a photo of a brain online that I used for inspiration. Take your time, if you don't like the result, its just icing, scrap it off and do it again until you are happy with the finished product.
Step 7: Final Touchs
I wanted it to look like I was eating a jack-o-lantern's brains, so I drew with a sharpie pen a tradition jack-o-lantern face. you can be creative as you want here with the face on the pumpkin, but given my lack of drawing skills, I choose the simple traditional looking jack-o-lantern.once that is done they are ready to serve!
Step 8: Enjoy Your Brains!
Grab a fork and dig in! I choose to use red velvet cake so that the brains looked bloody inside, but I think you could go with a spiced pumpkin cake too, so it would taste like pumpkin brains. Really, use any cake you like!
Happy Halloween Everyone!