Joy Ride: Pink Champagne Cupcakes

                                                          

                                               It started out as a joke. Now the joke is on them.

Joy Ride trailer poster

                          Install a CB radio, he said. Fake like a chick named Candy Cane, he said. It’d be fun, he said.

And it was. Until someone got hurt…

CB talk baby joyride   Joy Ride is a 2001 thriller about a road trip gone terribly wrong. On their way ‘cross country back home, two brothers, Lewis and Fuller, and their unwitting passenger, Venna, are stalked and menaced by a vengeful trucker after a CB prank goes awry. It stars Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski, and Buffalo Bill.

Yep; Ted Levine (AKA Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs) puts his deep, foreboding pipes to good use as the voice of Rusty Nail, the horny, homicidal trucker that obviously can’t take a joke. However, don’t expect to actually see Ted in the role as he is just the voice, folks. The actual bad guy is played by another actor, but we only get shadowy glimpses of him during the more action-packed scenes.Being chased joyride

Sounds fun, right?

It is!

terrified Fuller        Joy Ride may not be for the hardcore horror set (as the scares, violence and gore are minimal), but the suspenseful story line, chilling use of scenery, and humorous quips of dialogue make it a fun popcorn movie perfect for a rainy night.

The Recipe: From frosting to filling, the entire cupcake is infused with Candy Cane’s favorite getting-it-on-with-strangers beverage, pink champagne. The sweet Muscato smell reminds me of the tubed warehouse champagne cake filling my boss at the bakery used to slather in between the cake rounds. Except the hand-forged version is less pink-gelatinous looking and tastes fresher, lighter.

Drained the last dregs in that bottle of champagne on New Years, did you? No worries. Just be at the Lone Star Motel room 17. Rusty Nail will be stopping by with a bottle of the pink bubbly at midnight. So, if you’re not dead, you can whip up a batch. You copy that?

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Pink Champagne Cake

(Makes 12-15 romantic offerings)

Ingredients:

2 cups cake flour

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1 stick butter (softened)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

½ cup sour cream

½ cup pink champagne (I really went all out and bought the Sutter Home variety; wink, wink)

*Recipes for Pink Champagne Pastry Filling and Pink Champagne ButterScream (below)

Decoration: Candy bubbles (I found glossy Sixlet candies in the cupcake aisle of Walmart. Awesomeness.)

Equipment: Nonstick baking spray, standard sized cupcake pan, liners, hand/stand mixer, cupcake corer

How to Make em:

Obligatory Reminder: Spray cupcake liners with non stick baking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*Beat the butter and sugar into creamy submission with your hand or stand mixer. I always use my hand mixer for that ultimately personal experience hehe!

* Crack the eggs into the mix, one at a time, beating again after each addition.

* In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and champagne. Watch it fizz then set it aside.

* In another small bowl, combine the boring stuff: cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

* Stir the dry boring ingredients into the creamed mix alternately with the champagne mixture. I always incorporate them with a rubber spatula for that hand-forged quality, but feel free to use your hand mixer or stand mixer again. Low to medium speed, please.

*Fill each cupcake cavity about ¾ full for the naughtiest results and bake about 15-17 mins at 350 degrees.

*Once COMPLETELY cooled, core and fill each cake with the pastry cream and frost.

Adorn: Complete the look with a few shimmery candle bubbles.

Pink Champagne Pastry Cream

(Makes enough to generously fill 12-15 cakes) 

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp cornstarch

5 Tbsp sugar

½ cup whipping cream (divided)

½ cup champagne

1 egg

2 egg yolks

2 Tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla

How to Make It:

*In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and ¼ cup of the cream. Beat the egg and the yolks into the mixture.

*In a saucepan, bring the remaining ¼ cup of cream, sugar, and champagne to a boil then remove from the heat.

*Pour about 1/3 of the boiling mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk constantly as to keep the eggs from cooking/curdling.

*Return the remaining champagne cream mix to boiling. Pour in the hot egg mixture, whisking constantly (again) until the mixture thickens. This will take a few minutes. Patience, my dear!

*Remove from heat and add in the vanilla and butter. Stir until smooth.

*Let the mixture cool a bit before adding it to equally cooled cupcakes.

Champagne Butterscream Frosting

(Makes enough to cover 12-15 cupcakes)

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter (softened)

¼ cup champagne

4 cups powdered sugar

How to Make It:

*In a medium bowl, beat the butter and champagne into creamy submission with your hand or stand mixer.

*Add in the sugar one cup at a time.

*Allow the frosting to set a few minutes in the refrigerator before piping on.

stalked in the cornfield joyride Until next time…stay spooky, my fiends!

