November 5, 2012

Vampire Fang Cupcakes

Happy Halloween, everybody!

...what do you mean, it's not Halloween? It is. Governor Christie said so. He signed an executive order and everything. You don't want to go against Governor Christie do you? I wouldn't. He's a scary, scary man.

Here in New Jersey, our governor can eat your governor. And wash 'em down with a couple of beers.

Look, I don't agree with Gov. Christie's politics. Like, ever. And up until now, I figured he was good for little more than the butt of everyone's jokes. But boy, is he the man you want on your side in a crisis.

Gov. Christie, I'll probably never agree with you on anything, but if I met you right now, I'd kiss you. And feed you as many cupcakes as you wanted.
Halloween here in New Jersey got postponed via executive order because last Wednesday the majority of us were without power (and we were the lucky ones). Downed power lines and trees and traffic lights that weren't working made trick or treating downright dangerous. Power is being restored, and things are getting cleaned up as fast as they possibly can, but unfortunately, it's not fast enough for some people. Especially with the temperatures dropping and the nor'easter we're expecting this week.

But in the midst of it all, kids still love dressing up and getting free candy. And by golly, I love giving it to them. I also have a set of bloody gel handprints on the front door that gets rave reviews (I tell them they're from a kid that got too greedy with the candy. Then I give them giant handfuls of candy. Eh, I'm not their parents.)
I'd seen vampire bite cupcakes before, and thought the idea a simple way to make great Halloween cupcakes. Then I saw a silicone vampire fang ice cube tray in the dollar store (a bit like this one), and the wheels started churning. I could make vampire bite cupcakes, but with the fangs on top.

For the "blood" I used a strawberry champagne sauce that I got from foodie penpals (and I added a little red food coloring because it was a bit brown). You could always use your own favorite dessert sauce, pureed cherry pie filling, or this recipe for edible fake blood.

The cakes themselves are one of my favorite recipes for white cake (from, you guessed it, Old Reliable). The frosting is a white chocolate buttercream, which firmed up nicely without crusting. It was a great base for the blood, and I scored it with a toothpick to guide myself when drizzling (so the blood looked like it was coming from where the fangs were biting. I'm detail-oriented like that).

But plain white cupcakes, while always yummy, don't sound particularly Halloweeny, do they?
Who said anything about plain?

Poke cakes always kind of looked to me like they were bleeding, so they seemed the perfect choice. Just stab the cooled cupcakes a few times with a fork, mix one 3oz. package of strawberry, cherry, or raspberry flavored Jello with 1 cup boiling water, then pour onto the cupcakes. I put the cupcakes in a rimmed baking sheet to eliminate the mess while doing this, then double-cupped them to serve.
The rare cupcake vampire strikes whenever Halloween is moved to Nov. 5th
For more on Hurricane Sandy and how to help out, you can visit, see my post on the hurricane, or check out my Facebook page, which I will keep updated with shelters and first responders requiring donations as I learn about them.

Vampire Fang Cupcakes

1 recipe white cupcakes (see below. Vanilla or almond work as well)
1 3oz package raspberry, strawberry, or cherry Jello
1 cup boiling water
1 recipe white chocolate buttercream (see below) or your favorite white frosting
White chocolate vampire fangs
Red dessert sauce, pureed cherry pie filling, or edible fake blood

Bake and cool cupcakes according to the recipe. Using a fork, pierce holes in each cupcake. Add the cupcakes to a rimmed baking sheet. In a bowl, whisk together the Jello and boiling water. Carefully spoon the Jello over each cupcake, then place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill for minimum 30 minutes. Generously frost each cupcake and add a white chocolate vampire fang. Using a toothpick, score a line radiating from either fang, and pour as much or as little of the fake blood on the cupcake, concentrating on the lines you made. To avoid sticky fingers, place the cupcakes in another liner before serving.

Recipe by Kim

Silver-White Cupcakes {Printable Version}

Yield: 28 cupcakes

4 egg whites
1½ cups sugar
2¼ cups cake flour
1 cup milk
½ cup unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl with an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites
until frothy. Gradually add ½ cup sugar and continue to beat on high until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and remaining 1 cup sugar on
medium speed until fluffy. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half of
the flour mixture and half of the milk to the butter and beat until just combined. Add the remaining
flour and milk, and beat until smooth. Gently fold in the egg whites.

Fill the muffin tins 2/3 of the way with batter and bake 17-20 minutes, until the tops are a light golden
brown and spring back when pressed gently.

Recipe adapted from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook

White Chocolate Buttercream {Printable Version}

1/3 cup heavy cream
6 oz. white chocolate, chopped
Pinch salt
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, heat the cream over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming,
just until it starts to bubble. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate and salt. Continue to stir until
the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and
continue to beat on medium until smooth. Add the chocolate mixture and vanilla, and gradually increase
the speed to high. Whip on high speed until light and fluffy.

Recipe by Kim