Friday, July 30, 2010

futurama returns, and so do my cupcakes!

So, yeah. I haven't made cupcakes in a while. But I've been busy being social! With the return of Futurama, I decided to make themed cupcakes again. Of course Futurama came back the day I left to visit my brother in Japan. Then I was jet-lagged for the next week. After that I don't really have an excuse except I finally got an event to bring these cupcakes to! Allen & Joe, 2 of my coworkers, had their last day working with us today. And Joe & I have discussed Futurama many times at work. So I made these last night.

I used a box cake mix. Whenever I decorate, I don't do "from scratch." Too much time!! So here's how I brought Futurama to culinary life.

By the way, if you're not familiar with these characters, you can catch the show on Comedy Central at 10pm on Thursday nights! Or right now you can do a google image search or something to see pictures of them!

My first attempt was Bender. This didn't go too well.

Hahahaha. Yikes. I got pretty depressed after this one. Then I tried again:

Aaaaaah! This one makes me so happy!!! Here's what happened: (there's a little Monk reference for those of you who used to watch Monk) Bender totally needed a better mouth. I bought a few different colored bags of melting chocolates (white, purple, orange) thinking I'd use them for the eyes and hair (Leela & Fry). But I was sure I was awful at that whole "just melt the chocolates in a ziploc bag and snip the corner to trace any shape at all, easy as 1, 2, 3!" I think it's because the first time I tried it, I followed the directions and microwaved it for what turned out to be way too long so the chocolate melted right through the bag without my knowledge and I got very hot melted chocolate all over my hands. That might have something to do with it.

Well I have gumption if anything, so I tried, tried again. Really all it took was microwaving it for less time. So I made a bunch of oval shapes for Bender's mouth and got that shape up there. Then I took a toothpick and scratched little lines in it for his "teeth." As for the antenna:

Are you familiar with Pocky? The amazing Japanese snack that consists of a thin biscuit dipped in chocolate? For some reason I think the crowd that's into Futurama knows Pocky very well. Anyway, it turns out Pocky is a cupcake-decorator's best friend. Look what can be done!

I dipped part of the Pocky in white icing and rolled it around in silver sprinkles. Then I snapped off half of it and stuck the rest into Bender's head. It worked!!

Then I did Dr. Zoidberg, which was the most satisfyingly simple character to make. Pink icing and pink Good & Plenty's. (Would that be the good part or the plenty part? I think they're both good... But I like how the white ones leave white on my tongue..)

Woop woop woop!

Then I did Nibbler, which is my favorite as far as these cupcakes are concerned.

Vanilla & chocolate frosting, black icing, 2 Necco wafers (I forgot to mention I've been using those as the eyes for everyone. And I thought Necco was a useless candy!), a Pocky, cut pieces of a white melting chocolate (as the fangs) and a white M&M! I got the M&M to stick with--ready??--melting chocolate AS GLUE! Yeah I know it's been done before, but I haven't done it before, and it was really exciting that it worked. See?

I love it!!

Of course I had to make Hypnotoad. Of course!!

I was pretty excited over making this one, and getting the icing to pull into a lip just right.. and using sprinkles as the brown spots--I liked keeping the cupcake element in the design!

So here's what I had so far:

Oh except I'd added Bender's mouth, too. Then it was time for the really tricky ones. Fry & Leela!

Here's my ziploc (oh, I'm sorry, it's actually Hefty!) pastry bag.. and my sketch of Leela's hair, with two of the FIVE Leela hairs I made (I put a lot of chocolate in there, I didn't want to waste it. Plus I thought I'd probably done some of them terribly wrong and I wanted options). I then put the wax sheet on a magazine in the fridge. The next morning my dad asked me if I knew why the Williams-Sonoma catalog was in the fridge. He was afraid my mom had gone crazy.

So here she is, I know, it doesn't do her justice, but I think the continued use of Good & Plenty was quite effective!! If she were blue she'd totally look like Smurfette. Except a cyclops. Cyclops Smurfette.

Here's Fry's hair, followed by the Fry cupcake:

Again, the frosting lip looks great here (sorry!! I don't mean to brag!! I'm just really happy!) which was kind of an accident. Serendipity, we call it. But I had to add the black icing just to make it not look like a fleshy mess:

Thank you, Matt Groening, for making their eyes so perfectly round. M&Ms for the eyes here, and the nose is, once again, a Good & Plenty, rolled in the face icing (ew.. "face icing").

I wanted to make the devil. I really wanted to. And I was all into it and excited until I realized I DIDN'T have Runts or that other candy shaped like tiny bananas that I used on the Monsters, Inc. cake pops that time... So I improvized and used Spree candies, but I had to bite into them to make the horn shape. Therefore I couldn't bring them into work in case someone ate the devil and I had to live with the fact that they ate my half-eaten candies. But I made it anyway, for myself, and here he is:

You can see my bite-marks on his horns. Nice.

Then I HAD to make Morbo, mostly because I have the vinyl figurine of him from those awesome mini figures by Kid Robot. I really want Slurms McGee but alas. I have not found him.

