Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ghoulishly Glowing Cupcakes

Hey Everyone!! I'm just gonna start out by saying, I am so stinking excited about this recipe! A couple of weeks ago I had a follower e-mail me about a frosting recipe that would glow in the dark. Or I should say almost glow in the dark.

Specifically she needed a cupcake recipe that could glow under a black light, but the trouble was that I couldn't find one on the internet to try, so I decided to try my hand at making one. After a couple of tries I am glad to report that I have figured it out!! Yay! And the secret ingredient that causes it to glow is...

Tonic Water!  Cool, right? The quinine in the tonic water causes it to glow under a black light for some reason. So, the challenge was to get enough if this into a frosting without making it too bitter or runny. Ugh! Turns out this was a little harder then I thought, but after trial and error I got a frosting that I loved that would actually glow, until I started adding color to it, and no matter what I did I just couldn't get the stupid frosting to glow after I added food coloring.

Then it dawned on me that if you make gelatin with tonic water the jello will glow. What I ended up doing is taking my cupcake and frosting it. Then I stuck it in the freezer to let the frosting get nice and hard. After cooling I took the cupcake and dipped the frosting into liquid gelatin.

After a few dips and trips back into the freezer to set, the frosting glowed!! Before you start just know that the white frosting glows the best. The green, or if you decide to do orange, will glow it just isn't as bright. Also a quick note, the darker you go with your color on the frosting the less it glows. And lastly, if you decide to make the colored frosting with the gelatin, discard any left over gelatin that you do not use for the frosting. If you want to make glow in the dark jello then use less tonic water or else it will come out way too bitter {like a 3 to 1 ratio, 3 parts water to 1 part tonic water}. Hope you all have as much fun with glowing cupcakes as me and my family have. Enjoy!!

Ghoulishly Glowing Cupcakes
  • 1 black light
  • 24 prepared and cooled cupcakes
White Glow In The Dark Frosting
  • 7 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons tonic water {diet tonic water works too}
  • mini chocolate chips morsels
Extras Needed for Green Glowing Frosting
  • Neon Food Color
  • 0.3 ounce package of either Lime or Orange Gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup chilled tonic water

Prepare desired cupcakes and allow to cool. Begin frosting by adding confectioners' sugar, shortening, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons tonic water into a large bowl. Beat on low speed until no loss sugar is visible. Add remaining two tablespoons as needed to bring frosting to piping consistency. Mix at high speed for about a minute to allow frosting to become light and fluffy. Place half of white frosting into a separate bowl and set aside. Add neon food coloring to frosting until it reaches desired color {orange for orange gelatin, green for lime gelatin}.

Pipe colored frosting onto cooled cupcakes and place in the freezer for at least an hour. Meanwhile pipe white frosting on half of the cupcakes using a large round frosting tip. Add two mini chocolate chip morsels for the ghost's eyes to finish ghost cupcakes.

After lettering colored cupcakes freeze, prepare the gelatin by adding gelatin mix to 1 cup boiling water. Stir for about 2 minutes then add 1 cup chilled tonic water. Transfer to a container that will let you easily dip frosting into and place into an ice bath to cool. Keep gelatin in ice bath stirring occasionally until gelatin is cool but not yet set {about 5 to 10 minutes}.

When gelatin is cool to the touch take cupcakes out of the freezer a couple at a time. Dip into gelatin upside down, submerging the frosting but not the cake {it is ok for the gelatin to drip onto cupcake, just don't submerge it completely}. Rotate cupcakes dipping and then returning to the freezer for about a minutes to set gelatin, then re-dip. Dip 4 to 6 times for best results.

Refrigerate until a couple minutes before serving to keep gelatin set. Then place cupcakes under a black light and watch then glow.

{Make enough frosting for about 24 cupcakes}
A Food Snots Original


miller family said... Best Blogger Tips

This is the coolest recipe! I love the idea of glow in the dark cupcakes.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

totally bookmarked! I cannot wait to make this for a halloween party! Thank you so much for taking the time to figure this out for all of us! They are perfect!!!!

Kat said... Best Blogger Tips

So awesome!

Lisa said... Best Blogger Tips

THANK YOU for taking the time to make this! The cupcakes look fantastic! I can't wait to try it.

