I found something awesome on Pinterest. And I made it. AND I NAILED IT.
As you well know, I'm not exceptionally fabulous at crafty things. I once glued myself to a pillow. Most of the "fancy" desserts I make end up looking like poop - literally. The majority of my Pinterest boards are less "things-I'm-going-to-do" and more "things-I-think-are-cool-but-have-a-near-zero-chance-of-actually-happening."
But then I found some amaaaaaazing-looking cupcakes for Halloween. And I thought, "You know what? I'll give it a shot. At least if I fail it'll make a good blog post."
I already had half of the project down. I mean, I can make cupcakes. I didn't follow the recipe, just used my own scrumptious chocolate cake recipe (which just happens to be the best chocolate cake recipe EV-AH and trust me I have tried literally dozens of chocolate cake recipes and I will kindly include my favorite at the end of this post with the disclaimer that I am not responsible for the extra ten pounds this kind of chocolate cake will add to your thighs).
The tricky part was the way the cupcakes were decorated: stabbed through with bloody-looking shards of sugar-glass candy.
I was confused about how to make the glass candy. The ingredients were simple enough - sugar, water, corn syrup, and cream of tartar - and all the recipes I found unanimously agreed on those things, though the proportions differed a little. The real problem was that every recipe called for a different technique. They made it sound really hard, like glass candy was the temperamental diva of the candy world and would totally go all Naomi Campbell on you and throw phones and stuff if you made one little misstep. Plus, I don't even own a candy thermometer which seemed to be kind of a necessity.
But I decided to give it a try anyway. Because I am nothing if not determined.
And nothing stands between me and cupcakes.
So I just gave it a try. I let the sugar concoction heat up slowly, so it didn't caramelize and get brown, and then let it bubble away until it looked pretty clear. I think it took about twenty minutes (even though some of the recipes said it took like an hour. What?! Who has that kind of patience?). Then I poured it out onto a cookie sheet and hoped for the best.
When it cooled and hardened, and I cracked it? BROKEN GLASS FTW!!! It honestly wasn't as difficult and temperamental as all the recipes made it sound. So either it isn't, or I just got extremely lucky.
Then there was the blood. I figured the best way to make edible blood was to use corn syrup. So I tinted the bejesus out of it with some food coloring (mostly red, a teeny bit of blue) until it was nice and dark.
I stabbed some "glass" randomly into each cupcake, then used an old wooden skewer that I found jammed in the back of my utensil drawer to dribble the blood along the base of each piece - but really, I think a toothpick would work just as well. And voila!
Actual photo of MY cupcakes. Not the Pinterest photo. My real cupcakes that I actually made! Squeeeee!
They looked freaking awesome. So freaking awesome, in fact, that I literally just stood there in amazement and stared at them at every angle for like five minutes. Kind of like you do with a new baby. In fact, I think I said - possibly with happy tears in my eyes - "I haven't made anything this beautiful since the kids were born."
Anyway, if I were a good blogger I'd provide some sort of detailed tutorial. But the truth is I'm not sure if I could even do it again myself, so I'd hate to steer y'all wrong. I just figured I'd give you a general idea.
But the cupcake recipe itself: now that I can tell you how to make. And it's gooooood. If you want your cupcakes to taste as unbelievable as they look, try this recipe. It has a couple of ingredients that might seem a little unorthodox, but trust me on this one. I'd never steer you wrong when it comes to chocolate cake. This recipe is a combination of everything I loved about all the best recipes I've tried.
THE ULTIMATE BEST MOST DELICIOUS AND AMAZING CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER:
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa (I use dark cocoa, but you can use whatever)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil (you can also substitute applesauce)
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup strong hot coffee
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly combine all dry ingredients. Add milk, sour cream, oil, and vanilla to the dry stuff; then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add hot coffee to the batter. Beat on high for about a minute. From here, you can either fill cupcake tins about halfway full or pour the batter into a (greased and floured) cake pan. Bake about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
For the frosting, you can use any old kind, but since I'm pretty much a frosting junkie I like to use the fancy French meringue buttercream recipe I found here - although it's a little runny for me so I toss in a bit of powdered sugar at the end to thicken it up a bit. It's kind of a pain in the ass to make, especially the first few times, but it's deeeeeee-licious.
And there you have it, ladies and gents: the actual reason my thighs are the size of Texas.
Happy cupcake making! If you try these, I'd love to hear your stories, so I know whether to attempt them again. Hehe.