October Recipe of the Month

Tell-Tale Heart Cupcakes

‘But everyone loves the way the “blood” gushes out when you bite into them,’ Julian Jefferson Davis argued. Tall, trim, and sporting an immaculately coiffed and gelled head of chestnut hair, he leaned against the display cases that separated the public part of the shop from the kitchen and pleaded his case.

‘I know they do, Jules. And I truly enjoy the squeals when people bite into them, but it takes some time and effort to pipe the center of each Tell-Tale Heart cupcake with raspberry preserves. Right now I can’t afford to hire staff, so I need to use my time wisely.’ Letitia ‘Tish’ Tarragon, dressed in slim, dark-wash cropped jeans, a black short-sleeve T-shirt, and a pair of leopard-print canvas sneakers, balanced herself on the top step of her vintage red kitchen step-ladder and went about mounting the last of eight whitewashed shelves upon the sage-colored walls of her new restaurant and catering business, Cookin’ the Books Café.

‘Honey, I live right down the road. I can help you. Mary Jo is just the next town over. I’m sure she’d help too.’

‘Hmm, maybe for Halloween? That’ll give me two months to settle in.’

‘Halloween would be perfect. The whole business district shuts down and parents bring their little ones for trick or treating. You’d make a killing! Er, no pun intended.’

  • Intro, Cookin’ the Books

Great as a treat for Halloween or for Edgar Allen Poe’s January birthday, these Tell-Tale Heart cupcakes feature an oozy, gooey raspberry center hidden within a light, lusciously moist chocolate cupcake. Topped with white chocolate frosting they’re a blank canvas for your decorating ideas. I went with a macabre blood and dagger theme, but feel free to explore. These elegant cakes could easily be topped with candy hearts for Valentine’s day, or white flowers for a fun alternative to a traditional wedding cake.

The cake in this recipe is a buttermilk variation of Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake but feel free to use your favourite box mix if you’re in a pinch! Also, if you have access to fresh or frozen raspberries, you can make the filling yourself by cooking the berries with sugar and a bit of cornstarch, just don’t substitute the pie filling with raspberry jam as it doesn’t have quite the same oozing effect when biting into it. Also, whereas Tish, in the above passage, would use a pastry bag to fill the cupcakes (And please do use one if you have one as it works extremely well!) I’ve provided filling instructions for those who may not own a pastry bag or may not feel comfortable using one. Enjoy!

Yields 24 to 30 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups (210g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (75g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) oil (vegetable or canola oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180C/ Gas mark 4
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed of an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Pour batter into paper lined muffin pans and bake for ten to 12 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely on wire racks before filling.


  • Two cans raspberry pie filling

Insert a small paring knife halfway into the top of a cupcake, holding the blade so that the flat side is facing the edge of the cupcake and the blade is at a 45 degree angle. Don’t insert the knife too far into the cupcake as you do not want it to poke a hole in the bottom of the cake. Keeping the tip of the blade inside the cupcake, rotate the knife to cut a cone out of the cupcake. Pull the cone out of the cupcake and cut off the tip to create a space for the filling. Save the top of the cone to plug the filling. Repeat for all the cupcakes.

Place approximately one teaspoon of raspberry pie filling into the cakes and top filling with reserved cake ‘plugs’.


  • 6 ounces (170g) white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups (240g) confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup (60ml) heavy or double cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Break up chocolate and melt in a bowl set over a ban of boiling water, taking care not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Set aside and let cool while you beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, approx. 2 minutes. Add melted chocolate and beat another minute. Add the cream, vanilla, and salt and beat until the mixture is glossy and spreadable.

Frost the cupcakes and decorate as desired.