The Halloween Cookie Challenge cohost’s brain cupcakes make the perfect creepy treat for any spooky season celebration. “While I wouldn’t recommend eating actual brains, I certainly won’t try to stop you from eating these raspberry-flavored cupcakes,” Pansino, 38, exclusively shares in the latest issue of Us Weekly.
Despite their gory appearance, the cupcakes couldn’t taste any sweeter as they are made with raspberries and topped with fruit-flavored fake blood. “You won’t regret whipping them up,” Pansino adds.
Pansino launched her successful YouTube channel in 2010 and has become one of the platform’s biggest stars with 14.5 million subscribers. In addition to her popular baking series Nerdy Nummies — in which she bakes pop culture-inspired treats — she also teaches viewers baking basics, from perfecting frosting to making homemade fondant and more.
Outside of the kitchen, Pansino has appeared as a host and judge on multiple competition shows including Baketopia, Craftopia and Charli Vs. Dixie. Not to mention, she also launched her own baking line and released two cookbooks.
Most recently, she returned as the cohost of Food Network’s Halloween Cookie Challenge alongside chef Duff Goldman.
“Season 2 is finally here! I couldn’t be more excited to announce that an all-new season of my Food Network show ‘Halloween Cookie Challenge’ is coming out September 25th at 10 pm / 9 pm Central on @foodnetwork and @streamonmax!” she wrote alongside the show’s season 2 trailer via Instagram on September 18. “New episodes Every Monday!! 🍪👻🎃🦇.”
Noting that she “absolutely loved hosting this season with the amazing and talented @duffgoldman,” she added, “You won’t believe how creative this years [sic] bakers are!”
The Halloween cooking competition sees groups of four bakers go head-to-head to make the most extravagant, delicious and scary cookie creations in hopes of winning a $10,000 prize.
Along with eating ghoulish desserts, she and Goldman, 48, have gotten into the Halloween spirit by sporting fun and festive outfits in each episode. She followed up a mummy-inspired ensemble for the season premiere by sporting a bright orange dress, a gothic red and black gown and an all-black outfit based on Wednesday Addams’ iconic look, among others.
For her latest look on the competition series, Pansino channeled Gale Weathers’ (Courteney Cox) memorable neon green power suit from 1996’s Scream with a suit mini dress, bedazzled tights and black Mary Jane heels.
Keep scrolling to check Pansino’s full brain cupcake recipe:
The season 2 finale of Halloween Cookie Challenge airs on Food Network Monday, October 30, at 10 p.m.
For Raspberry Cake
- 1 ¾ cups unsweetened frozen raspberries
- ¼ cup whole milk
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cake flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 12 tbsp (1 ½ sticks) un-salted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Red food coloring
For Raspberry Blood Topping
- ½ cup seedless raspberry jam
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp water
- Red food coloring
- 1 batch Swiss buttercream frosting
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 cups of a muffin tin with liners.
2. Make the raspberry cake: In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the raspberries until thawed, 60 to 90 seconds. In a blinder, puree the raspberries until smooth.
3. Strain the raspberry puree into a small bowl to remove the seeds. Whisk in the milk.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
5. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
6. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
7. Beat in the vanilla and 2 drops of red food coloring.
8. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the raspberry mixture to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Fill each liner two-thirds full with batter and bake until a wooden pic inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 15 to 17 minutes.
10. Transfer to a wire rack to cool
1. Make the raspberry blood topping: In a small saucepan, whisk together the jam, lemon juice and water and bring to a boil over medium heat.
2. Remove from the heat and whisk in red food coloring. Let cool completely before use.
3. Scoop half the Swiss buttercream frosting into a decorating bag fitted with a #1A tip and pipe small mound of frosting on top of each cupcake.
4. Scoop the remaining frosting into a decorating bag fitted with a #10 tip and pipe a brain design on each mound.
5. Drizzle with the raspberry blood.