The Grey Stuff... it’s Delicious!

When I was a little girl Belle was my favorite princess. She loved books. I loved books. That was all I needed. I will also admit that I wanted to be at that mile long dining table with champagne popping and Lumiere serenading her. No one can deny that the dining room song is catchy from Beauty and the Beast. As the plates and napkins come to life and you see the amazing dishes presented to Belle, one mysterious item always sticks out - the grey stuff. What the heck is it? While the intended food in the cartoon may still be veiled in Disney animation magic, at the Disney parks you can try some for yourself and find out!

Served on top of a cupcake at Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom it is classy and delicious. Disneyland, however, took the grey stuff to a whole new level for the opening of the Red Rose Taverne with the Grey Stuff Gateau around the time of the live-action adaptation starring my other favorite book nerd, Emma Watson/Hermione. The silhouette of the Disneyland grey stuff is based on the image from the movie but the secret is what's inside - seated on a shortbread cookie is a red velvet cupcake filled with raspberry puree, topped with a whole raspberry, and covered in a swirl of the cookies and cream flavored white chocolate mousse. Let me tell you, when I found out this was a thing I knew it was my next thing. No one has ever accused me of doing the simple thing.

I started collecting the ingredients that I would need. Mainly a brand new red food dye, white vinegar and buttermilk (which the author of the red velvet recipe sites as essential for a real red velvet cupcake) and those pretty crunchy pearls for the top. I didn't end up sending extra money on the crunchy pearls since I couldn't find the exact shapes I wanted - instead I went with a smaller sprinkle version from a Wilton shaker. What is really fun about this recipe is bringing together three recipes that are not meant to be anywhere near each other to create this amazingly delicious treat at home! The recipe for the grey stuff is inspired by a stabilized whipped cream/pudding frosting, the red velvet recipe was created by Dessert for Two, and the shortbread recipe is from kitchn. Since this cupcake creation was rather complicated I didn't deviate from the recipes.

I started with making the dough for the shortbread base as it needs to firm up in the fridge for freezer for 30 minutes. Although it might seem like over kill to chill the dough after rolling it out, it is essential for clean cookies since shortbread dough is flour, sugar, butter, and vanilla as it warms up it gets hard to handle cleanly. I was able to re-roll it only one time without it starting to stick to everything prior to popping it back into the fridge. I also this this shortbread could be a great base for #ediblecookiedough!

While the dough was #chillinlikeavillain, I mixed the batter for the red velvet cupcakes. The batter came out creamy and smooth and somewhat thin. And boy, oh, boy is it red. #sciencerules is involved as the chemical reaction between the vinegar and baking soda lifts the cake, intensifies the red color, and reacts with the cocoa powder for the velvety texture essential for red velvet cake! To ensure the cupcakes were even, I used a tablespoon to transfer batter from the mixing bowl to the cupcake liners one at a time. I was excited for this recipe because it was a micro batch of four cupcakes - something I am always looking to add to my recipe box. I also have a great chocolate chip cookie recipe for 1-2 people I will share soon!

The final part of this (let's be honest monster) cupcake was the grey stuff itself. I wanted something simple for this attempt but didn't want to use cool whip. I was inspired by stabilized whipped cream frostings which combine gelatin and heavy whipping cream for a soft, fluffy texture which is not overly sweet. A small box of white chocolate pudding mix was the perfect stand in for gelatin, sugar, and flavor required for a stabilized whipped cream! Crushed Oreos folded into the stabilized whipped cream create the perfect color and a Lumiere-serenade worthy flavor! Word to the wise: pulse your Oreos in a food processor to cut down on time and labor but triple check they are completely crushed. Any moderate to large pieces will get stuck in your 1M piping tip when you decorate your cupcakes and force you to reload your piping bag and start all over. Not. Fun. What is fun, though, is having a bunch of extras. It is politically correct to eat leftover grey stuff with a spoon straight from the container.

Shortbread Cookies


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of cold, unsalted butter, cut into 32 pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse to combine, 2 to 3 quick pulses.
  2. Add the butter and vanilla if using and pulse to combine.
  3. Continue pulsing until the mixture sticks together when pressed with 2 fingers, about 1 minute (60-75 pulses). Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure the dough is evenly mixed.
  4. Roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper until 1/4-inch thick, no wider than a baking sheet. Place the dough still in the parchment on a baking sheet.
  5. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
  6. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Remove the dough from the freezer. Remove the top sheet of parchment and cut the cookies into circles with a large glass or large biscuit cutter. Arrange the cut cookies 1 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets, about 15 cookies per sheet. They do not expand.
  7.  Bake the cookies until just golden, 12 to 15 minutes.Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Red Velvet Cupcakes


  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. In a cupcake tin, place 4 cupcake liners on the outside edge. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat together the canola oil, sugar, buttermilk, egg white, red dye, vinegar, and vanilla using an electric mixer.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, while mixing.
  5. Divide the batter between the four cupcake liners and bake for 20-22 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack. 
  6. Frost when completely cooled or use a piping tip to make a hole in the center of the cupcake about 1 1/2 inches deep. Fill with raspberry jam and top with a fresh raspberry.

They Grey Stuff


  • 1 sm. package (3.3 oz) white chocolate pudding 
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 15 regular Oreos


  1. Place mixing bowl, whisk or mixing attachments in the fridge or freezer for 10-30 minutes. Use a metal mixing bowl or the bowl from a stand mixer for best results. Keeping the mixture cold will make it more stable for the final product.
  2. Meanwhile, use a food processor to pulse Oreos into a fine crumb. Triple check for any chunks. Crushing the Oreos can be done by hand in a gallon zip loc bag with a rolling pin. 
  3. Pour milk and heavy whipping cream into bowl. Sprinkle with pudding powder. Mix with a whisk attatchment starting on low speed and slowly increasing to high. 
  4. Whip until soft peaks form.
  5. Add crushed Oreos.
  6. Continue to whip at high speed until stiff peaks form, 30 sec - 1 min.

Grey Stuff Gateau


  1. Place shortbread on plate.
  2. Top with cupcake (fill with jam and raspberry if you haven't already).
  3. Cut off tip of piping bag and drop in 1M (open star) piping tip. Fill 1/2 way with grey stuff.
  4. Starting at the base of cupcake, layer a swirl of grey stuff around cupcake and swirl over the top until completely covered.
  5. Dust with sprinkles, chocolate shavings, or desired decoration. 
Grey Stuff Gateau is nothing short of an epic dessert.  The cupcake is tender and velvety, the filling is sweet offset by the cocoa powder from the cupcake. The grey stuff topping is a Oreo lover's delight and will result in copy cat Belle moments of licking it off your finger. It is definitely shareable but you might want to keep it all to yourself!

Don't be intimidated by the process as this recipe adapts to a traditional style cupcake with or without the raspberry filling. Classic red velvet cupcakes swirled with grey stuff on top will be a perfect hit at your next book club meeting, too!

Are you going to take on all or part of this deliciousness? How do you want to eat your grey stuff? Comment below! 


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