Christina @ Still Lucky said... Best Blogger Tips

These are SO awesome!! Thanks for sharing this, I can't wait for Halloween!

Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie said... Best Blogger Tips

These are spectacular!! I wish they glowed int eh darkw ithout a black light but I am still very impressed. Bravo!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank U for posting this! I've been searching and searching and searching for a glow in the dark frosting for my daughter sweet 16 black light party. I will be trying this recipe this weekend..TY!!

Bridget Miller said... Best Blogger Tips

Camber, we featured you today on our blog. Thanks for this recipe. You are awesome!~Bridget

FoodSnots said... Best Blogger Tips

@Bridget Miller Saw the post!! You guys are awesome! This totally made my day. Thanks for including me!!

whitney said... Best Blogger Tips

Awesome!! I cant believe you figured this out! Thank you so much. My daughters glow in the dark party will now be brought to the next level! Thanks!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

i too love this but i have a question can u use this for just regular frosting for birthday cakes?? im making my son a guitar cake n i would like to do glow in the dark frosting!!

FoodSnots said... Best Blogger Tips

@Anonymous You could try it. I'm not quite sure how you would get the gelatin to stick to a whole cake, and I'm not sure how it would work with dark frosting either. I know the darker you go, the less bright the frosting will glow. So it just depends on how dark you were going.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

wouldnt the cupcakes still be frozen when you eat them or do you wait for them to defrost?

FoodSnots said... Best Blogger Tips

No. Cupcakes actually defrost surprisingly fast. So what I should have said was to take the cupcakes out of the fridge about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. The might still be a little cool, but should be de-thawed by then.

Tortayfiesta said... Best Blogger Tips

I love this! thanks to share it!

Sparks said... Best Blogger Tips

You are AWESOME! My 7yr old is having a backyard glow stick birthday party. This will put her party over the top!!!!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I don't know what I did wrong but my cupcakes did not glow. I even added a little extra Tonic Water.... I did not add any color. But thanks for the post! It still was delicious!

mommy moves fitness said... Best Blogger Tips

Making these for my sons glow in the dark mini golf party! I better test out first!! Do you think I need to freeze them if I am just going to go white??

FoodSnots said... Best Blogger Tips

No, if you're just making the white frosting you don't need to freeze them. The only reason for that is so the gelatin would stick onto the frosting, but just skip that step.

mommy moves fitness said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks!!! Fingers crossed they work and I don't screw it up!

Aubrey said... Best Blogger Tips

Would this work for cake pops? In the directions, you state to dip the frosting, but not to submerge the cake. With cake pops, I would think I would have to submerge....If you can, please let me know as I'm getting ready to start baking! Thank you!

FoodSnots said... Best Blogger Tips

You know, I'm not actually sure. I'm not sure how the chocolate would react with the Jello. You could definitely try it out on a couple and see if it works. Let me know if you try it what the outcome is!!

MightyMorgan said... Best Blogger Tips

This is hands down the COOLEST thing I have ever seen.... I love this idea. Can't wait to try it out with something!!!

Spongedrop said... Best Blogger Tips

These are ridiculously cool! I wish it was closer to Halloween. I'm stashing this recipe for use in October. Nice work on the inventing!

nufdoog*kids said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm trying this for summer - and will do it again for Halloween!!!
someone asked about doing a cake - Wondering if you could put the jello in a spray bottle to coat the frosting??? might be too thick, but who knows??

Lisa Montalva said... Best Blogger Tips

I just came across you on Pinterst as I was looking for cupcakes to re-pin and to contact for recipe submittal's for my recipe site. These cupcakes are amazing. What a fun and beautiful website. I will spread the word for you. Lisa Montalva/aka The Gourmet Mom

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

The reason tonic water glows under blacklight is because it contains quinine.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

white clothing glows under a black light. So, shouldn't everything white glow under a black light?

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Sounds like the coolest idea and can't wait to try but I'm wondering after freezing the cupcakes and completing all steps do the cupcakes taste just as great?

LorynLoves said... Best Blogger Tips

What a brilliant idea!! Will keep it in mind for next halloween. I've shared it on Pinterest too. Well done xx

gr8chefmb said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for sharing this is seriously cool!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Neat! Used something like this for a neon party I hosted, but it did not work as well. We just used white icing, as it glowed under the black lights without any need for tonic water or gelatin.

