Here is my Granny Helen’s recipe for Red Velvet Cake, but you can use any cake recipe for these. You can make these using a mini cupcake tin too!
½ cup vegetable shortening
1½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup red food coloring, plus more for the frosting
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
plenty of vanilla buttercream frosting (use your favorite recipe or buy it prepared)
red food coloring
24 Gummy Lifesavers (or any round candy with a hole in it)
24 black jellybeans
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two 12-cupcake tins with white paper liners.
2. Cream shortening and sugar together by hand or in an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and blend well. In a small bowl, make a paste of food coloring and cocoa and add to the shortening mixture. Sift flour and salt together into this mixture. Add the buttermilk and stir until incorporated, then stir in the water and the vanilla. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar with the baking soda. Fold this mixture into the cake batter, making sure it’s incorporated but being sure not to overmix it.
3. Pour the batter into the cupcake tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cakes spring back when touched. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then turn the cupcakes out of pans and onto a rack to finish cooling completely.
4. When they’re cool, cover the cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Tint your extra frosting with red food coloring. Using a pastry bag and a small round tip, pipe the red frosting on the tops of the cupcakes to resemble bloodshot veins. Place one jellybean into the hole of each round candy. Now you have irises and pupils. Place one in the center of each cupcake. Serve in pairs. Eeeek!
Originally featured in Treat Street