Zombieland: Tallahassee “Twinkie” Snack Cakes

                                                                      For Twinkie lovers, it’s not the end of the world.      

Good news! We survived two potential apocalypses in 2012- The predicted rapture of May 21st (or 22nd?) and the Mayan Calendar Ending Event of December 21st. Unfortunately, one catastrophe we could not avoid was the demise of one beloved iconic American classic, the Hostess snack cake. This calamity will forever be known as The Twinkie Apocalypse.

ZOMBIELAND-zombieland-20358731-1280-1024

With all the apocalypse craziness erupting all over the year 2012, one scary baker cannot help but be reminded of the zombie apocalypse that strikes the world in the horror comedy, Zombieland. And with the downfall of our dearly coveted snack cakes, who could not seriously think of the surly zombie stomper, Tallahassee, as he rumbles across America not only beating zombie arse, but looking for a gosh darn Twinkie to munch.Twinkies+Discountinued.+I+feel+for+you+Tallahassee+I+really+do_4cb594_4241098

 

Perhaps this movie is some sort of prophetic vision brought to us by the luminous minds of Zombieland writers, Reese and Wernick? With Twinkies and Ding Dongs and HoHos now extinct, will 2013 be the year of infection??  If so, I urge you to polish off your dust-collecting copy of Zombieland and view it not only for its dashing entertainment, but also as a preparation guide for bad days to come.

 

Here are a few of my favorite “rules” outlined by Columbus and how I’m applying them to MY life as the possible Year of Infection looms ahead…

 

car locked zombieland #1 The Double Tap: Got your gun? No matter your politics or personal philosophies about gun use and ownership, it sure will be nice to have one when the zombies come…

#2 Cardio and #18 Limber Up: I’ve made a commitment to get healthy this year and it can’t happen without a few rounds of good ole exercise. I want to be able to outrun whatever wants to eat me.

#3 Beware of Bathrooms: I’ve seen what can be lurking behind the bathroom door, and it’s not pretty. I’m committed to passing on the dirty job of keeping a clean bathroom to the hubby.

#8 Get a Kick Ass Partner: I found mine 16 years ago.

#32 Enjoy the Little Things: Like sugar. And good treats. All in moderation, of course.supermarket zombieland

 

The Recipe: You don’t have to pay a gazillion dollars on EBay or travel half the country to recover the last Twinkie when you can bake your own! Undoubtedly, the homemade version tastes a bit cleaner, a bit lighter, and so much more delectable than the stale ones you are likely to find in some snack cake hoarder’s cabinet. In the case of a true zombie apocalypse occurring, I recommend you bake some every couple of months and freeze em. Just remember, defrost before filling them with the also hand-forged creamy marshmallow fluff.

Oh yeah, and you will need a Twinkie-shaped cavity pan to make these. They are popping up all over kitchen stores everywhere and can be found online. Give it a Google and see what you can find…

 

Tallahassee “Twinkie” Snack Cakes November 2012 033

(Fills 8 cavity pan )

Ingredients:

1cup + 2 Tbsp flour, 1 1/8 tsp baking powder (aluminum free, if you please), 1/4 tsp salt,  3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar, ½ cup milk, 1 ½ tsp vanilla, 1 egg + 1 egg white, 1 stick butter (softened to room temp), 1 recipe Deadgirl Marshmallow Fluff, Twinkie-shaped cavity pan

 

How to Make em:

Note: If you don’t want a super snack cake snarly mess when you try to get them out of the pan, I highly recommend spraying the cavities thoroughly with baking spray and adding a touch of flour to each cavity. Also, do NOT overfill. This just causes major headaches. I speak from experience…

In a mixing bowl or bowl of standing mixer, beat together the butter and sugar with your hand mixer or stand mixer into a creamy submission. Add the egg and egg white and beat well. In another small bowl, pour together the milk and vanilla. In another medium bowl, sift together the dry boring stuff-flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry boring stuff alternately with the milk mix to the submissive creamed mix and continue mixing on low speed.

Fill the pan cavities barely ½ full and bake for about 12-15 minutes on 350 degrees. Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely and fill with the fluff.

 

November 2012 034Deadgirl Marshmallow Fluff         

(Fills 8 Snack Cakes )

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup marshmallow fluff, 1 ¼ cup all-veggie shortening, 1 Tbsp vanilla, 1 cup powdered sugar, pastry bag and pastry filling tip

How to Make It:

In a mixing bowl or bowl of standing mixer, beat together the fluff and shortening with your hand mixer or stand mixer into a creamy submission. Switch to low speed and add the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar slowly and continuing beating into fluffy submission.

Fit your pastry a pastry filling tube. Once the snack cakes are completely cooled, fill each snack cake until you feel just a bit of resistance. You don’t want fluff bursting out the sides and top of your cake so experiment with the right amount of pressure with the greatest of care.

November 2012 029     Happy 2013 and remember to Enjoy the Little Things!

28 Days Later: Infected Brain Strawberry Cupcakes

What do you get when you cross non-stop televised violence and gore with a rather adorable chimpanzee? Apparently, 28 days later you get a second British Invasion of the worst kind…

Is 28 Days Later a true zombie movie? I’ve heard both sides of the case. Some argue that it is a smart, fast-paced ride through zombie film territory while others will argue that it’s only an outbreak film with nods to the most terrifying aspects of “real” zombies (relentless and nearly unstoppable in their pursuit to consume flesh).

