Dexter Season Premiere Cupcakes + Giveaway

ENTER THE DEXTER GIVEAWAY! YOU COULD WIN SEASON 1 OF DEXTER ON DVD! SCROLL DOWN TO FIND OUT HOW!

It's a big week my friends. I can hardly contain my excitement over the impending season 5 premiere of my favorite show on TV, Dexter. For those of you who watch, you understand my anticipation and anxiety over how this season will pick up after the amazingness and finale shocker of season 4.

my homemade Dexter logo that I made out of cake decorating gel

In honor of Dexter and its wonderfulness, I whipped up a batch of Dexter-themed cupcakes to celebrate my favorite serial killer and his moonlighting habits. When I devised my plan for these tasty little treats, admittedly I had no idea how ultimately delicious they'd turn out. Light and sweet white cake filled with tart cherry jam and topped with the smoothest, lightest buttercream icing ever make this the perfect dessert to celebrate the premiere, and would even make a great party food should you be watching with a group! Oh, and did I mention that we also have sweet giveaway to boot for all you fans and burgeoning fans? Read more on that below.

As every fan of the show knows, Dex not only spends his nights hunting down his prey vigilante-style, but he takes a little momento from his victims - a microscope specimen slide containing a single drop of blood. And if that doesn't make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, perhaps knowing that Dex lovingly stores and hides these in a cute little box, keeping them near so he feels safe might. Anyhow, to capture the justaposition of Dexter's moonlighting habits and daytime job as a blood spatter analyst, I thought cherry filled vanilla cupcakes would be the proper tribute. Oh and a little blood spatter just to tie it all together.

GIVEAWAY
So in honor of Dexter, TAA is giving away 1 copy of Dexter Season 1 on DVD! It's gripping, brilliantly written and will make you squirm with delight and anticipation. To enter, please answer the following question in the comments:

What is your favorite TV show and why?

The giveaway will end on Thursday, 9/23 at noon and the winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday morning. We all know mine is Dexter due to the genius storylines and brilliance of Michael C. Hall.

Good luck!

So back to these amazing cupcakes. Do you want to know how to make them? Good, because I'm gonna tell you. It might seem like it's difficult, but it's just a lot of simple steps - I promise!

Dexter Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes
For the cake:
*Adapted from Softasilk box
1/2 C vegetable shortening
3 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 C cake flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 C milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
cherry jam, I used d'arbo all natural sour cherry jam

For the frosting:
*Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
5 tbsp flour
1 C sugar
1 C milk
1 C butter (2 sticks, at room temp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tube Wilton red sparkle gel (Shaun found this for me at Target - isn't he the best?)

Special equipment:
Microscope specimen plates
I got a pack of 70 for $5 at Home Science Tools online.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin tins with baking cups. Beat together the shortening and cream cheese. I did this in my stand mixer. Once combined, gradually beat in the granulated sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Next, beat in 1 egg at a time. In a separate bowl, mix together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. It is imperative to use the elusive cake flower or these cute little cakes will be deader than a Trinity victim. (Note: I used Swan's Down brand which is sold in a box, not a paper bag like most flour). Stir this into the cream cheese mixture, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Pour into muffin cups and bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. This should yield 24 cupcakes, though I overfilled mine and only got 22 along with some giant cupcake tops!

To fill the cakes:
For the filling, I went with a tart cherry jam. After all, it doesn't get more gory and bloodlike that this:

Doesn't it just scream Dexter? I know it's proper to use an icing tip dug in through the top of the cupcakes to fill them, but it just wasn't working for me. So to get 'er done, I used a little cheese spreader to cut a square out of the center of the cake.

I then used the same spreader to fill in the holes with cherry jam. You know, kind of like spackling.

Oh and you get bonus pieces of cake which Shaun, Kim and I thoroughly enjoyed before the finished product.

Yum! and you can see how I attempted the icing tip filling process, but unsuccessfully

To make the frosting:

In a saucepan, pour in the milk and whisk in the flour over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens into a roux. Stir in the vanilla and let cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cream the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the cooled roux and beat until combined. The icing will look like whipped cream and taste silky and wonderful, knocking any other buttercreams off your 'best of' list. Frost the cupcakes generously, which will cover up the hole you made for the cherry filling.

To Dexterfy them:
Place a small dollop of the red gel in between two microscope plates.

Meanwhile on a small plate, mix a bit of gel and a tiny bit of water to loosen it up and make it spatter-appropriate. With a small silicon brush, go Bob Ross on your cupcake and give it a good splatter by loading up your brush and whipping furiously at the top of the cupcake. Bonus for getting it on your white plate too! Very authentic. Unfortunately I can't take credit for this genius move as Shaun is the one who came up with the idea. Many hours of Bob Ross-watching really paid off :). Oh, and you might want to do this in the sink so as not to get red gel mixture all over your kitchen. Insert the microscope plate into the cupcake and voila! A beautiful Dexter cupcake that's not only authentic but absolutely delicious to boot!

Now that's what I call a Dark Passenger. And there you have it. A pretty delicious and delightful way to celebrate my favorite show. So what do you think? Have you ever made a dish inspired by a favorite show or movie?

And don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY to win season 1 of Dexter on DVD! Just answer me this:

What is your favorite TV show and why?

 

DISCLAIMER: Hey everyone! Thanks for commenting and entering the contest! Please, though, don't post spoilers to any of the shows mentioned, including Dexter! Not everyone has seen them, so we don't want anyone to miss out by finding out the endings! I have edited (and will remove) any comments that include spoilers. Thanks!