Zombie Brain Cupcakes


Melanie Kibler


  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2-3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp gel paste food coloring (add more if necessary)
  • ½ cup buttermilk (or ½ cup milk 1 tsp vinegar mixed together and set aside for a bit)
  • 1 cup 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tbsp vinegar
  • For the frosting:
  • 8 oz (225g) cream cheese at room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • Red food dye to meet color preferences
  • For the blood:
  • 4 Ounces of powdered sugar
  • ¼ Ounce of red food coloring
  • ¼ Tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 2 Ounces of water
  • Blender


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C and line a 12-cup cupcake tray with paper liners.
  2. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat vigorously until pale yellow, light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the cocoa and salt, and mix well. The batter may resemble chocolate cake batter especially if you are using dark cocoa, but fear not because the food coloring will transform the batter into a deep shade of red.
  5. Stir in the food coloring, adding in more if you need to, until you get your desired shade of red.
  6. Now, pour in the buttermilk, alternating with the flour in three intervals, starting with the buttermilk and ending with the flour. Mix just until combined, as over mixing after the flour is added will result in a tough, dry cupcake.
  7. Finally, stir in the baking soda, making sure that it melts into the batter.
  8. Stir in the vinegar and watch the batter aerate slightly.
  9. Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners, about ⅔- 3/4 of the way full. You should end up with exactly 12 cupcakes.
  10. Bake for 20-25 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and cool completely before frosting.
  11. To make the frosting:
  12. Blend the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth.
  13. Add the confectioner’s sugar gradually until you get soft peaks- at that stage, STOP!
  14. Squeeze in the lemon juice.
  15. Add the red food coloring and mix it in until the frosting is a pink color
  16. To make the blood:
  17. Add 8 ounces of water to the blender
  18. Add 16 ounces of powdered sugar to the blender.  Then blend it up. (You may need to turn the blender on and off to make sure it blends well.)
  19. Add 1 ounce of red food coloring and 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder.  Blend together well.
  20. Pour the mixture into a piping/ziplock bag, snip off the end and pipe a line down the middle of the cupcakes.  On either side on the line pipe squiggles to make the cupcake look like a brain.
  21. Dribble the fake blood on the top until you have the preferred blood amount.
  22. You should use the rest of the blood to scare your family.