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Leprechaun: Guinness Gold Cupcakes, Unlucky Charms, & Evil Leprechaun Cocktail

 lep-thefuntimesguide

Try as they will, and try as they might, whoever steals his gold won’t live through the night.

            According to well-known Irish folklore, leprechauns are mischievous, smooth talking, devious little tricksters. They like their fun, but they also work hard, hammering out shoe after shoe for their elfin employers. They receive gold coins for their pay, and the coin crocks are secretly stashed away from the likes of greedy humans.

Also, it is written that to catch a leprechaun is already difficult, but to keep him captive and get his treasure is just almost downright impossible. If you are lucky enough to do so, it is advised to keep an unbreakable gaze upon him. For if you don’t, the wee man will surely vanish.

Of course, there are other ways one can try to obtain a leprechaun’s treasures. Follow him to the end of a rainbow. Bait a trap with a few faux coins. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be luck enough to land yourself some loot.

Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work out for Dan O’Grady. In 1993’s schlocky horror film, Leprechaun, Mr. O’Grady caught a wee fellow and his gold, but Dan soon discovered his luck had run out…

leprechaun movie poster

Really, I love Leprechaun for all its badness. Bad dialogue, bad acting from a supporting cast, and bad typecasting of leprechaun folklore all blended into one. The best of the worst is the bad death scene. You know; the one involving a homicidal leprechaun on a pogo stick spewing demented limericks while bouncing across someone’s chest. That’s my wheresmygold movifancentralfave! happy evil lep

But you can’t celebrate another St. Patrick’s Day without, at some point, tuning in to this golden stone and rooting for the little bad guy. To go along with this mandatory viewing, I’ve concocted some goodies to die for that correlate with some of my favorite lines from the movie!

The Recipes:

“I’ll not rest til I have me gold. Curse this well that me soul shall dwell til I find me magic that breaks me spell.” –The Leprechaun

IMG_0911

Guinness Gold Cupcakes with Irish Butterscream Frosting

*These deep crocks of chocolate spiked with dark, stout beer are good as gold. Topped with an adults-only hand-forged Irish ButterScream and a generous heap of gold sugar, they make fairly effective Leprechaun bait!

Ingredients: (Makes 18-24 irresistible treasures)

1 cup baking cocoa, 2 cups sugar, 2 ¾ cups cake flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, 4 eggs, 2 sticks butter (softened), 2 cups Guinness beer, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract. For frosting: 1 stick butter (soft), 1/3 cup Bailey’s Irish cream, 1/8 tsp salt, 4-5 cups powdered sugar (depending on how thick you’d like it), gold sugar sprinkles.

Equipment/materials: Gold cupcake liners, 2 cupcake pans, hand/stand mixer, pastry bag fitted with metal tip #2D or spreader

How To Make Em:

Cupcakes: Line cupcake pans with the liners. Give each a squirt of nonstick baking spray. Nothing too dramatic.

Cook and stir the beer and cocoa powder over medium heat. Stir constantly for about 2-3 minutes until the mixture is nice and smooth. Allow this to cool.

Using your hand/stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar into creamy submission. Add your eggs.

In a separate small bowl, sift together the boring stuff-flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Alternately, add the boring flour stuff and the cocoa beer to the creamed mixture. Start and end with your boring flour stuff. Stir in the vanilla.

Fill each cupcake cavity about 2/3 full. Bake for 15 mins on 350 degrees. (Cupcakes should come out clean with a center tester). Meanwhile, make the frosting.

Frosting: Using your hand/stand mixer, beat the butter, salt, and Irish cream into creamy submission. Slowly add the powdered sugar until smooth and your desired consistency. This will frost all 18-24 cupcakes!

Frost the cooled cupcakes using a spreader or metal tip pastry bag. Generously sprinkle with tons of gold sugar! (And prepare for plenty of compliments on your yummy creation!)

IMG_0904Hey, Lep! F*** You, Lucky Charms!” –Alex

Unlucky Charms Bars

*This is a gimmicky version of that favorite crisped rice cereal bar you may remember from your younger days. Except, I Leprechauned it up for you by replacing boring, bland crisped rice cereal with sugar-coated marshmallow-infused goodness.  Now you can have your old childhood cereal and eat it too!

Ingredients: (Makes 12-16 charms)

4 Tbsp butter, 1 bag of large marshmallows, 7 cups Lucky Charms cereal

Equipment/Materials: 9×13 baking pan

How to Make em: Prep your baking pan with nonstick baking spray.

In a large pot on the stove, melt the butter. Add the marshmallows, stirring until they are melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Add the cereal a cup at a time until it is completely covered in melty marshmallow butter. Spoon out into your baking pan and gently-with the slightest touch-press into the pan. Allow to set. Cover to keep them fresh.

