Deadly Desserts

Bloody Cutcakes

1 Dunkin Hines Vanilla Cake Mix

3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 1/4 cup whole milk

3 eggs

1 box raspberry Jello

Blue food coloring

Red food coloring

8oz Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp unsalted butter

Black food coloring


Preheat oven to 350º and line 2 cupcake pans with liners. Set aside.


In a glass measuring cup, melt butter in the microwave. Add enough vegetable oil to measure to the 1/3 cup mark, and stir to combine. Prepare cake mix as directed on box using milk (instead of water) and the melted butter/vegetable oil mixture (instead of only the vegetable oil called for on the box). Add the 3 eggs one at a time and beat until well incorporated and fluffy (do not overbeat). Pour into cupcake liners, and bake as directed. Let cool completely.


Prepare raspberry jello as directed on the box. Add one very tiny drop of blue food coloring (insert the tip of a toothpick to pick up coloring) and 2 drops of red food coloring, then whisk to distribute. Let cool slightly. 


With a fork poke a few deep holes on the top of cupcakes. Pour a teaspoon or so of jello into the holes – too much will oversaturate the cake and too little will not create the intended effect. (If you own one of those marinade injectors, now would be a good time to use it!)


Place chocolate and butter in a thoroughly dry glass bowl and microwave 1 minute. Stir, and if not fully melted, microwave for another 30-60 seconds more until melted. Do not overheat or you will scorch the chocolate. Add the cream all at once. Whisk until chocolate is a silky sauce (if the chocolate separates, keep whisking until it comes back together). Add one drop of black food coloring and whisk until distributed. Pour over to the top of cupcakes while still warm and with the back of a spoon coax drips to form along the sides. Serve immediately, and make sure to refrigerate any leftovers. 

Witch Finger Cookies

1 cup whole almonds (plus 36 extra almonds for the “nails”)

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350º. Using a food processor, pulse 1 cup of almonds until very finely ground; set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.


Fill a small bowl with ice and water; set aside. In a small saucepan, heat about a cup of water until boiling. Add the reserved 36 whole almonds and boil about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, carefully scoop out the almonds and drop into the ice water. Wait about a minute and drain. The blanched almonds should pop right out of the skin. Set “nails” aside to dry on paper towels.


In the bowl of a mixer, cream butter and powdered sugar until well incorporated. Add salt, cinnamon, vanilla and almond extracts. Add flour and ground nuts a little at a time until well combined. Do not over work the dough. (See note below.)


Scoop about an inch ball of dough and press into a finger shape. (It will be very crumbly so rolling it will not work here.) Form two bumps for knuckles and insert an almond into the tip. Place on cookie sheet about 1-inch part. Lightly score knuckles with the back of knife to resemble creases. Refrigerate the fingers for at least 20 minutes before baking (this will help the dough from spreading too much).


Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool completely. After baking, you can secure the nails with a little simple icing (powdered sugar mixed with a few drops of water) if necessary, and dust with a little powdered sugar. For an extra ghastly touch, dip the ends into icing tinted with red food coloring.


Note: For the recipe to succeed (and not spread while baking) the dough must be very dry, crumbly and just hold together when pressed. It will resemble slightly damp sand. Several variables will affect how much flour you will use including the humidity in the air, and fresher almonds have more oils that will be released when ground. Start with 2 1/2 cups of flour and add up to 1/2 cup more if needed (usually the variable is only about 1/4 cup flour).

Caramel Apple Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted 

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 

3/4 teaspoon salt 

2 cups packed light-brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs 

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled & diced

1 cup caramel sauce (see below)

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray bundt cake pan with Pam Baking Spray; set aside. 


In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Whisk well to combine evenly and set aside. 


In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs until well combined; fold in diced apples. (Do this by hand – using a mixer will crush the apples and release too much liquid into the batter.) Add flour mixture; mix just until combined (do not overwork the batter). Spoon thick batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. 


Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pan 20 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack; let cool completely. Place cake on a serving plate and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce

Freshly prepared caramel sauce is really quite a treat. While relatively easy to make, there is a very precise technique to follow as well as some safety precautions. Hot caramel is very, very hot and can instantly burn you. Use care when making it, wear oven mitts, stay focused and do not walk away, use a deep pan, and keep a bowl of ice water near in case there is any contact.

