Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sneak Peek at a New Food Network Show

There's a new show coming to Food Network this weekend that I'm excited to watch. It's called "Dessert First with Anne Thornton" and showcases pastry expert Anne as she makes baking easy. "Dessert First" premieres this Sunday, October 24th at 12pm ET/PT (11am CST).

As you know, I've always got cupcakes on the brain, so naturally I love Anne's twisted take on Halloween cupcakes. Below is her recipe for Red Velvet Brain Cupcakes, a dessert that manages to be gorgeous and gruesome at the same time. Watch this weekend as she walks you through it. Enjoy!

Anne Thornton's Red Velvet Brain Cupcakes


• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
• 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
• 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
• 2 teaspoons red food coloring (recommended: Select natural food coloring)

• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 4 cups powdered sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup whole milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Red and black food coloring
• Special equipment: pastry bag and large round tip


Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and fine sea salt together onto a piece of waxed paper. Mix the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, vinegar, and food coloring in a standing mixer. Using the paddle attachment, on medium speed, beat until well combined. Turn down the mixer speed and slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing until totally smooth, about 3 minutes.

Line a standard 12 cupcake tin with the liners (preferably silver). Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full with the batter and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

Frosting: In a standing mixer, on medium speed, cream the butter until smooth. Turn down the mixer speed and slowly add the powdered sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla and mix until smooth and creamy. Add a drop each of red and black food coloring and mix into the frosting to make it a pinkish gray brain color.

Fill the pastry bag half full with the frosting, and pipe out into a squiggly pile on half of each cupcake top, then pipe the frosting in a squiggly pile on the other half of the cupcake top, making 2 brain hemispheres. This recipe gives a whole new meaning to brain food.

I'm also looking forward to Anne's take on another favorite dessert after seeing her Couture Caramel Apples (above). Caramel apples are the perfect fall dessert!

*Photos Courtesy Food Network

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