Note: The slight touch will give you soft crunchiness that won’t break your teeth out at first bite!

Tip: You can liven them up even more by adding flavored marshmallows. This time of year there are lots of choices for pastel marshmallow flavors!

IMG_0909Evil Leprechaun Cocktail

“That thing is a leprechaun, and we’ve gotta find a way to stop it.”-Tory

*Ah, a naughty, creamy libation depicting all the qualities of the iconic Irish leprechaun. It’s fun, it’s quirky, it disappears quickly, and it’s loaded with drink. But the addition of ice cream turns it totally sinful!!

Ingredients: (Makes 1 evil cocktail)

3 ounces cold coffee, 1 ounce Irish whiskey, ½ ounce Kahlua, ½ ounce Bailey’s Irish cream, 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream, and 2 cups crushed ice

Equipment/Materials: blender

How to Make It: Add all the ingredients to the blender, including the crushed ice. Give it a few spins on blend until well blended. I give it a few rounds on liquefy just to get those bigger ice chunks to size. Blend to your tastes. Pour into a serving glass and garnish with a cute flag like I did!

Tip: If you must have it green, substitute mint chip ice cream  for the vanilla ice cream.

              Until next time…Stay spooky, my fiends. And stalk The Horror Congress regularly.

The Loved Ones: Pink Princess Cupcakes and Lovesick Blondies

 It’s Valentine’s Day. Are these treats “pretty enough?”

 the loved ones movie poster

            Valentine’s Day. The day of love.

For those of us gals fortunate enough to be married, attached, committed, or sought after,  Valentine’s Day can be a tasty, thoughtful day of fresh roses, candy, skimpy lingerie, or tickets to see The Evil Dead Musical (hey, whatever trips your trigger, right?)

But what about those single others? The day of love must be a virtual day of sorrow. And now that Valentine’s Day apparently has its own season (from January 2nd when the Christmas decorations come down to February 14th) it must be just one huge month of misery leading up to the Big Depressing Day.

If you are one of the fateful that falls into the latter category, don’t do it. Don’t slide into your yoga pants and oversized shirts. Don’t crawl under the covers, tear into that heart-shaped box of chocolates you bought yourself, and tune into John Hughes movies all night.

stone family fun

Dinner with the Stones

Instead, I invite you to call upon your other lonely lady friends and spend the evening at prom with Princess, Daddy, Bright-Eyes, and The King. It will be an absolutely terrifying night of looking through creepy stalker scrapbooks and blood-soaked torture porn all set to an eerie pink disco-ball backdrop. Refreshments like Lola’s “finger lickin good” chicken and a sludgy syringe cocktail-to-the-neck will be served, but you could always just bring your own…I’ve got a few in mind!

 

lola and drill

Princess and her drill

The Loved Ones. Think Pretty in Pink meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In fact, Lola (aka Princess) is exactly the type of tormented, obsessed, deranged girl I’d expect to see spawned from Leatherface and Molly Ringwald’s character, Andie.

 

the king

Brent, the new Loved One

When Lola is rejected by her latest crush, Brent, and then later finds him having sex with his beautiful girlfriend, Holly, she goes totally over the edge. She recruits her equally psychotic father (aka Daddy) to kidnap Brent and make him into her new King. But when Brent refuses to play along nicely with the sick prom night fantasy, he’s put through some pretty horrible, mind-bending punishment involving nails, drills, and crappy teen love songs. His rebellion eventually lands him in the cellar of surprises with Lola’s other collected “loved ones”.  I must say Robin Mcleavy is flawless as Princess; so sadistic and cute all drenched in pink. The only thing truly off-putting about this movie is Lola’s angsty theme song “Pretty Enough” that has been lodged into my brain for weeks now.

 

Am I not pretty enough? Is my heart too broken? Do I cry too much? Am I too outspoken?” Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

The Recipes: I don’t like pink. But it’s Valentine’s Day, and Princess wouldn’t have it any other color. In fact, I was told the cupcakes are almost too pretty to eat. Don’t let their outer charm deter you. Inside they are a sadistic, fluffy addiction just waiting to overcome you. The blondies are rich, buttery, and loaded with crunchy candy. When the last one is gone you’ll be lovesick for more…

 

DGbaking Blog 002Pink Princess Cupcakes

(makes 18-24 pretty treats)

 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups cake flour

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter

3 eggs (room temp)

1 cup buttermilk

¼ tsp pink paste food coloring ( I used Wilton Rose Petal Pink to get the closest color to Lola’s dress)

1 batch Pink Vanilla Butterscream frosting

White pearl candies (I used Wilton’s white sugar pearls)

9-12 fresh strawberries (stems removed, cut in half)

Cupcake pan, pink or V-day print liners, pastry bag, large decorating tip ( I used tip #1G)

How to Make em: In a mixing bowl or bowl of standing mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, and food coloring with your hand mixer or stand mixer into a creamy submission. Add the eggs, one at a time,  and the vanilla until fully combined. In a separate smaller bowl, sift together the boring stuff- flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to your creamed butter mix alternately with the buttermilk. I always start and end with the dry stuff. Mix until just combined. Fill liners about half way. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before dressing up.