FoodSnots said... Best Blogger Tips

Freezing wont change the flavor at all. Actually freezing cupcakes keeps them fresh for longer.

Centers and Circle Time said... Best Blogger Tips

Ha Ha! This is great!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Do you think it will still work in slightly off-white cream cheese frosting?

Annette said... Best Blogger Tips

I would like to try making this frosting with butter instead of vegetable shortening. Flavor is as important as the cool colors! Thanks for this great idea.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Has anyone tried red frosting? For July 4th, Valentines and Christmas?

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

What if you added the tonic water gelatin to the frosting mix, instead of dipping the frosting in the gelatin/tonic water. Substitute the 5 T. of tonic water in the frosting with 5 T. tonic water gelatin. You might have to add a little more, but you'll be able to get some color AND the glow effect. Give it a try!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Is the black light necessary for them to glow? Or can they glow without it?

Rhett and Tiffanie Jackson said... Best Blogger Tips

so,I totally want to do this for the 4th of July...any idea's :) how freaking COOL!!!! Can't wait to PLAY!!!!Thanks!!!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Pretty sure you have to have the black light. That is what makes the reaction or glowing effect.

Boy with a bread said... Best Blogger Tips

Very awesome! Such clever and creative idea. It's hard to eat those cupcakes when it's glowing, believe me!

Misbah said... Best Blogger Tips

what a brilliant idea.

FoodSnots said... Best Blogger Tips

I've been thinking about your question, and you can try doing red, but you'll get the bet results with brighter colors. Like if you look in the pictures, the green is already kind of florescent, so it wasn't too much of a stretch making it glow. But to do a really dark rich color red or blue, might be kind of a stretch getting it to glow. I know this isn't much help :/

FoodSnots said... Best Blogger Tips

Yes. If you don't have the black light they wont glow. I couldn't find something that would glow in the dark and still be edible :) But yes, you need the black light, and it needs to be somewhat close to the cupcakes for them to glow.

FoodSnots said... Best Blogger Tips

You can try doing red, but you'll get the bet results with brighter colors. Like if you look in the pictures, the green is already kind of florescent, so it wasn't too much of a stretch making it glow. But to do a really dark rich color red or blue, might be kind of a stretch getting it to glow. I know this isn't much help :/

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

tried this... could not get it to work with red. It did work with green though. A lil bit time consuming and messy... but overall worked well!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

make sure you leave them IN THE FREEEZER until u r READY TO SERVE THEM. in a matter of minutes the jello covering will become liquid again. But they were a great hit.

ekenig said... Best Blogger Tips

did you try using quinine powder?

FoodSnots said... Best Blogger Tips

No. I read online that to much quinine could be toxic. So I didn't even want to mess with it.

FoodSnots said... Best Blogger Tips

That really shouldn't happen if you follow the Jello directions. It should set up just like jello would after freezing.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Wouldn't white or neon colored frosting glow under black light, without the tonic water, anyways? Its been my experience that anything white or fluorescent will glow when put under black light.

Erika said... Best Blogger Tips

White clothes, paper, and our teeth all have chemicals that make them glow. The frosting doesn't without the quinine. Read this for more details:

Erin said... Best Blogger Tips

How cool is this!?!? We tried to make glow in the dark jello but it didn't really glow. We'll have to try these out.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I was watching cake challenge a few years ago and the gal from cake girls,had come up with a glow in the dark edible liquid also I wonder if this was it.

Elizabeth said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but my white frosting isn't glowing under a black light. Any ideas? Maybe I need more than one black light bulb?

FoodSnots said... Best Blogger Tips

It should glow with no problems as long as the black light is somewhat close to the frosting. When I took the pictures the black light was within a foot of the frosting. That will give you the best results.

June said... Best Blogger Tips

Very very very cool idea :)

Heidi said... Best Blogger Tips

Yeah, I learned about this at Uni. Quinine phosphorescences which means, I think (from memory) it takes the UV light and shifts it into the visible spectrum making it appear to glow in the dark (well under UV lights anyway). After learning this at Uni, I was then far more likely to order a G&T in a nightclub! It is so cool!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

well I know this answer may be a bit late, but you might try frosting your cake with fondant and then brushing the mix on with a pastry brush, who knows?

