Red Velvet Brains Cupcakes

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 10 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes
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Ingredients

Cupcakes: 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

2 teaspoons red food coloring (recommended: Seelect natural food coloring)

Frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Red and black food coloring

Directions

Special equipment:
pastry bag and large round tip
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with 12 paper liners (preferably silver).
  2. For the cupcakes: Crack the eggs into your mixer. Add the canola oil, buttermilk and vinegar. Drop in the food coloring and vanilla. Let it stir up until well mixed.
  3. Put the sugar, flour, salt, cocoa powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk together until well mixed. Then sift this right onto a big piece of waxed paper, it makes it easy to transport to the mixer. Make sure there are no clumps.
  4. Turn your mixture on low and slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients as it's mixing. Turn the mixer up just a bit and combine well. Stop and scrape down the bowl.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop to evenly dish the batter out into the cupcake liners, about 3/4 full.
  6. Pop the cupcakes in the oven until a cake tester comes out nice and clean, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool completely before frosting.
  7. For the frosting: Add the softened butter and confectioners' sugar and cream together in a mixer. Add the milk. Stop and scrape down the bowl, getting all the confectioners' sugar incorporated. Add a couple drops of black food coloring and then some red food coloring. Mix in the vanilla and a pinch of salt. Mix well.
  8. Fill a pastry bag or snip the corner of a zip top bag. Fill with the frosting. (To fill the bag easily, wrap the bag around a cup and wrap the edges of the bag around the top to keep the bag open while filling with frosting.)
  9. Frost the cupcakes, making a little squiggly line down the middle, and then filling in little swirls to look like the brain. Repeat on the other side and for the rest of the cupcakes.
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