Friends come to me with various food questions quite regularly. This project started in much the same way. One friend wanted Dexter themed cupcakes for a friend of hers that is a huge Dexter fan. Her inspiration was from a picture of cupcakes that were made for Magnolia Bakery for the show’s premier. I gave her some names of local bakeries I knew of that did custom and theme cupcakes, but as she called around, it became obvious that no bakeries would make it. One offered to make it without the “glass,” but that just took the drama out of it.
I looked at the picture, looked around for sugar glass recipes, and concluded that I could absolutely make these cupcakes.
And so my first “paid gig” for baking began.
Since this was my first “professional” assignment, I decided it was absolutely necessary to make a test batch first. The cupcake recipient actually was not a fan of chocolate, so my red velvet idea went quickly out the window.
First, I found a Martha Stewart recipe for the sugar glass, but I long ago realized that Martha’s kitchen staff makes everything look a whole lot better than I could ever get out of my kitchen. So I went on a quest for a “normal person” recipes and once again, AllRecipes.com came to the rescue.
I combined them both (and the use of 2 different thermometers to check on the temperature) and made my attempt at sugar glass.
I was really excited when it actually worked! It was ever so slightly yellow tinged, which was disappointing, but I deemed it good enough to work.
And made a few batches of varying thickness.
And just for fun, I dyed some blue and made some Breaking Bad Blue Sky (and put it all chopped up into a baggy for the friend who made the order, knowing she is a huge Breaking Bad fan.)
It was a bit rippled when I made the thick one.
But the thinner one was very clear and shattered just like glass.
And cut like it!
(Just kidding! Sort of…) It was definitely sharp, but it made for some great gag glass with just a bit of red food coloring.
For the cupcake itself, I decided to go with a very basic cupcake that I added some spices to (ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg) and then used the Bailey’s frosting that everyone loves.
Then it came time to figure out how to fill these bad boys. I wanted them to be filled with a blood colored jam of some kind that when cut into, would look like it was oozing blood.
First I tried a cherry pie filling (without the solids) in a squirt bottle.
And while it looked a bit like it, the narrow amount just didn’t have the impact I wanted and it absorbed into the cake in a few minutes, so it didn’t really ooze all that well.
So next I tried the “cone” method where you cut a cone out of the cupcake…
… then remove the section…
… fill the hollow with the filling…
… then replace the very top of the circle to fill the hole. This proved to be a pretty good method and I declared the trial a success. (The hole also let me drop a cherry into each, which I hoped would add to the flavor a bit).
And then it came time to assemble. I used a pastry bag to pipe the frosting on, stuck the sugar glass on it, then splattered the top with red food coloring. And then… we had a Dexter cupcake.
We tried a few different “splatters.” Red food coloring, red gel icing, cherry filling, jam… But the good ol’ red food coloring was really the best.
And cutting into the inside wasn’t as oozy as I wanted, but the cherry inside was a really nice addition.
And since I had a few extras from the trial, I filled a few with jam and topped them with peanut butter instead of frosting.
Have I mentioned that I am a sucker for all things peanut butter and jelly?
So then came the day of the actual party. I had ordered some specialty accessories including blood spatter cupcake liners, bone sprinkles, and bloody cleaver toothpicks. (More on those later)
While the cone cutting was working, I decided to look through my stock of random kitchen accessories to see if I had something better. Sure enough, an old fashioned apple corer was perfect.
It pulled out a good well to add the cherry and cherry pie filling.
And left the top circle intact for replacing on the top.
All ready for frosting!
We decided to go with a spread frosting instead of a piped frosting, and then put the shards of sugar glass in them.
Then set up an elaborate blood spatter lab where we coated everything in saran warp, dropped the cap into the sink, and used pastry brushes to splatter the food coloring blood.
Then put them into the cupcake holder (which is never stable enough… why don’t they make the sides of those things just a bit higher?)
Ready for delivery!
But I figured I could get even more creative. So I took a piece of sugar glass that looked like a knife, molded a chocolate handle, inserted a birthday candle and made an edible knife/candle holder.
Then I took a “naked” cupcake, strapped it down under plastic wrap, and stabbed it with the knife. I hope Dexter fans will appreciate.
I also wanted to create some different kinda of decoration, so I decided to use the meat cleavers and bones in red topped cupcakes.
This is where I caution you… it is just about impossible to make RED frosting. I wound up with a whole lot of very pink frosting. I then proceeded to dump every red colored thing in my cabinet into this (which included just about every fruit jam in history) and yet… it was still pink. So Mike popped out to the store and got an industrial sized bottle of red food coloring and I dumped it in. I was concerned that the high concentration of red food coloring would change the flavor, but as it turns out there was so much fruit in there from all the jams that you couldn’t taste it (though no promises it wouldn’t dye your teeth red!)
The bar where they set up was dark, but I was told that they were the hit of the party.
And I’m very glad to have done such a fun project and make a Dexter fan happy.