These decorated brain cupcakes are so easy when you use pre-baked cupcakes and frosting. Use your favorite cupcake recipe and some premade icing and these are ready in under 30 minutes. Having a party or a potluck? The recipe can be doubled or tripled. The tutorial below is easy to follow and a fun project for kids.
These zombie brain cupcakes are a great Halloween dessert to add to your spooky holiday table!
🧾 Main Ingredients Notes
- Cupcakes: Use your favorite recipe or purchase already prepared. I’ve included a simple chocolate cupcake recipe below.
- Vanilla Buttercream Frosting: You can make your own, or purchase premade frosting. It’s simple to make your own vanilla buttercream, the recipe below. Another option is to use softened cream cheese frosting mixed with just a bit of powdered sugar and vanilla paste.
- Red Gel Color: For a clean line, use the red food coloring gel color right out of the tube. For something a little messier, mix the color with corn syrup. *If you don’t want o use food coloring you can get a great effect using a raspberry jam, it won’t have a clean line but will have a messier look!
- Creepy Crawly decorations optional
See the recipe card for ingredient quantities.
Vanilla Buttercream from Scratch
It’s really easy and only takes a few minutes. You can also make the buttercream a couple of days before you decorate the cupcakes.
½ cup unsalted butter soft and at room temperature
1 ½ cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch fine table salt (omit salt if using salted butter)
- Add the butter to a medium bowl and use a hand mixer on medium speed to beat the butter until smooth and creamy, This only takes a couple of minutes or less.
- Add in sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt and mix at low speed until the ingredients are mixed.
- Next, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until smooth and fluffy, this usually takes 2-3 minutes when making a small batch. If the buttercream is too thick, add a little more cream, if it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.
- The buttercream is ready to use immediately. If making ahead of time, place the buttercream in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate for up to 1 week. When ready to use bring the frosting back to room temperature,
🧁Brain Cupcake Decorating Instructions
(Note: please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the complete written instructions.)
Start with 6 prebaked chocolate cupcakes. Assemble the piping bag, and attach the coupler and tip. No piping bag? You can also use a Ziploc bag fitted with a coupler and round tip.
Add the vanilla buttercream into the piping bag and press out two lines of icing across the middle of the cupcake. Make sure you lift the piping bag over the cupcakes and allow the icing to fall (this helps keep the shape)
Next, make a tight zigzag line on both sides of the two straight lines.
Make another zigzag line on the edges.
For a cleaner final presentation use a bottle of red gel sparkle food coloring
Pipe the red along the ridges of the buttercream.
For the more gruesome appearance mix 1 tbsp corn syrup with 1-2 drops of the red gel food coloring.
Shop for the Tools
Small Mixing Bowl: If you use corn syrup for the runny effect, you need a small bowl to mix it in.
Decorating Tools: Piping Bag, Piping Tips 5 or 14, Piping Coupler. You can also purchase a decorating kit but make sure it has the tips you want to use.
Red Gel Food Coloring: One tube should be enough for 6 cupcakes. You can purchase gel food coloring on Amazon or at Target
Halloween Brain Cupcakes
- 6 prebaked chocolate cupcakes
- 3/4 cup of vanilla buttercream frosting
- 1 tube red gel food coloring tube
- Start with 6 cooled prebaked chocolate cupcakes. Add the piping tips to the piping bag, you will also need a coupler to attach to the bag,
- Add the vanilla buttercream into the piping bag.
- Make two lines of icing across the middle of the cupcake.
- Make sure you lift the piping bag over the cupcakes and allow the icing to fall (this helps keep the shape).
- Make a tight zigzag line on both sides of the two straight lines.
- For a cleaner final presentation use a tube of red gel food coloring.
For the more gruesome appearance mix 1 tbsp corn syrup with 1-2 drops of red gel food coloring.
- Pipe the red along the ridges of the buttercream.