Dexter returns for its last season tomorrow night (Sunday, Jun 30, 2013) on Showtime. To celebrate this momentous occasion, some friends and I are throwing a killer pre-show Dexter-themed dinner party complete with a fake hand with painted nails.

For a sanguine dessert, I came up with these Crime Scene Cupcakes. They’re definitely not for the faint of heart. Red food coloring makes for some pretty great faux blood splatter!

The cupcakes themselves are vanilla cake. I cored out the middles and filled each with one amarena cherrry and red berry preserves. A pure white almond buttercream is the the perfect backsplash for the bloody splatter of red food coloring applied with a basting brush.

Crime Scene Cupcakes

Crime Scene Cupcakes

To make these cupcakes, use your favorite white or yellow vanilla cupcake recipe. I used THIS one from Glorious Treats.

Once the cupcakes are baked and cooled, use a cupcake corer or a small paring knife to remove the middle cores of the cupcakes (not all the way to the bottom). Save the cores of cupcake.

Fill each with cherry (I used amarena cherries, but feel free to use maraschino cherries too) and your choice of red berry preserves, then plug a bit of core back to level off the tops of each cupcake.

Once stuffed, you can frost your cupcakes with a simple buttercream. I used the recipe below.

To create the red splatter, squeeze a few drops of red food coloring onto your basting brush. Use your fingers to spray the color off the brush. I used my forefinger to fan out the brush bristles, causing a spray of color. (Warning: You will end up with some red fingers, so use gloves if you so choose. Right now I look like a serial killer with my red fingers.)

Display the cupcakes on a surgical tray (aka baking sheet), or a plate wrapped in plastic, Dexter style.

Almond Buttercream

Yields 2 cups

1 stick unsalted butter – room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 pounds confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar, 10x)
2-3 tablespoons cold milk

Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the extract and combine well. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the cold milk, one tablespoon at a time, combining very well after each addition (mixer on medium-high to high speed) until you reach the desired consistency.