Monday, November 2, 2009
Alice's Eat Me Cakes
Oh, Alice. How many mishaps will you get into? Won't you ever learn that eating something that has been sitting around in a strange place may be a bad idea?
I love love love the way that Ms. Alice, of In Wonderland fame, gets to eat and drink her way through the fantabulous place in which she finds herself. I love that she finds a jar of marmalade when she's falling down the rabbit hole - even if it was empty - and the chocolates as prizes in the caucus race, and don't get me started on the Mad Tea Party. But my favorite thing of all was the Eat Me cakes and Drink Me bottles.
One of the most fun things about Alice in Wonderland, I think, is that there is very little description given, but we get amazing mental pictures, anyway. You know, there is no physical description of the Mad Hatter or the March Hare at all? Or, for that matter, of Alice - the blond girl in the blue dress and pinafore that we associate with Alice are partly due to the illustrations of Sir John Tenniel, the original illustrator, and partly Disney's fault. Alice Liddell, the inspiration for the title character, actually had dark brown hair.
So, because the cakes have no description, excepting that they have Eat Me "beautifully marked in currants," I've decided that I could do pretty much whatever I wanted with them. And since it's Wonderland, how about something a little different? It could be anything! What sounds good today? Hmm... chocolate, always. And how about, oh, I don't know.... orange frosting? Why not?!
Also - because I don't have currants, and am not particularly fond of them anyway, I'm going to use craisins. They're pretty, and tasty, and go well with orange, both in color and in flavor. One last note: I'm aware that "cakes" in the time that this book was written may very well refer to "tea cakes" which are actually scones or cookies, rather than cupcakes, but... it's Wonderland! My apologies for the not-the-best photo, but my penmanship in craisin-form leaves much to be desired. I'll practice for next time.
Alice's Eat Me Cakes
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
2 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup sour milk (or, milk with 1 tsp. white vinegar mixed in, and left to sit for 10 minutes)
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Put cupcake papers into muffin tins - this recipe made me 31 cupcakes.
2. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate, butter and water in 30-second bursts, stirring after each time, until chocolate is smooth. Allow this mixture to come to room temperature.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and soda. Pour in the sour milk and soda and mix. Mix in the chocolate mixture, and pour into the muffin cups.
4. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Frost with the frosting of your choice - I prefer Orange Buttercream - and decorate!
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp. orange juice
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange extract
1. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter, 3 cups of the sugar and the salt until smooth. Add the orange juice, corn syrup, and the extracts, and beat until well mixed. Add food coloring as needed to make it whatever color you like - even with the juice, it's a pale, creamy color without coloring.
You can use a stand-mixer for this, but it's hard to get everything all the way on the bottom of the bowl that way. I like to use a hand mixer, because it's quick and easy, and fresh-made frosting tastes so much better than the stuff you buy in a can!
So, today's recipe blog is a two-fer, and I really like this one. I'd make it again... maybe with polka dots, next time. Because it makes so many cupcakes, I thought I'd show you roughly what size one cupcake is. And - double bonus!! - you get to see my hand, too!