Pink Vanilla Butterscream Frosting

(Makes enough to dress 18-24 cupcakes)

Ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter

1 pd powdered sugar

1/8 tsp salt

¼-1/2 cup whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp pink paste food coloring (I used Wilton Rose Petal Pink)

How to Make It: In a mixing bowl or bowl of standing mixer, beat together the butter, cream, vanilla, and salt with your hand mixer or stand mixer into a creamy submission. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until smooth. Stir or mix in the food coloring until thoroughly assaulted with pink.

Dollin’ Up the Cupcakes: Fit your pastry bag with your preferred decorating tip. Pipe on the pink frosting however thick you like it. Add a dash of classy white pearls and pierce with a strawberry slice. Too pretty!

 

100_1566Lovesick Blondies

(Makes 12 addictive bars)

 

Ingredients:

2 sticks (1 cup) melted butter

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs (room temperature)

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 bag Valentine’s Day M&M candy (I used the peanut butter ones)

13×9” pan

How to Make Em: Prep your pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar until well combined. Add in the eggs and vanilla. In a small bowl, sift together the boring stuff-the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture. Mix in the candies until well incorporated. Spread into the pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-28 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into. Tastes awesome with vanilla ice cream!

Slumber Party Massacre: Driller Killer Cupcakes and Truth or Dare Punch

                              Dying for a Girls’ Night In? Invite the gals over for a Slumber Party Massacre.

                                                                                                           

It should be known (by now) that I am a serious 80’s slasher film enthusiast. Since 1982, Slumber Party Massacre has reigned supreme on my favorites list. It offers up a bit of sweet nostalgia for those of us who endured sleepless nights in the name of girlish fun. And perhaps a bit of sweet satisfaction for those who agonized over not being invited…

While most slumber party-goers are telling ghost stories or watching horror movies, Trish and her pajama-clad friends are living one when escaped lunatic, Russ Thorne (aka the Driller Killer), crashes the party. He’s delivering more than just pizza. Although what he does to the pizza delivery boy with the handy new drill he’s acquired is pretty impressive.

My favorite lines from the movie come from Kim and Jackie. After Kim evaluates the eyeless pizza boy flopped across the floor, she confirms, “He’s dead allright. So cold.” (Awesome dialogue, I know). Jackie responds with, “Is the pizza?” And then she chomps down a piece! Ah, a girl after my own heart.

   The Recipes: In honor of this most beloved scene and my favorite driller kill, I present to you the Driller Killer Cupcake. It is an extravagant “bloody” red velvet cupcake topped with a crudely extracted vanilla cake eye ball. Gruesome, not girly, and a complete overkill of cake kind of dessert just perfect to serve at your next massacre.

Pair it up with a Truth or Dare cocktail and you are sure to have a memorable massacre! I took my love for sangria and combined it with my passion for apple cider and came up with a loaded party punch sure to induce many truths from your tight-lipped gal pals. I DARE you to try it!

A few tips: A recipe for red velvet cupcakes and homemade Screamcheese frosting can be found in the Previous Blog Posts section under February 2012. Also, if you don’t have a favorite vanilla cake ball/pop recipe, feel free to check out my cake ball/pop tutorial in the Previous Blog Posts section under December 2011. Be warned that I use a Bake Pops cake pan to make my cake eyeballs.

Driller Killer Cupcakes

(I “see” 18-24 cupcakes in your future…)

Ingredients & Equipment:

Red velvet cupcake recipe or your fave box mix

1 batch Screamcheese frosting or your fave canned variety

Your favorite vanilla cake ball or cake pop recipe

11/2 cans white vanilla frosting (DO NOT use the whipped variety)

1 tube Wilton red icing

1 package Wilton candy eyeballs

Cupcake pans

Cookie sheet

Parchment paper

Red and white dotted cupcake liners OR liners of your choice (the dotted ones just happened to be most appropriate for my blood soaked color scheme)

Decorating tip #3 and a coupler ring

How To Make Em:

-Prepare the vanilla cake balls according to recipe directions. Allow to cool completely.

-While they are cooling, prepare the red velvet cupcakes according to recipe directions. Allow to cool.

-Prepare the Screamcheese frosting if you are making it yourself. Frost your cooled cupcakes.

-Line a cookie sheet or two with parchment paper.

