There are times when you want to snuggle up on the couch with a glass of wine or a mug of hot chocolate to watch something relaxing, like a romantic drama or a comedy. There are other times when you want to keep a blanket handy in case you need to cover your eyes and your hands are shaking so hard that you don’t dare pick up a drink, the nights when you are watching horror movies. You might watch horror flicks on a regular basis or you might only watch them around Halloween, but regardless of how often you watch them or whether you prefer creepy classics to slick modern films, these Slasher Flick Cupcakes are the perfect dessert to serve alongside a scary movie.
Like a horror movie, the details are what make these cupcakes great. The cupcakes are carefully frosted with white icing that is sculpted to give you a nice flat surface to work with. That smooth frosting is slashed – literally – with the tines of a fork to produce a series of deep grooves that can be filled with vibrant red piping gel. The cupcakes also have a swirl of red baked into the cake, which is revealed when you take a bite and adds a little more shock value to the already frightening dessert. Feel free to let some of the red piping gel drip down onto the serving platter for a semi-realistic blood splatter to set the scene.
The cupcakes themselves are vanilla, as is the buttercream frosting that tops them off. They’re moist and tender, a great all purpose cupcake that is easy to work with. Since this dessert is all about special effects, don’t skimp on the food coloring when you add it to the batter. I recommend using a red gel food coloring, which will produce a more saturated color than liquid food coloring.
The blood on top of the cupcakes is made with red piping gel. This is a style of frosting that is typically used to write messages such as “Happy Birthday” on top of cakes at bakeries. The gel is clear and is available in a variety of very bright colors, including red. It is thinner than buttercream, but not so runny that it will slide right off the cake. It also will not be absorbed by the buttercream frosting, which makes it perfect for this application as “fake blood,” as “blood alternatives” like jams will bleed into the white frosting. I have a recipe for homemade red piping gel coming up very soon, so keep an eye out for it!
Whether you’re taking these cupcakes to a screening of the original Friday the 13th or serving them up at a Halloween party, they’re sure to be a hit. They’re fun to make, even more fun to serve and are absolutely delicious on top of it all.
Slasher Movie Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk (pref. whole milk)
red food coloring
1 batch Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (recipe below)
red piping gel
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract until well-combined. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in the remaining half of the flour mixture, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain visible.
Transfer 1 cup of batter to a small bowl and add a generous amount of red food coloring to it (approx 1/4 tsp gel food coloring, 1 tsp liquid red food coloring) and stir it in.
Divide white batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups. Add a dollop of red batter on top of each tin of white batter, then gently swirl the two colors together using a knife or a chopstick.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
Take the cupcakes out of the pan and place them on a wire rack. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
Place a dollop of frosting on top of each cupcake. Using a small offset spatula or a butter knife, smooth the frosting around the sides and level it off on top, creating a flat, table-like surface out of the frosting.
Drag the tines of a fork through the frosting to create a slash. Fill the slash marks with red piping gel.
Makes 12 cupcakes.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 – 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, or more as needed
Combine butter, milk, vanilla and 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl and mix until frosting comes together and is thick, smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too runny, gradually add in additional confectioners’ sugar until frosting becomes thick and is easy to spread.