Anne Thornton's Red Velvet Brain Cupcakes

Anne Thornton's Red Velvet Brain Cupcakes


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This tasty Halloween recipe was provided by Anne Thornton of the Food Network series "Dessert First!"

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Serving Size / Yield

12 cupcakes


  • Cupcakes:
  • 2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C. buttermilk (or 1 C. milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
  • 1 1/2 C. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. white distilled vinegar
  • 2 tsp. red food coloring (recommended: Seelect natural food coloring)
  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 C. unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 C. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 C. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • red and black food coloring

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Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and fine sea salt together onto a piece of waxed paper. Mix the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, vinegar, and food coloring in a standing mixer. Using the paddle attachment, on medium speed, beat until well combined. Turn down the mixer speed and slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing until totally smooth, about 3 minutes.

Line a standard 12 cupcake tin with the liners (preferably silver). Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full with the batter and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

Frosting: In a standing mixer, on medium speed, cream the butter until smooth. Turn down the mixer speed and slowly add the powdered sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla and mix until smooth and creamy. Add a drop each of red and black food coloring and mix into the frosting to make it a pinkish gray brain color.

Fill the pastry bag half full with the frosting, and pipe out into a squiggly pile on half of each cupcake top, then pipe the frosting in a squiggly pile on the other half of the cupcake top, making 2 brain hemispheres. This recipe gives a whole new meaning to brain food.

For more great dessert recipes, watch Anne's series "Dessert First" on the Food Network!

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