-Add the white canned frosting to a microwave safe bowl sufficient enough in size to dip the cake balls. Microwave the frosting for about 30-45 seconds until it is pourable, but not too runny.

-Working quickly, dip each cake ball into the frosting with a large spoon. Turn to coat. If the frosting becomes too stiff while dipping, you might want to reheat it for just a few seconds to get back to a workable consistency.

-Place the dipped cake balls on parchment paper. Again, working quickly, add a candy eyeball (that will serve as your pupil) to each coated cake ball.

-Allow the cake balls to set.

-Use the red tube icing to etch on those ghastly red threads and allow the cake balls to set again.

-Once the eye balls are set, place one eyeball precariously atop one cupcake, repeat with remaining eyeballs and cupcakes, and revel in the squeals of the squeamish!

Truth or Dare Punch

Please take the dead body out of the fridge before chilling the punch.

(Makes a lot)

Ingredients:

½ gallon chilled apple cider

1 bottle red wine

¼ cup brandy

¼ cup orange liqueur

Garnishes: apple and orange slices

Punch bowl and ladle

How to Make It:

-Add the wine, brandy, and liqueur to the punch bowl. My suggestion would be to refrigerate the mix for at least an hour or possibly overnight to let the flavors mingle.

-Just before serving, add the apple cider to the punch bowl.

Garnish with thin apple and orange slices.

Serve, and let the slumber party games begin!

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Naked Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes and Mike’s Meatloaf Remake

“The film which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother, Franklin. It is all the more tragic in that they were young. But, had they lived very, very long lives, they could not have expected nor would they have wished to see as much of the mad and macabre as they were to see that day. For them an idyllic summer afternoon drive became a nightmare. The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” (Narrator from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)

In 1974, Tobe Hooper introduced American movie goers to the raw terror and beauty of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I fought for days trying to come up with the most righteously eloquent words to describe this masterpiece, but only a few short blurps surfaced. Thorough. Sickening. Iconic. Totally random and unrelated words, I know; but if you fit those three words together in a sentence with Texas Chainsaw Massacre, suddenly the puzzle gains an image.

I chose thorough because despite the grueling heat of a Texas summer and a stingy budget that left most underpaid (or as rumors have it- some not paid at all) , the masterminds behind this movie worked their arses off to make Hooper’s macabre vision a tangible work of art. Even the movie’s background music couldn’t have been more fitting. Listen to the eerie clanks and clutter that somehow turn into a terrifying metaphor for the insanity that is the Hewitt family. (FYI: There is a great documentary on the making of the movie available on Netflix right now).

Sickening as in “who does this sort of thing? Do sick souls like this truly exist?” Because back in its day, a cannibalistic family with members that shove lovely women onto meat hooks and keep a mummified grandparent around as entertainment were surely shocking and grotesque images. Of course, with gore porn now an official sub genre and the hundreds of other Grindhouse and modern horror movies out there, the lack of blood, guts, and effects has lessened the scare factor for newer viewers. Kind of sucks because this classic always gives me the chills. Always.

       And then finally, iconic. When I hear the word Texas, my mind immediately charges forward with the rest…Chainsaw Massacre. You simply cannot hear the roar of a chainsaw and not immediately wonder if Leatherface is wielding it. At least, I can’t. Also, when I turn on many other horror films made after 1974, I see or look for some shred of inspiration drawn from Hooper’s deranged bone-collecting Hewitt clan. Usually, it’s easy to locate.

In 2003, a remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre was released, starring Jessica Biel and a whole lot more blood. The remade version had its great moments like better characterization of the victims, the horrifying presence of a relentless Leatherface, and uh, Jessica Biel. It also had its faultier qualities like too much back story about the Hewitt clan weaved in that lessens the terror factor and R. Lee Emery as the sheriff that manages to completely overshadow Leatherface as the “real bad guy”. The saw is mean, but the sheriff is meaner!

No matter how you like your TCM-original or reheated, one of two things will happen after watching this great movie. Either you will have a hankerin’ for a big ole greasy double cheeseburger or you will be repulsed by anything containing meat or other animal by-product. Rarely have I known someone completely unaffected, but you may fall into that category also. Either way-I have two recipes; one awesome meatloaf for the meat-cravers and one vegan sweet for the totally repulsed. My rule is to start with dessert first.

Deadgirl Naked Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes: I’m not a vegan. By any means. Midwestern girl raised on red meat, potatoes, and veggies with a side of carbs right here! However, I had many requests for a dairy-less chocolate cupcake that could rival my original chocolate macabre cake at the market. So, after many weeks of experimenting, I came up with something truly amazing; rich, moist, and chocolatey. You’d never know it was anything less of the real thing.

