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The other day a call came out in one of my Facebook groups. It was a plea for home bakers to donate Halloween cookies or cupcakes. Apparently this annual public event that has been so popular in the past was having a difficult time getting support.
Now I LOVE making sugar cookies, like these Halloween Spider Web cookies I decorated, but I’m nowhere skilled enough to make more than a dozen in about 2 days. Maybe some day I can whip dozens out like nothing you’ve ever seen before. But for right now I lay down that icing like my baking spirit animal is a sloth. Heck, it even takes ages for me to color and get my royal icing to the right consistency…
But Cupcakes are a Different Story
I can easily knock out DOZENS of cupcakes in a day. After a quick search of the local craft and big box stores I couldn’t find enough cupcake toppers and whatnot to make several dozen matching baby cakes. But I remembered making Vampire’s Bite cupcakes way back in 2015 and thought that would be so easy and quick. Hurrah!
Back then I used a candy blood I bought in a vial from the grocery store and it worked well and tasted good. But in this kind of quantity it would be expensive. Putting on my thinking hat I remembered making edible blood for a haunted house I volunteered at as a teen. All you need is clear corn syrup and food coloring, baby. And so my plan to volunteer came together and I didn’t even need to make a run to the store!
This Edible Blood Recipe Works for Any Baked Goods!
When I was poking around in my refrigerator on big clean this week (the one day a week I scrub EVERYTHING in the house) I found 2 packages of cream cheese that I had purchased for some reason but never got around to using. One of my favorite things to bake and eat are cheesecakes. In fact, I have started to start a food blog (it’s slow going) and one of my first recipes over there is my Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Recipe.
And so late in the day I started the many hour baking project that is a cheesecake and decided that it, too, would be so awesome covered in edible blood. And guess what? It only reinforced my vision of many edible blood covered baked goods I might donate in years to come!
Make it ANY Flavor!
The main ingredient of this edible blood is light corn syrup which, at least to me, doesn’t have any flavor but sweet. That will work for a lot of recipes where you don’t really want to change the flavor. For my edible blood I used on the cheesecake I omitted the extract entirely. But for my plain white cupcakes with plain white frosting, I added just a dash of peppermint extract and it gave those cupcakes a pop of flavor that was so tasty!
Why THIS is the BEST Edible Blood Recipe
This edible blood is not transparent… it has that slight translucent and opaque look that real blood has. Trust me. I’ve suffered bloody noses my entire life :) There is no uncooked cornstarch in this recipe. I never like the idea of eating anything with uncooked flour or cornstarch in it. You can heat those recipes up to kill any lingering bacteria you might find in the starch but that means turning on the stove. This recipe is 100% no cook!
How to Make Edible Blood
Pour 1/4 cup of light corn syrup into a mixing bowl. If you’re not sure what this is, it’s the same thing as Clear Karo. You normally find it in the baking aisle at the grocery store but I have seen it in the breakfast/cereal aisle with pancake syrup, too.
Note – if you have something clear to mix in you’ll be able to watch the color develop and fix accordingly. I used my washable/reusable deli containers that I use for darn near everything.
Add 2 drops of burgundy food coloring and 18 drops of red red gel color. To make our blood opaque rather than completely transparent, we’re going to also add something called Whitener. Whitener is basically a white gel food coloring that is opaque. It can be used to make icing, fondant, and batter/dough whiter which is super handy for decorating cookies or cakes. Add 6 drops of the whitener to the syrup.
Note – We used burgundy to add that slight blue tint actual blood has. You can also add a tiny amount of blue. I’d suggest dabbing a toothpick in blue food coloring and then adding that to your corn syrup. Continue adding more until you get that realistic blood shade of red!
Add your extract flavoring, if using, and gently stir the syrup until the color is consistent. Pour into a 4 ounce glass jar and cover for later use, or add to your baked goods immediately.
In the directions below we cover applying this edible blood recipe to your baked goods using either a spoon or an oral medical syringe. So continue reading if you’d like to check that out!
Vampire’s Bite Cupcakes with Edible Blood
Using your favorite recipe or box mix bake and cool your cupcakes. I chose to make super white cupcakes in cheap white paper liners so you could see the blood soaked through but chocolate or red cupcakes could be lovely, too!
Wait to frost your cupcakes until just before you intend to add the edible blood. Frosting will start to dry and form a crust as it sits and will make it more difficult to add your fang marks in the next step. Looking for a good frosting recipe? I used my absolute fave grocery store icing recipe!
Creating Vampire Fang Marks
Not to beat a dead horse here, but, while the icing is still wet, create two holes side by side to form the fang bites. A straw shoved straight down, given a quick twist, and back up will make the neatest circles. Or you can use something like a skewer to rout the holes out.
Quick tip – if you want smoother buttercream or homemade icing than what I have here, sift your powdered sugar before using. If you live in a humid climate (I’m in Houston) wait until later in the day to make your icing if possible. Humidity is always worse in the morning and I made this icing at 5 a.m. because I couldn’t sleep. I was tired and it was only when I noticed my clumpy icing that I Googled up the humidity and it was a nasty 94%!
Adding Edible Blood
There are two ways to add the edible blood to the holes in your cupcakes. Using an oral syringe (like to give medicine to a child or pet) is the neatest and gives the best look, in my opinion. You can get a pair for a few dollars. Handwash in warm water and let air dry and you can use these for food crafts like this over and over again!
You can also use a spoon. This edible blood is thick and sticky and it is more difficult to cleanly place into the holes. You’ll use a little more of the edible blood and your finished cupcakes will be a bit messier.
Here you can see the difference in the finished vampire bite cupcakes. On the left I used a medicine syringe and on the right a spoon. And in case you’re wondering… I really did try to make the ones with the spoon eat but I was also snapping pictures which can make precision difficult :)
The recipe below will fill a 4 ounce mason jar and is good for adding blood to 12 cupcakes by spoon or 24 by oral syringe.
Edible Blood for Halloween Treats
- Place all ingredients into a small bowl and gently stir together with a mini silicone spatula or similar tool.
- Use immediately or transfer to a 4 ounce mason jar and screw the lid in place. Store unused edible blood at room temperature.