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It’s almost Halloween! Halloween is seriously one of my favorite holidays. I love watching horror movies, going to haunted houses, and being scared silly at this time of year. One of my favorite parts of Halloween is making fun and scary holiday treats. I was having book club the week before Halloween so I decided to make it a Halloween book club party with all of my food going with the holiday theme. While I had several super fun treats, I’m pretty sure I’ve outdone myself with these Brain Cupcakes with Gallo Family Vineyards Red Moscato Wine Shooters. The idea came to me as I was looking through my pantry for something to make. All of my Halloween cupcake liners, cupcake picks, chocolate melts, and candy eyeballs were staring up at me from the bottom shelf and right above them was a lovely bottle of Gallo Family Vineyards Red Moscato. I’d been thinking about making brain cupcakes and when I spotted the wine I thought it would be awesome to make a wine shooter in a syringe to go along with my cupcakes. I started with a base of vanilla bean cupcakes. While I baked them up I worked on my wine shooters. I mixed the Red Moscato wine with unflavored gelatin and sucked them up into the syringes. I placed them in the refrigerator to chill while I finished up the cupcakes. Now the hardest part of these cupcakes was making the brain colored frosting. I looked at several craft stores and could not find any color that would make a good brain. I finally went with somewhat of a pink, orange, black mix and got a color that good enough. Making the brains on top of the cupcakes was much easier then I thought it would be. Once they were decorated I carefully took the wine shooters out of the refrigerator. I placed them sticking out of the brain cupcakes and they looked awesome! When my guests arrived they absolutely loved the cupcakes. While some of the ladies had their wine shooters separate from the cupcakes, others plunged the shooter into the cupcake essentially making the brain cupcake “bleed”. We had a lot of fun playing with and eating these cupcakes at book club. I ended up serving the cupcakes with a glass of Gallo Family Vineyards Merlot which everyone agreed was the perfect accompaniment for the super sweet cupcakes.
- For the cupcakes:
- 1 ¼ c. flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 Tablespoon Godiva white chocolate liqueur
- ½ c. butter (1 stick)
- ½ c. low fat milk
For the Buttercream
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 2 ½ c. powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- red, black, and orange food coloring
For the Red Moscato Wine Shooters:
- 1 (3 oz) package of lemon gelatin
- 1 (3 oz) package of lime gelatin
- 2 c. boiling water
- 1/2 c. Gallo Family Vineyards Red Moscato
- 12 syringes (without the needle)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl beat the eggs. Add in the sugar and mix for 30 seconds. Stir in the butter and mix well. Scrape the inside of the vanilla bean into the bowl and add the Godiva white chocolate liqueur. Mix until well combined.
- On low, mix half the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, then add in half the milk, then the rest of the flour, and then the rest of the milk. Mix until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake tin filling each cup 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- To make the frosting, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add powdered sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is mixed in.
- Beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined. Add the vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated. Add 2 drop of pink food coloring, 2 drops of black food coloring, and 1 drop of orange food coloring to get the color of "brain" you desire.
- Place a small mound of frosting on top of the cupcake, making a dome shape. Then place the remaining frosting in a piping bag with a small tip.
- Starting on one side, make a swiggly line around half of the outer edge of the cupcake. DO the same thing on the other side. Do another swiggly line almost to the center going to the other swiggly line. Repeat this on the other side as well.
- Next, make two lines in the middle of the cupcake separating the two halves of the brain.
- Finally, in a medium bowl mix the lemon gelatin, orange gelatin, and boiling water. Mix until the gelatin has dissolved. Add the Red Moscato and mix well.
- Using the syringe, carefully suck up the gelatin and place on a plate. Repeat with remaining syringes. Place the plate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until ready to use.
- Before serving the cupcakes stick one Red Moscato Wine Shooter syringe into each brain. Guests can decided whether they want to enjoy the shooter separately or shoot it into the cupcake to make it a "bleeding brain".
A Hezzi-D original recipe
Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.