Deadgirl Naked Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes   

(Makes about a dozen killer treats)

Ingredients:

1 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (my “secret weapon” to really sweetening it up)

1/3 cup veggie oil

1 ½ cups flour (all-purpose not cake for this cupcake recipe)

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup sugar

½ cup baking cocoa powder

½ tsp salt

12 cupcake liners

1 batch Naked Chocolate Cupcake Glaze

How to Make Em:

Obligatory Reminder: Spray cupcake liners with non stick baking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In a small bowl, combine the 3 V’s: vinegar, vanilla, and the veggie oil. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

3. Alternately, add the 3 V formula and the cup of water to the dry flour mix. Beat into an unlumpy concoction with your hand mixer.

4. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3’s full. Bake 16-18 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and drizzle with Naked Chocolate Cupcake Glaze. Add some vegan chocolate sprinkles, too, if you want!

My zombling’s attempt at professional food styling hehe

Naked Chocolate Cupcake Glaze   

(Adequately covers 12 exposed cupcakes)

 

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp instant espresso powder (I just use Folgers)

3-4 Tbsp steaming hot water

1 cup powdered sugar (or more if needed)

How to Make It:

1. Thoroughly dissolve the coffee granules in the steaming hot water.

2. Add the powdered sugar a ¼ cup at a time, whisking after each addition to make an unlumpy glaze.

3. Drizzle over the cupcakes or dunk the cupcake tops into the glaze.

4. Add vegan chocolate sprinkles, if you so desire!

Mike’s Meatloaf Remake: I don’t usually like remakes over their originals, but when it comes to meatloaf, my hubby does it much better than mine. This is the only meatloaf my zomblings will eat, and I’ve given up on trying to perfect my own. Mike’s version forms a sweetened crust from the carmelization of the brown sugar spice mix he adds into the mix, and it makes pretty decent meatloaf sandwiches the next day if you are into that.

Mike’s Meatloaf Remake

(Makes 2 loaves-one for tonight; freeze the other)

 

Ingredients:

3 pounds ground beef (we use 93% lean)

2 cups old-fashioned oats (don’t try using the instant or quick oats.)

1 1/3 cups milk

4 eggs

½ cup ketchup

½ tsp nutmeg

2 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp sage

6 tbsp brown sugar

Contents of 1 box Lipton onion soup mix

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

How to Make It:

Obligatory Reminder: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the raw ground beef thoroughly with the milk, eggs, onion soup mix, salt, and pepper.

2. In another small bowl, combine the brown sugar, ketchup, nutmeg, dry mustard, and sage until smooth.

3. Add the combined spices to the raw meat mixture, using your hands to completely blend them together.

4. Form the meat into two loaves that will easily fit cockeyed into your 9×13” pan. It’s like putting two bodies in a coffin; kinda tight. Or you can just put them into two separate baking pans, if you prefer.

5. Bake for 1 hour 10 mins at 375 degrees.  (Give it a check at about an hour because all ovens are different)

All done!

Chernobyl Diaries: Nuclear Poppyseed Cupcakes

Pack your bags. We’re going on vacationmuwahahahaha….. 

            Many great horror movies have begun with a group of friends setting off together on a carefree summer adventure. We all know what happens. It’s become quite the genre cliché. Fun becomes trouble and the trouble turns deadly. Each member of the party is picked off, one by clueless one, until the final tough contender remains facing off with The Bad Guy or The Bad Something. While most vacation horror films may seem fairly formulaic in their approach to kill off oblivious youngsters, there are an eclectic few going out of their way to do it different. Oren Peli’s Chernobyl Diaries is definitely trying to be a trip-taking rebel.

My Screen Rant:  Chris, his girlfriend, Natalie, and her tag-along galpal, Amanda, are off sightseeing throughEurope. They make a brief pit stop inKiev,Ukraine, to visit Chris’s playful, up-for-anything brother, Paul. Paul is really so up-for-anything that he arranges an impromptu side adventure through Uri’s “Extreme Tourism” to Pripyat, the town evacuated and left deserted following the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. His straighter-laced brother is not exactly thrilled.

Pripyat

Of course, the typical warnings soon abound. Another backpacking couple joins in on the tour, Uri must take the antsy group another route after being denied access into the city by gate guards, and signs of “we’re not alone” slowly creep their way into the film. The action really picks up once the tour ends. But you know the tour never really ends, right? Because the van doesn’t start and the walkie-talkie only responds with static. *shocker!* Wild animals are on the prowl, and radiation levels are beginning to rise along with the tension amongst the frightened friends.

An uneasy feeling

That is where the tried and true devices of the Pick Em Off horror film dissolve. What follows is an unremitting assault on your nerves sans spooky music that gives away the better jolts. The creepy setting is finally original. The characters face more than just mutated ruins-dwellers. The ending left a hopeless taste in my mouth (that is usually not the case). And thankfully, it’s not a found footage film!!