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water 

1/2 cup whipping cream, warmed 

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp butter

In a deep saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook over medium-high, stirring, until sugar has dissolved (no graininess). Continue to cook, without stirring (you can gently swirl the pan to even out the cooking). The sugar will liquefy and turn a light shade of amber. As it continues to cook, the color will very quickly deepen into golden brown (about 10 minutes total). Immediately remove from heat, stand back, and add the warmed cream a little at a time. The syrup will react violently, splatter and steam (using an oven mitt and a deep pan is essential). Return to heat stirring until smooth for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add the vanilla and butter and stir until smooth. (Don't be tempted to taste it yet - this mixture is still blazing hot). Let cool thoroughly before serving.

Chocolate Slime Cake

1 1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, plus one yolk

Preheat oven to 375º. Spray two 8-inch cake pans with Pam with flour.


In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. In a small bowl, stir the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together. 


Beat the butter and sugars together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and yolk, one at a time. Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately beat in the flour and buttermilk mixtures in thirds.


Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a tester, inserted in the center, comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool layers completely before icing.


Orange Frosting

6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups (+ 3/4 cup) powdered sugar 
2 1/4 teaspoon cocoa
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp orange food coloring
1 1/2 cups heavy cream 


Beat softened cream cheese using a mixer set on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on low speed until well combined. 


In a separate bowl, beat heavy cream with 3/4 cup confectioners sugar and orange food coloring on medium high to soft peaks. Gently fold in the whipped cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture. Spread the frosting between layers, sides and top. Chill 30 minutes.


Chocolate Ganache

4oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream


Place chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in a heat-proof bowl. Bring heavy cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate, and let sit for 3 minutes. Gently whisk until smooth. Let sit for 3-5 minutes until glaze thickens slightly. Pour the glaze onto the center of the frosted cake and sooth out to the edges to allow the glaze to drip over the sides.


There's a slight trick in these treats. They look like little pumpkins but are maple flavored! I've used a standard recipe for years but prefer this base recipe from

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter (room temp)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup maple syrup
12 preztel sticks
black icing pen

Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with orange paper liners.


In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.


In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Stir in buttermilk and maple syrup. Gradually blend in the flour mixture, stirring only until batter is just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.


Divide evenly into prepared muffin tin.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Turn cupcakes out on to a wire rack to cool before frosting. 


Spread frosting onto cupcake in a slight mound. Insert a pretzel stick for the base. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes until frosting is set.


Draw three triangles for the eyes and nose using a black icing pen. Makes 12 cupcakes. 


Maple Frosting

1 stick cream cheese (room temperature)
4 tbsp unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 tbsp maple syrup (room temperature)
2 tbsp heavy cream, room temperature
Pinch of salt 
2-3 cups powdered sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter and whip until well combined. Add maple syrup, heavy cream and pinch of salt. Beat until well combined. Lower speed and add confectioners sugar a little at a time until you reach a good spreading consistency.

Pumpkin Tres Leches Cake

Tres leches ("three milks" in Spanish) cake is a cherished Mexican dessert and this recipe, adds the flavors of Autumn to a moist, bread pudding-style dessert!

1 cup vegetable oil 

3 eggs 

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree 

1 tsp vanilla extract 

2 1⁄2 cups sugar 

2 1⁄2 cups flour 

1 tsp baking soda 

1 tsp ground nutmeg 

1 tsp ground allspice 

1 tsp ground cinnamon 

1 tsp ground cloves 

1⁄4 tsp salt

Milk Mixture:

1 can Carnation evaporated milk

1 can Carnation sweetened condensed milk

1 cup whole milk

Vanilla Whipping Cream:

1 container whipping cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a 9x13-inch rectangular cake pan with non-stick baking spray; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine oil, eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla on medium until well incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking soda, salt & spices together. 

With the machine on low, slowly add dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and mix until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350º for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and the whole milk in a small bowl. Whisk until the sweetened condensed milk has dissolved. With a fork, evenly prick the top of the cake 1/2-inch intervals. Pour the milk mixture over the warm cake, a little at a time until all the milk is absorbed. Let cool completely, cover tightly with foil and refrigerate overnight. 


Before serving, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a cold stainless steel bowl until light and fluffy. Spread over the cold cake and serve.