“I made these cupcakes a lot when my kids were younger," says the star of A&E’s 'Buddy Valastro’s Cake Dynasty'
Buddy Valastro loves to bake alongside his family, especially for Halloween.
"When the kids were younger, they’d all dress up in their Halloween costumes and visit me in the bakery," says the parent to Sofia, 20, Buddy, 19, Marco, 16, and Carlo, 12, with wife Lisa. " We’d sit and decorate some cupcakes or cookies together with them being little bakers in a princess or a cowboy costume."
Valastro's cute and gory cupcakes are nostalgic for his crew, who will star alongside on his new A&E series, Buddy Valastro’s Cake Dynasty. "I made these cupcakes a lot when my kids were younger," he says, "and they’ve continued to be a family favorite."
The baker suggests focusing entirely on the decorations if you don't have time to make homemade cupcakes. "I know that some years you just have more time than others so you can bake them from scratch, use box cupcakes or buy them made from the bakery," says Valastro. "No one has fun when they’re stressed!"
“I want people to have as much fun as I do when decorating sweets," he adds. "I mean, what other time of year can you decorate with strawberry jam to make blood or pipe icing brains?”
Buddy Valastro's ‘Dracula’ Jam-Filled Cupcakes
2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups (6½ oz.) powdered sugar, sifted
24 vanilla cupcakes
1 cup strawberry or raspberry jam
Red, white and black decorating icing pouches
1. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat together cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy, 30 seconds to 1 minute. With mixer still running, add vanilla; beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually add powdered sugar, and beat on low speed until smooth and combined, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl as needed.
2. Using a paring knife, cut out a hole in the center of each cupcake about 1-inch wide and ½- to 1-inch deep. Fill a piping bag (or resealable plastic bag) with jam; cut a ½-inch hole at tip of bag. Fill center hole of each cupcake with jam.
3. Spoon cream cheese frosting into a separate piping bag or resealable plastic bag; cut a ½- to 1-inch hole at tip of bag. Pipe frosting evenly on top of each cupcake and place upside down onto prepared baking sheet (this will create a smooth surface). Place baking sheet in freezer for at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes, until cupcake can be lifted easily from parchment and iced surface is flat.
4. Remove baking sheet from freezer, and flip cupcakes right side up; use an offset spatula to smooth the surface of frosting. Starting at the top half of each cupcake, use black decorating frosting to pipe an upside down triangle in the center for Dracula’s widow’s peak, piping about ⅓ of the way down the length of the “face.” Fill in the rest of the hair across top with black decorating frosting. Below the hairline, pipe 2 circles for eyes and 2 lines for eyebrows. Pipe a half-moon shape for the mouth, filling it in with black frosting.
5. Using white decorating frosting, pipe 2 small dots on the eyes for the pupils and 2 small fangs inside the mouth. Pipe 2 to 3 drops of red icing around the mouth as desired to resemble vampire blood. Let sit at room temperature until set.
Active time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
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