There he is, veins and all. I used purple sprinkles for his mouth because it was pretty late by the time I got around to Morbo and I didn't have purple icing. I went in the "vein" (haha) of Hypnotoad in my "cupcake elements" decoration technique. Morbo himself helped:

Hahahha. Ok. That's the last one! The gang's all here!

Actually, here are ALL of them:

And how I packaged them to bring to work:

I added 6 cupcakes with normal chocolate frosting on them so people wouldn't feel bad eating them (yes, that happens, and it's a really nice compliment!! but I'm also really happy when people eat them!) and so there'd be more than just 12!! Everyone loved them. I was walking on air today. Thanks, friends!! And goodbye & good luck, Joe & Allen!! :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

a cup-ple of kisses

It began like this, how it usually begins:

My butter conundrum solved by my butter technique (the ziploc full of hot water sits on top of cut-up butter to soften it).. only this time there's also cream cheese.

Then there was the duty of stripping down the kisses:
Oh my! It's like they went for a mass-skinny dip! Where are all the little naked kisses?

Mmmm.. (I ate a few..) These didn't go into the mix--they went into the cups before the filling.

To be honest, I made these last month for Mother's Day, and I'd meant to post it here, but I was buried with school work.. so I don't remember what all the ingredients were, and I'm not sure where I put the Hershey's cookbook. So the next few will just be pictures. It looks delicious.

became this:
And the butter and cream cheese were mixed with something else into this:
which became little balls of dough for the cups or tiny pie crusts. This part was especially fun because the dough was cool and squishy:

Just a few, which became:
a bunch, which I had to flatten into the mini-muffin tins:
Did I mention I love touching food?

Then I had to fill each cup with a kiss and some pecans (I think next time I'll omit the pecans--it was too crunchy for my taste):

Remember the chocolate-looking mixture from before? That gets poured into the cups:

I'm bad at cleanliness, sometimes. So my cupcake tins usually look like Jackson Pollocks before they go into the oven.

Voila!! They look really pretty.. and they tasted so good (if I do say so myself). My mom liked them too. Hope your Mother's Day was fun (a month ago)!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


They're called cupcakes because they're like cups of cake, right? (I happen to think "cupcake" is one of the cutest words!) Well my friend Jeff bought me a colossal cupcake pan from Williams-Sonoma, and I decided to use it for my co-worker's birthday!

Gorgeous!! And here's the side view:

Like soft-serve ice cream (or frozen yogurt)!

What's really cute and unnecessary is that the entire pan is shaped like one giant cupcake:

Ok so I used a mix. But it was fun-fetti!

When it came out of the oven, I had to cut off the rounded tops of both pieces so they'd stay together! It reminded me of the original version of Cinderella when the stepsister cut off her heel to fit into the shoe... Don't think about that as you read the rest...

The directions actually asked me to put the whole thing in the fridge after I put icing in the middle to secure them as one:


Then I iced it, also with funfetti:

And just to show you how big it really is, I compared it with my hand:

Here's how it looked after we all ate half of it:

It was fun AND tasty! Can't beat that!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

cupcakes for the pickies

"I can't eat cupcakes because I'm vegan!" "I can't eat cupcakes because I can't eat gluten!" "I can't eat cupcakes because I'm so above the cute-tiny-cakes thing!"

Alright. I've never heard someone say that last thing. But for those of you who are vegan or can't eat gluten, BAM:

Oh, you can eat these.

This book is the book of NYC-based "babycakes," a bakery that creates and sells all sorts of delicious, vegan-friendly, allergy-free goodies. No, I have not been there. Yes, I know this is a crime.

I bought all the ingredients for vanilla cupcakes at Organica Natural Foods. It was pretty expensive, but I really wanted to try this recipe! I had to get all sorts of things I'd never used before (and some things I'd never heard of!): coconut oil, coconut flour, potato starch, agave nectar, arrowroot...

The coconut oil was solid and I had to heat it up to use it. I put the jar in a bowl of warm water but it took a VERY long time to melt. I finally ended up scooping it all out into a pot and heating it up on the stove (I only realized this was a good idea when I was working on the icing and the cupcakes were already in the oven).

Looks like ice cubes! It smelled really good. I wish I could post scents. If you don't like coconut, then nevermind. But I do.

Here's the dry mixture:
...and the wet:

It's close-up so you can see the lemon zest!

It was "my first zest," and it smelled soooo good. It made me want a lemon-drop martini!

I also got to use my brand-new, very cute measuring spoons that my dad got me from the Berkshires:


Here's the mix all combined, and in the oven:

Ding! They're done:

I tried following the recipe for the frosting--the only ingredient I didn't have was powdered soy milk. I had powdered regular milk instead. It stayed liquid no matter what I tried, so I just used storebought icing instead. Have you ever read the ingredients on a can of icing? I wouldn't suggest it.

I tried making the icing purple for the children's book Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace by James Proimos. We really like this book at the store--Paulie Pastrami bakes cupcakes and gives them to everyone... That, along with being a good listener and other nice things, helps create world peace. It's very sweet!