In the Kitchen: Bloody Valentine Cupcakes

In an attempt to get all my recipes and cooking talk in one place, I’ll be periodically re-posting recipes from my time writing on the Kitchen Mirror here. In some cases I may update pictures & proof-read, but for the most part it will just be a re-posting of what I had there. The posts are not in chronological order – I’m trying to post holiday appropriate recipes near the holidays they go with & fill in others around them.

Originally posted February 11, 2010

I despise Valentine’s Day & generally all that goes with it. I hate that it’s a day people in relationships feel forced to do something kind. I hate that it’s marketed as a romantic day. I hate the commercialism, the jewelry, the flowers.

I feel like people who are doing kind things for each other on Valentine’s Day &/or saying “I love you” then, but not doing it the rest of the year are really losing the meaning. I feel like things done on V-day are things that should be done every day. Or at least more often than once a year.

It’s just a Hallmark holiday that makes people feel bad about themselves if they don’t get something or if they don’t have someone.

I do like the candy, though. But I love candy.

Anyway, my Wednesday night knit group has been talking about doing a February Lady Sweater party for a while – many of us have knit the sweater, so we thought it would be fun to all get together in February and wear our sweaters. When Rachel suggested a combination potluck/February Lady party, she came up with a Bloody Valentine theme.

Now there’s a Valentine’s theme I can get behind.

Immediately my brain went into overdrive. What could I do with cupcakes? How could I make them bloody AND delicious?

I saw these, which are awesome, yet WAY beyond my skill set.

So I decided to go with Black Forest Cupcakes filled with cherry pie filling, then do a little more blood on top.

The blood on top was my sticking point. How could I make my cupcakes drip blood? I needed a cross between a liquid and a gel, yet I couldn’t come up with one. The closest I could get was that red gel decorating icing you get in the decorating section of the grocery store.

Mindy suggested that I could somehow heat it up to liquify it some. We had visions of the gel in a spoon over my stovetop – it would have been like sugar was my heroin. Which it kind of is.

I mentioned my quandary at my Sunday knit group (yes, I go to two different knit groups. I love my knitting & socializing. And Sunday’s group comes with coffee. Delicious delicious coffee), where Shannon looked at me and said “food coloring & corn syrup”. OF COURSE. She is the master baker of the group, so I should have asked her in the first place. Duh.

How were the bloody cupcakes? Bloody delicious! I loved the little bit of tartness I got from the cherries & the juice/gel soaked into the cupcakes to keep them nice and moist (which is good because this cake recipe is a bit dry). I wanted something that didn’t need refrigerated, so an actual whipped cream topping was out. I used canned instead.

Bloody Cupcakes

I used the Black Forest Cupcake basics from Cupcake Project, including her version of the cake recipe, which I’m posting below with my notes.

Makes around 16 cupcakes (my version made 19 cupcakes & 16 mini cupcakes.)

1 2/3 C all-purpose flour
2/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/2 C butter
1 1/2 C white sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 C buttermilk

  1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Beat in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until combined.
  5. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  6. Bake at 350 F for twenty minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when touched.

I think I may have overbeat my eggs, sugar, and butter – it turned out SUPER fluffy, which led to flat topped cupcakes. This made the next step a little harder:

To fill the cupcakes, I used a canned cherry pie filling. Cut a hole in the tops of the cupcakes, fill with 2-3 cherries & juice/gel, then replace the tops. I found that I had to cut a bit of the cake out so the tops would go back on reasonably.

Frosting: Like I said, I used a canned frosting – whipped cream flavored. I piped it on, then let it set for about 20 minutes before adding the “blood”.

For the “blood”, I mixed corn syrup with red food coloring until it was a nice shade of red. Then I dripped it onto the frosting with some pipettes. No, not kidding. I didn’t have a syringe.

Add a maraschino cherry on top & you’re done!

Just a warning – these don’t travel great. If you can keep them upright & not touching, they’re fine. But the minute they topple over, the tops come back off and you’re left with frosting on the bottom of your container & a terrifying looking cupcake.

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