Now, who says horror isn’t educational? After an hour and a half of thinking “get the heck outta there,” at the characters, my zomblings could not wait to revisit Chernobylthrough the internet and library books. The movie sparked an interest in the geography, the history, and the science behind the disaster. Chernobyl Diaries motivated their interest in learning far better than any textbook or classroom lesson. Go Horror! I think that’s pretty awesome!

Something’s coming!

The Recipe: Makiwnyk is the traditional poppy seed cake ofUkraine. I took the customary ingredients found in the cake and transformed them into airy lemon-glazed Makiwnyk cupcakes. Not only is the glaze refreshingly tart, it also serves as a tasty adhesive for the radioactive fondant symbols atop each treat. The best part is that you don’t have to be an expert in fondant to create the decorations because the design is fairly simple.

Tips for Success: Make the lemony glaze while the cupcakes bake. Prepare the fondant decorations a day or two ahead.

Nuclear Makiwnyk (Poppyseed) Cupcakes

(Makes 22-24 radioactive goodies)

Ingredients:

3 c cake flour

2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter

5 eggs (room temp, please)

2 1/3 c sugar

¼ tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

1 c sour cream or crème fraiche

1 tsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp lemon zest

2 Tbsp poppy seeds

1 tsp cinnamon

Liners: radioactive green or yellow

Topping: Makiwnyk (lemon) Glaze

Decoration: Nuclear Symbol

How To Make Em:

Obligatory Reminder: Prep pans with cupcake liners and coat sparingly with non-stick baking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Beat the butter and sugar into creamy submission using your hand mixer or stand mixer.

2. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the sour cream/crème fraiche by hand.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the boring stuff: flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the creamed mixture by hand or mixer until well combined.

4. Gently mix in the cinnamon, lemon juice, zest, and poppy seeds.

5. Fill each cupcake cavity about ¾ full. Bake 15-18 minutes in 350 degrees oven. Always do the toothpick-poke check before pulling them out of the oven. If the toothpick emerges clean from the center of a cupcake, it is done.

6. Cool. Glaze. Decorate.

 Deadgirl Makiwnyk Glaze

 (Enough to cover 22-24 radioactive goodies)

Ingredients:

3 ½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 ½ c powdered sugar 

How To Make It:

1. Whisk the two sticky ingredients together until the sugar is fully dissolved and it resembles a syrup.

2. Brush or drizzle over the tops of the cooled cupcakes.

3. Place the decorations atop each cupcake before the glaze dries.

Fondant Radioactive Symbol

1 batch white fondant (storebought or homemade)

Yellow icing color

Black icing color

Tools: toothpicks, rolling pin (silicone or otherwise), silicone mat or tabletop, extra powdered sugar or cornstarch, craft cutting knife or fondant cutting knife, standard circle cookie cutter

**First off, I don’t have any money to spend on fancy-schmancy cake decorating supplies so in true DIY anarchy style-I use what I have around my kitchen.

**Also, I don’t buy packaged fondant because it tastes disgusting to me and where’s the DIY rebellion in that? I prefer to make my own. On our next traveling adventure, I will post a recipe for homemade marshmallow fondant. Much yummier!!

Doin’ it Deadgirl Style

How To Make Em:

1. Dust your work surface or mat with loads of powdered sugar/cornstarch.

2. Using a toothpick to add the color, tint ½ of the fondant yellow and ½ of the fondant black.

Alternative: There are always more than one way to skin a cat, my dearies. Black fondant is a pain to achieve. If you are patience-challenged like me, cut down your time by simply leaving the other half white and paint on the black icing color after the decos have been assembled. I did this, and it worked fabulously.

3. Roll out the yellow fondant thin and cut out as many circles as you can with your circle cutter. Place each circle atop a cupcake.

4. Using your craft knife or your overpriced fondant tool, cut radioactive symbols from the black (or white) fondant. See my example below for an awesome visual or Google it.

5. Using a dab of leftover glaze or a small bit of water + powdered sugar/cornstarch, adhere your small symbols to the yellow circle.

*If you are painting on the black color, use a fine brand new art or candy making paint brush.

Voila! You are set for a radioactive night of horror film watching!!! Enjoy!

Upcoming Travels: Another Friday the 13th means another group meeting with my Main Man, Jason Voorhees. We’ll be watching Friday the 13th Part 4 (my absolute favorite in the series) and munching on Hockey Mask Scotcheroos!

