Halloween is a fun time for kids and parents. Spend some quality time with your young ones baking these delicious red velvet cupcakes, which are made even better with the addition of raspberry purée. Let your imagination run wild with the decorations. There are some spooky suggestions below, which children of all ages will love putting together.
Berry Spooky Cupcakes (Makes 24 cupcakes)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (6 ounces or 1 1/3 cups) Driscoll's Raspberries
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
3 Large eggs
Frosting and Decoration:
12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), at room temperature
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 packages (6 ounces or 1 1/3 cups each) Driscoll's Raspberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
Black ready-to-use decorating gel
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Press raspberries through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl. Remove 1/3 cup purée for cupcakes and reserve remaining purée for frosting. Discard seeds.
Combine 1/3 cup raspberry purée, buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
Beat sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, with mixer on low speed, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture in several additions, starting and ending with flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake 23 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack.
Frosting and Decoration
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer until blended. Add confectioners' sugar and mix on low until combined. Divide frosting in half into 2 bowls. Stir 1 tablespoon reserved raspberry purée into one bowl to create pink frosting (add additional purée for a darker color if desired).
To decorate cupcakes, frost with white and pink cream cheese frosting. Make spider web design with either raspberry reduction (see Note below) or alternate color frosting. Place raspberry reduction and/or frosting in a pastry bag to pipe spider web designs by making concentric circles on top of cupcakes. Starting from center, use a toothpick to gently drag icing to outside edge, creating spider web.
Use blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and decorating gel to create spiders or bats. To make bat wings, reserve several unfrosted cupcakes and remove cupcake top with serrated knife. Cut bat wings from top of cupcake. Gently dip edges of cupcakes in sprinkles to finish edges.
To make raspberry reduction, press raspberries through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl until you have 1/2 cup purée. Place purée, sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil, stirring constantly, until mixture is reduced by half. Transfer to a small bowl and cool completely.