Why all the commotion? Why must we divide everything into sub-genre camps? To me, a zombie is a zombie is a zombie. Do you eat other people?  Will you chase me down like a cheetah or shuffle after me? Are you used-to-be-dead, mindless, and robotic or considered still alive and full of impulsive rage?  Doesn’t matter to me how you got like that. It could be supernatural phenomena, a mysterious comet flying over the earth, or your everyday rage virus. If you want my brain, leg, arm, etc. for a midday snack, and nothing but fire or a gunshot blast to the head will stop you then zombie I shall call you.

 (A disorientated Jim runs from a blazing rager)

My Screen Rant: 28 Days Later messed with me. Released in 2002 before The Walking Dead ever saw the public light of day, this film helped jumpstart another new wave of interest in modern day zombies. It definitely caught my attention! When Jim, the bike courier (played by the marvelous Cillian Murphy), awakens from a coma in a deserted hospital and stumbles out into empty London streets, he has no idea what he faces. As a viewer, I was pretty much aware that some kind of vengeful virus had infected everyone, but the level of anger and violence in the infected had me gritting my teeth with each of Jim’s encounters. As if battling raging flesh-eaters isn’t enough, Jim and his tiny group of mismatched survivors also must bear the brutality of the uninfected; those with the responsibility and means to save, protect, and endure. It had me squirming in my own naivety. It had me asking could this happen? What will I do when it happens? How equipped am I for a sudden rage outbreak, mysterious comet, or supernatural phenomena? I questioned how we will behave as surviving human beings of such a catastrophe. My answers are not comforting. Are you prepared?

                                                           (Jim wanders a deserted London)

The Recipe: A zombie bit my cupcake! Ever imagine what an infected brain looks like after a zombie takes a chomp? Probably not as gorily appetizing as the batch of bad brains I recently made for a horror-iffic senior class study group atRalstonHigh School. The kids voted on my ultimate favorite chocolate macabre flavor, but typically I would make these with a scary good strawberry cake (that I’ve been told looks like messy brain matter while unbaked-you decide if that’s bad or good!) Strawberry cake goes so well with the rich, darkened strawberry sauce oozing from the tainted frontal lobes.

Below you will find the recipes for the cake, the strawberry sauce, and the decorating! Have fun!!

Strawberry Brain Matter Cupcakes

(Makes an oozy batch of 18-24)

Ingredients:

2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter

4 eggs

2 ¾ C cake flour

1 ½ C sugar

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

12 ounces frozen sliced strawberries in their syrup (thaw them first, but do not rinse)

¼ tsp red food coloring (for a gory effect)

White baking cups

How to Make em:

Obligatory Reminder: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep the pan by adding the baking cups and spraying lightly with nonstick baking spray.

1. Start by pureeing the strawberries and their syrup in a food processor or blender until smooth. Set aside.

2. Beat the butter and sugar into creamy submission on low with your stand/hand mixer.

3. Add about a cup and a half of the strawberry puree to your creamed mixture along with your eggs, one at time. Mix well.

4. In a small bowl, add flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add to the creamed mixture.

5. Finish with the food coloring and add the batter 2/3 cup to each muffin cavity.

6. Bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  (Always check cupcakes with a tester pokey thing for clingy batter).

Oozing Strawberry Sauce

Ingredients:

1 C strawberry jam

2 Tbsp sugar

½ tsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp or more of cornstarch

Red and black food coloring

How to Make It:

1. Mix the jam, sugar, and lemon juice in a small bowl.

2. Add a few small drops of red food coloring. Add a toothpick dip of black food coloring. Beware: black food coloring can alter the taste of your sauce so please use sparingly!! You want gory good not gory gross. If you don’t’ have black food coloring, don’t sweat it. Red will do, but the black adds effect.

3. Add cornstarch tablespoon at a time until you get pasty jam still thin enough to drip/spread. (Too thick? Add a drip of water).

**Set aside until ready to decorate. This mixture may be refrigerated, but I suggest using it pretty quick.

Infected Brain Cupcake Decorating

Ingredients/Things You Need:

White frosting (Your own 3-4 cups of buttercream or canned icing. You will need at least two cans of white).

Red and black food coloring

2 decorating bags

#10 and #12 round decorating tips (#10 for decorating and #12 for the strawberry sauce)

How to Make Em:

1. Make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled or you will have melting brains instead.

2. Prepare your frosting. Using a toothpick, add the food coloring a little at a time until you get a suitable “brainy” hue.

3. Fit your pastry bag with the #10 decorating tip. Add frosting to the bag.

4. Start by piping a vertical line sort of off center. Zigzag side to side your way back down the surface of the cupcake, but do not drag the tip along the cake top. Repeat on the other side of the brain. Continue braining all your cupcakes.

5. Fit another pastry bag with the #12 round tip. Fill with the strawberry sauce. I added the sauce to all areas of the brain that remained exposed-those unsightly brain gaps…

**A spoon to drizzle the sauce around and over the brains would also be quite effective if you prefer.

 (Brains! Brains!)           (Oozing infection)