Lisa @ Around This Table said... Best Blogger Tips

This is quite possibly the coolest thing I've ever seen! Awesome!!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi, I had a glow in the dark/blacklight party for my son so I've researched a bit on what glows in the dark, and what glows under black light. No offense but I really think you need to say, that it glows under blacklight, instead of the misleading , "glow in the dark"!!! I had four blacklights, and we had a terrific time. Yes white things for the most glows under black light, as do most florescent things, but it also depends on the material that is used!!! We had neon footballs, andwhite ping pong balls, that didn't work either! Just wanted to readers to not get too mislead, but hope you all have a gr8 time at your parties, and hope they all work!!! We ended up getting blacklight pingpong balls, and glow in the dark paint for shirts... ps we also got neon poster board from the dollar store, and they glow like heck under the blacklight.. ps, we had a tron themed party, the kids absolutely loved it!!! tron music, tron video games, and blacklight games... neon hoops that you throw on big water bottle filled with flourescent ink from neon hightlighter! works very well for either bowling, or base to throw rings on!!! just one real important thing. Ink in hightlighters are toxic!!! do not swallow or ingest!! also, blacklights get very hot, very quickly!! so please be careful, and enjoy!!!

love 123456789 said... Best Blogger Tips

totally for my little brothers bithday party on october the 27 he will love it and he will love his halloween party

Marty Frye said... Best Blogger Tips

First of all I want to thank you for having the recipe on here like it was supposed to be. So many of the pins when you click on them take you to some far off outlandish place not even close to the recipe that has anything to do w/ the pic you pinned. So thanks for having the right recipe w/ the right pic. Second, you may have said & I just missed it, but how long does this keep glowing? How far ahead of time can you make them?? Thanks, Marty

Christin said... Best Blogger Tips

Where did you get the adorable spiderweb and candy corn baking cups?!

Number9 said... Best Blogger Tips

As to where to get the baking cups, if you go now to Target there should be a nice selection already on the shelves. But, for that matter, in the next few weeks you could find them in the Halloween sections of any store remotely connected with cooking or crafting or seasonal fare... Wal-Mart, Joann (Fabrics), Michael's, Party City, Albertsons, etc. Just keep your eyes open. They may not be the exact same ones but there's always cute ones, and they usually have some left over after Halloween you can get cheap, especially the mini-muffin size. Our mini-cupcakes come in Halloween papers year round! Don't forget some matching sprinkles... there's loads of those too.

Agos said... Best Blogger Tips

Epic! But I don't have a black light D:

Faith said... Best Blogger Tips

Ok a Tron Party sounds like so much freaking fun.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Amazing! this went down really well at my black light/neon party! thank you SOOOOOOOOO much!x

Wicked Goodies said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow. This goes beyond what I ever thought was possible. Nice R&D on your part!

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

it was fun making it thanks a bunch fo sharing with us

danyell hall said... Best Blogger Tips

hi i am having my daughters bday at the bowling alley where they have all the black lights and stuff i would need !! but infourtanly they don't have a freezer to keep the cupcakes in until time! how would i keep the cupcakes from dieing so to say before they can get to eating them ?

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

@danyell hall Hi Danyell. So the black light at the bowling alley should work. The black light should be within a couple of feet of the cupcakes to get the best results, but in my experience, bowling alley's have tons of high power black lights so if should work. Also, you really only need to keep the cupcakes in the freezer for long enough to let the jello settle. After that try to just keep them cool, but they should be fine left out for a couple hours.

TheCrazyCouponGuy said... Best Blogger Tips


I wonder if it would work if you put the gelatin mixture into a spray bottle and then just lightly sprayed it over the frosting for the guitar cake?

CeCe said... Best Blogger Tips

I just wanted to let you know your idea made my blog's Good Idea Friday post. It's probably one of the first actual true 'glowing' ideas I've seen on pinterest!

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

I would just like to say that I followed this recipe exactly twice and it did not work either time. The powdered sugar did have cornstarch in it, but all the powdered sugars at the store contained cornstarch. I am saddened and I know I probably did something wrong

Melissa French - The More With Less Mom said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for sharing! I linked to this post in my Glow Party series.