TrueBlood’s Sookie Stackhouse: Luscious Lemon Fairy Cakes

TrueBlood. It all began with a book-as it usually does for me-Charlaine Harris’ Dead until Dark. Through the narration of the delightfully witty commonplace waitress, Sookie Stackhouse, Harris opens the closet door, outing all sorts of supernaturalism-vampires, weres, shifters, demons, fairies, witches, and mythical maenads. Definitely a Deadgirl kind of novel!

Then HBO came along and made it into a naughty Grindhouse-esque supernatural soap opera. Again, I’m not complaining as I’ve never been one to turn down a horror film just because of some sleazy exploitation, but really, the plotlines do mirror those typically found in The Young and The Restless.

My Screen Rant: My summers have become synonymous with another season of TrueBlood. This year, I’m glad to see we are over the dreadful lovesick Viking plotline with Eric Northman and back to some cool, calculated vampiric bloodshed. With the vampire Authority stepping up, rebel Russell Edgington eating himself back to health, and fiesty Tara reeking havoc as a freshly turned bloodsucker, things around Bon Temps are bound to get a bit…messy. And no amount of air-condition cranking can ever cool down the simmering antics of one Miss Sookie Stackhouse.

      

A bloody good reason to tune in Sunday nights this summer

The Recipe: These lemon cupcakes are as sassy, luscious, and tart asLouisiana’s favorite fairy, Sookie Stackhouse. Miss Stackhouse is always full of delicious surprises, so of course I added a generous dose of homemade and hand-forged lemon curd to these unbelievably light treats. Cap them with an equally blond dose of lemony buttercream or leftover lemon curd and adorn with a fresh summer strawberry just ripe for the pickin, and you have the prettiest little dessert a Deadgirl could ever concoct.

Luscious Lemon Fairy Cupcakes

(makes 22-24 pretty pixies)

Ingredients:

3 cups cake flour

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter (soft as fairy skin)

4 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

¾ c milk

¼ c lemon juice or fresh juice from 2 lemons

Zest from 1 lemon

Lemon curd (recipe to follow)

Lemon Buttercream (optional)

Strawberries to garnish

Cupcake liners: lemon yellow, red and white checked, or other cutesy summer print-BLAH

How to Make Em:

Obligatory Reminder: Spray cupcake liners with non stick baking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Beat butter and sugar into creamy submission with your hand or stand mixer. I always use my hand mixer for that ultimately personal experience hehe!

2. Crack the eggs into the mix, one at a time, beating again after each addition.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, and milk. Set aside.

4. In another bowl, combine the boring stuff: cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

5. Stir  the dry boring ingredients into the creamed mix alternately with the lemony liquids. I always incorporate them with a rubber spatula for that hand-forged quality, but feel free to use your hand mixer or stand mixer again. Low to medium speed, please.

6. Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake cavity about ¾ full for full figured buxom blond results and bake about 15-20 mins at 350 degrees.

Adorn: Dollop with lemon curd or pipe on the lemon buttercream frosting. Complete the look with a whole or sliced fresh strawberry. Eat up, bloodsuckers!

Hand-Forged Lemon Curd

(Fills 22-24 cupcakes; make a double batch if you are replacing curd for the frosting) 

Ingredients:

1/3 c sugar

3 Tbsp butter

3 egg yolks

2 Tbsp lemon juice or fresh squeezed juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 lemon

Wooden spoon, plastic wrap, bismark tip and pastry bag

How to Make It:

1. Add all the ingredients into a medium saucepan on your stovetop.

2. On low heat, use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until the sugar has disintegrated and the butter is completely melted.

3. Cook about 15 more minutes until the curd thickens. The mixture should coat the back of your spoon nicely without dripping off like oozing vampire skin scorched by the sun.

4. Allow the curd to cool slightly then fill your cupcakes with a bismark tip. The curd also acts as a lovely alternative to overly sweet buttercream frosting. Just remember to make a double batch!

5. To store leftover curd: add leftovers to a bowl and cover the surface of the curd with a piece of plastic wrap to avoid a yucky skin from forming.

lemon curd sticking to the spoon like it’s s’pose to

Lemon ButterScream Frosting

(Caps 22-24 pretty pixies) 

Ingredients:

1 pound bag of powdered sugar + an extra cup or two

1 cup butter (soft like fairy skin)

½ tsp salt

¼-1/2 whipping cream

3 Tbsp lemon juice or the fresh squeezed juice from about 3 lemons

1 tsp lemon zest

How To Make It:

1. Beat the butter, salt, lemon juice, cream, and zest into creamy submission with your hand or stand mixer.

2. Slowly add the powdered sugar a cup at a time to the mix. I always start with a one pound bag on low-medium speed and then add more until I get the desired thickness I need to pipe on to my cupcakes.

3. After the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost with your terrifically tart frosting. Adorn with a fresh ripe strawberry.