I love Halloween, it’s such a fun season to bake for you can seriously go to town and let you imagination run wild.
I remember some years ago seeing these Halloween broken glass cupcakes in either in a magazine or possibly on the internet, it was some years ago and I always wanted to make them, but I’m usually away working during Halloween but this year I am on leave and wanted to give them a go.
I decided a lovely red velvet cupcake would be fantastic in this design. Anything to make them a little more ghoulish is always a good thing in my book.
And it has occurred to me I haven’t actually shared a red velvet cupcake with you guys yet. I personally don’t eat a lot of them but I do like them in and out, especially at festive seasons, as they can be so effective. Also because I wanted these cupcakes to “bleed” and red velvet was the obvious choice.
For a startling contrast to the deep red cake I wanted a white frosting. I have experimented a bit over the years with white food colouring but I have found it almost impossible to get that crisp white colour. But shopping the other week I noticed my local supermarket has started stocking Trex. A pure white vegetable fat, which has virtually no taste of it’s own. With a little experimenting I have found it made a pretty good frosting. It was nowhere near as rich as buttercream, but with such a rich cake like red velvet I found this wasn’t a problem.
The white frosting was really effective with the “blood” running down it, it just made the red liquid pop!
Now obviously I am not using real glass in my cupcakes that would be crazy and very dangerous. So I am using sugar glass, which is used widely in Hollywood as it has a far lower smashing threshold and it doesn’t splinter or hurt you like real glass. And as an added bonus it edible, mind you it takes some getting through but it’s a great way to keep the kids quiet while they are working away at it. But you will need a candy thermometer, as you need to get it to a certain temperature of 150C / 300F so it shatters and splinters in the desired effect.
The sugar glass does take a little time to make and the downside of it is you can’t make it too far in advance. The cupcakes and frosting can be made a couple of days in advance but the sugar glass needs to be made the day you want to use it. It will keep for a couple of days once in the cupcake but it becomes sticky and difficult to work with after about half a day. So do everything else well in advance and make the glass in the morning of the day you wish to serve them.
To make the sugar glass I used light corn syrup, I know this is not always the easiest thing to get a hold of in the UK but it really is worth trying to get some. I am sure Amazon.co.uk can help you out in this area. Its basically just liquid glucose so maybe checking out some of the health food shops may be a good idea.
So if you are entertaining this Halloween just imagine the gasp you would get from your guests on producing these beauties.*Measurements in cups is a guide this recipe was made using metric weight*
- 120 grams Unsalted butter, (1 stick and 1 and ½ teaspoons)
- 300 grams sugar, (1 and ½ cups)
- 2 large eggs
- 20 grams good quality cocoa, (1 and ½ tablespoons)
- 1½ teaspoons red food gel
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 300 grams Plain flour (All Purpose), (2 and ¼ cups)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 240 millilitres buttermilk, (1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 100 grams white vegetable fat I used Trex, (7 tablespoons)
- 500 grams Icing sugar (Confectioners sugar), (4 and ½ cups)
- 40 millilitres milk, (8 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
- oil spray
- 500 millilitres water, (2 cups)
- 785 grams sugar, (3 and ½ cups)
- 250 millilitres light corn syrup, (1 cup)
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat your oven to 190C / 375F / Gas Mark 5 and prep you muffin tins with cases.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating in-between each addition. Make sure everything is well incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the cocoa powder; food colouring and vanilla extract to make a paste. Because I used a gel colouring instead of a liquid colouring I found there wasn’t enough liquid to mix this to a paste so took a tablespoon out of the buttermilk and this made it into a paste for me.
- Add your red chocolaty paste to your batter and mix well until everything is really well mixed together.
- Sift the flour and salt together into a separate bowl and add a 3rd of it to the batter and mix. Then add half the buttermilk and mix. Then another 3rd of the flour, mix then the final amount of buttermilk again mix then the final 3rd of flour. Make sure everything is well mixed together.
- In another small bowl mix the vinegar and baking soda together and add this to the cake batter and mix it in by hand until fully incorporated.
- Spoon the batter into your paper cases and place them in the centre of your oven for 18-20 minutes. Bake them until they are firm to the touch. Take them out of the oven and allow them to cool in their tins for 5 minutes then transfer them to a wire wrack to fully cool down
- Beat the trex or the vegetable shortening you’re using until it is soft and fluffy. Add half the icing sugar and mix, then add the milk and the clear vanilla extract and mix until everything is well combined.
- Add the remaining icing sugar and beat until you have a light fluffy consistency. This should only take a few minutes if you are using a stand mixer or hand whisk. It will take a little longer if you are using a wooden spoon.
- If decorating that day put your frosting in a piping bag and pipe a good sized swirl on top of each cupcake.
- Line a large shallow tin with aluminium foil, making sure there are no gaps, then lightly spray it with your oil spray and set it aside.
- Mix together the water, sugar, corn syrup and the cream of tartar in a large old saucepan. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil with a candy thermometer until it reaches 150C / 300F, stirring continually. Keep the heat at a steady medium as you don’t want your mixture to brown and start to caramelise. This will take some time, mine too a little over 30 minutes to reach the correct temperature.
- Once the temperature has been reached quickly take it off the heat and carefully pour it onto your prepared tin. It should spread out if not carefully tilt your tin left and right till if looks like a sheet of glass and leave it to fully cool, minimum 90 minutes.
- Once cooled give it a tap in the middle with something hard, I used the handle of a pizza cutter and mine came out with some pretty good shards.
- Take a good shard and insert it into the centre of your cupcake and drizzle some red liquid around the area you inserted the sugar glass shard. I just used a little red gel food colouring with a drop of water to thin it down a little but fruit syrup would work well here.
- Serve and enjoy!