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» Pale Yellow

Cream together butter and sugar until pale yellow.

50 Shades of Grey Cupcakes

Tracy Byrne

Soooooooo, yeah, I've read the book, all three actually.  And I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty details, but it was an enjoyable weekend.

Pretty much everyone at work has read the books too, we talk about them at lunch, specifically, who should play the characters when it is made into a movie.  I vote for Ryan Gosling.  Yes, I work with a lot women, so it's not surprising that we are all reading the books, but a lot of male co-workers are reading the books too.  I've mentioned before about how awesome my staff is, right?

The best part about the books is who introduced me to them.  There will be no names here, but she is a pretty awesome lady!  And I was SHOCKED to learn about this type of book from her.  She is one of the kindest, most genuine, and modest people I know in the best possible way.  She is conservative in her practices, yet so open and tolerant in the way she treats others.  I am honored to be her colleague and her friend!

So it's her birthday this week!  And what better way to celebrate a birthday than with cupcakes?  I mean obliviously there are better ways, but this is a family friendly blog.  Red room anyone?

These bad boys are an adaptation of the slutty brownie, which makes perfect sense!  Chewy chocolate chip cookie on the bottom, Oreo in the middle, and a rich, dark brownie on top.  Everything you need in one delicious bite!  But cupcakes do need frosting, otherwise it is just a muffin, and no one wants a boring muffin on their birthday, not even a slutty one.  To turn these guys into cupcakes I made a whipped vanilla frosting and dyed it in an ombre fashion to have four shades of gray.  I did not anticipate how shiny and silky the frosting would look, I was pleasantly surprised, and it certainly reminded me of everyone's favorite gray silk tie!

The flavor?  Safety word good!  So rich, so buttery, so delicious.  You know you want some.

Print the Recipe.

50 Shades of Grey Cupcakes Adapted from Slutty Brownies originally from What’s Gaby Cooking Yield - 16 cupcakes

5 tablespoons + 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 1/2 cup & 2 tablespoons + 3/4 cup white sugar 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark) 1 + 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 + 1 eggs 1/4 + 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 + 1 1/4 cups flour 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 16 Oreos

Making the brownie layer:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt 5 tablespoons of butter on a saucepan over medium heat.  Once melted add in 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar and the cocoa.  Whisk until blended together and then remove from the heat.
  3. Add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 egg, again whisk to combine.  Add in 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 cup flour.  Mix until everything just comes together.  Set aside to cool.

Making the cookie layer:

  1. Beat together 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until pale yellow.
  2. Add in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla, beat to combine and then scrape down the bowl.
  3. Add in 1/2 teaspoon salt, the powder, soda, and 1 1/4 cups flour.  Mix on slow until all the flour is incorporated.  Mix in the chocolate chips by hand.


  1. Use silicone cupcake liners if you have them, lightly grease the inside.
  2. Scoop 1 tablespoon of cookie dough into each lined cupcake cup.  Press an Oreo on top.
  3. Scoop about 1 - 1 1/4 tablespoons of brownie batter on top of the Oreo.  Spread slightly with a spatula.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until the brownie is set.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. There will be leftover cookie dough, what you do with that cookie dough is nobody’s business...

50 (4) Shades of Grey Whipped Vanilla Frosting Adapted from Can you Stay for Dinner Yield - decorates 16-20 cupcakes generously

1 cup whole milk 5 tablespoons flour 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup granulated sugar black gel food coloring

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and flour.  Keep whisking until the mixture becomes smooth and thick resembling pancake batter.
  2. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and allow to cool completely.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy - just keep beating until it is no longer grainy.
  4. Add in the cooled flour/milk mixture and beat until the entire frosting is light and fluffy.
  5. Add a small drop of black food coloring and mix well to combine.
  6. Scoop a bit into a piping bag and pipe onto 4 cupcakes.  Squeeze the rest of the frosting into the bowl.
  7. Add another small drop of black food coloring mix well to combine.  Repeat step 6.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 two more times.  This will give you four shades of gray.

Laters, babe.