a food blog by erin
wafoodie on foodgawker
Follow on Bloglovin

Bloody Glass {Red Velvet} Cupcakes

Dustin has been looking forward to sharing this post for quite awhile because he wants you to see the awesome pictures he took of these really cool cupcakes. We actually made these cupcakes for a post-Halloween party with a Dexter theme— our friend actually covered his apartment with plastic wrap and set his dining room table up to look like a kill room from Dexter. But we saved this post for the season 7 finale of Dexter, which airs tomorrow night! For Dexter's premiere party this year, Magnolia Bakery in New York was tapped to make these really cool bloody glass slide cupcakes, and of course a whole slew of copycats immediately followed. We thought they looked pretty cool too, so we made our own version for the Halloween party although they in no way compete with the Magnolia version.


Many of the recipes I saw for broken glass shard cupcakes used white or chocolate cakes, but given the whole "bloodiness" theme, I thought making red velvet cupcakes made a lot more sense. The last time I made red velvet cupcakes was before I started keeping a record of my adventures in the kitchen, so I had to start from scratch with finding a recipe. I remember really enjoying the recipe I made, so I tried remembering the key elements of it and did a ton of research on the history of red velvet and perused through dozens of recipes to create my own.


I actually learned a lot about the red velvet cake, particularly interesting is why it is red. The additions of acidic vinegar and buttermilk reveal red tinted anthocyanin pigments in the cocoa powder. In recent years, the processing of cocoa powder has changed, so the reaction isn't as great, so bakers tend to amp up the red with food coloring. It was thought that this slight natural tinting is where the cake originally got it's name. The same is thought to be true for Devil's Food cakes!


The most exciting part of these cupcakes, however, are the shards of glass on top. Using white sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar, and water, you create a sugar glass— the same recipe used for making fake break away glass in movies! It was quite a lengthy process, and unfortunately our glass had a slightly yellowish tint (a common problem home cooks seem to have when caramelizing white sugar).


It was still really awesome to make though (and fun to hammer apart!). We used this recipe (as well as resources from a ton of different websites that pull up when you search for sugar glass) as a guide to making the glass. The comments section was incredibly helpful, and we'll talk about our experience and the information we found to be most useful. You will need a candy thermometer to make the glass shards because it's very important you get the sugar to the exact right temperature.


Red Velvet Cupcakes

makes 2 1/2 dozen


  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of red food coloring
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Insert paper liners into cupcake pans. You'll have to use several pans or bake in several batches.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
  4. Add in each egg one at a time, mixing in between each addition.
  5. Add in vanilla and food coloring.
  6. Slowly add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the wet mixture followed by 1/3 of the buttermilk, and mix. Repeat alternating between the flour and buttermilk until all is incorporated.
  7. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and apple cider vinegar. The reaction between the acid (vinegar) and the alkaline (baking soda) will cause the mixture to get fizzy, and this will act as your leavening agent. Add the fizz to the other mixture, and mix until just incorporated throughout without over mixing.
  8. Evenly distribute the batter between the cupcake liners (filling about 2/3 of the way full to make the full 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes promised) and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out cleanly.
  9. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let completely cool before trying to frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2-2 cups powdered sugar
  1. Using a medium sized bowl and hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Add in the vanilla.
  3. Slowly add in the powdered sugar while mixing on low until desired texture is reached.
  4. Use a piping bag and tip to frost the cooled cupcakes.

This is just barely enough frosting to cover all of the cupcakes, so if you want lots of frosting or don't want to worry about running out, I'd recommend increasing this frosting recipe by 1.5. Also, since these cupcakes do have perishable cream cheese in the frosting, I recommend storing them in the refrigerator and not leaving them at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Sugar Glass

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Combine the water, corn syrup, sugar, and cream of tartar in a large heavy duty saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, and when the temperature gets to just over 300° (303° to be exact, but the temperature changes rapidly at this point), pour it onto a silicone-lined baking pan, forming a thin layer along the pan. Allow the sugar to harden for  at least an hour. It should feel like glass when you touch it. Break the sugar glass into shards using a meat mallet. Be careful with the shards because they can and will cut you just like real glass.
  3. Stab the glass shards into the the tops of the frosted cupcakes.

An important thing to keep in mind when making sugar glass— water boils at 212°. The temperature will reach 212° relatively quickly and then slow and stagnate (to the point where you might think you must have messed up) until all of the water has evaporated from the mixture, upon which the temperature will begin approaching 300° quickly again. This is completely normal and makes perfect sense when you think about the chemistry of it. However, no one mentioned this fact in any of the recipes we read, so we worried we did something wrong even though we didn't. Patience is definitely key here. It takes well over 30 minutes of stirring and careful watching over the sugar mixture for your glass to be ready.



  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • approximately 1/4 cup water (you may need slightly more or less to achieve desired consistency)
  • 15 drops of red food coloring
  • 3 drops of blue food coloring (or more to achieve desired color)
  1. Mix corn syrup and corn starch in a bowl, slowly adding the water until mixture thickens and resembles blood.
  2. Add in food coloring.
  3. Drizzle on the top of the glass shards and cupcakes.

We had some issues with the fake blood. First of all, it definitely needed more blue food coloring in my opinion because once we put the blood on to the cupcakes, it still looked a shade too bright to be actual blood. The blue helps darken that. Also, I thought the texture was a little too thin, so that is why I think you might need slightly less than 1/4 cup of water. We definitely added in a full 1/4 cup, and I think it got a little too watery. Perhaps there are slightly better "blood" recipes out there to be found!


This was a fairly labor intensive job that was a fun weekend project for Dustin and I to work on together. There are a lot of steps, but they can be divided up nicely over the course of a day, and are quite impressive to bring to a Dexter finale party!