Cupcakes and Zombie Brain Substitute

I love to cook, but am terrible at following recipes. Usually because I do not plan ahead AT ALL. For awhile I was really really good at making a menu, then a shopping list based on what was on the menu. And by awhile, I mean like a month. Having all the ingredients I need is just way too easy. I’m a Mainer for christsakes, if I’m not improvising something at least once a day, I feel incomplete. Messing around with nearly every recipe I encounter has resulted in some epic wins, and some epic fails. The other weekend I made cupcakes with Kid, and they were both an epic win AND an epic fail, but then turned into an epic win again. We also learned some important life lessons about following/not following directions. As in, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but either way you usually end up at the goddamned grocery store.

Kid got this really cute kid’s cooking set for Xmas, complete with wisk, tiny cupcake pan and apron. Too cute. How could I deny her early morning cupcakes? I was all, “Yes! Let’s Do It!” and looked up Martha Stewart’s recipe for chocolate cupcakes. *I fucking love Martha Stewart*, with total disregard to protocol i.e. checking to see if I have all the ingredients I need before I start cooking, we dove right in. Then I realized I did not have enough cocoa powder. Like, I had 1/3 of a cup and it called for 1 cup. That’s not just a slight oversight. Since I mess around with recipes constantly, I immediately decided to substitute the cocoa powder with melted chocolate chips. Knowing that doing so I will have to adjust the amount of fat and sugar in the recipe, that just so happened to call for 3 sticks of butter, which I thought was a bit excessive anyway, so I cut out a stick, and scaled back on sugar. Without further adieu, here’s my new and improved cupcake recipe – the bastard child of Martha’s Chocolate Cupcakes from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook.

Kate’s Use What You’ve Got Cupcakes:

2 Cups cake flour
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. salt
1 Cup (2 sticks) butter – Room temp or nuked for 10-15 seconds.
1 Cup of Sugar
5 eggs
2 Tsps. vanilla extract
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Melted Choc. Chips and cooled down but still spreadable. Basically you don’t want them to cook your eggs. Use your judgement. I trust you.

1. Preheat Oven to 350. Get your cupcake pans ready. Now, I used a little tiny kid pan that yield: 6 cupcakes PLUS one big tiny cupcake pan (does that make sense?) yield 24 and one big pan Yield 12. I used liners in most of them, I totally ran out of little ones and didn’t have any big ones. If you don’t have any liners, just spray the hell out of the pan with Pam.

Paper Liners in Mini Cake Pan
Awww. Tiny Cupcakes!

2. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt. Kids love this part.

3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. You should be using a mixer for this btw. After mixed well add melted chips.

"A mixa mixa mixa" If you don't watch Blue's Clue's you'll have no idea what that's all about...

4. Now, add 1 cup flour mixture and blend on low. Then add 1/2 your buttermilk, then add the rest in this order: Flour, buttermilk, flour. You have to do it this way. I’ve tried to skip it, and it just fails. So, just do it.

Filled Cupcake Tins
MMMMM! Keep your fingers outta there!

5. Fill muffin tins about 2/3 way to the top. Bake about 25-30 mins. If you are using small pans I’d check them after 10 minutes or so. Insert toothpick, if it comes out clean, they’re done. If you start to smell a burning smell, you have failed. Don’t wait till you get that far.

Let me tell you, these cupcakes didn’t puff up much, probably because I made my own buttermilk (milk+lemon juice = buttermilk) but, they were out of this world. More like little brownie bite things. Just fantastic if I do say so myself.

Next we needed to make frosting, right? Kid wanted “Strawberry Pink.” No problem! I’m on a fucking roll! Last year I successfully made pink cream cheese frosting by using just a bit of nuked frozen raspberries. I’m not a super big fan of food coloring. Anyhow, I got a bit cocky and did the following:

1 Cup mashed strawberries
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 Stick Butter

If you cook at all you know that this is going to fail. The mess that resulted looked EXACTLY what comes out of exploding Zombie heads.

Frosting or Brains?
Zombie Brains, or failed frosting?

Seriously, I included the recipe for the soul purpose of people using it for their zombie killing theme parties and home movies. What? You know you’re going to. Anyhow, good for special effects = bad for frosting. I ended up going to the store and getting cream cheese and doing this:

1 C. Cream Cheese
2 C Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup strawberries mashed and (this is key- DRAINED)

Though it was a bit runnier than my usual frosting, it was AMAZING. What we ended up with were brownie like cupcakes frosted with what tasted like melted strawberry ice cream.

Kate's Use What You've Got Cupcakes
Not super pretty, but super yummy. They're pretty on the inside. Inside my belly, that is.

Out of this world. Give them a try! If you do, let me know how they worked out, I totally could have fucked up the measurements, I cobbled this post together with photos and some old string.

10 thoughts on “Cupcakes and Zombie Brain Substitute

  1. Just some old string? No duct tape? LOL!

    They look pretty good! And if it weren’t for this trying to eat healthy diet thing I’d be making them tonight!

  2. if you take off the paper and let the runny frosting drip over, it looks like glaze, therefore the old Julia Child save of ” tell them they were supposed to be this way”!

    1. Ma, the big ones didn’t have paper on them. My house is so cold it hardened up nicely though. Super good. You should make some for the old people.

  3. I’m guessing mimi is Mom? 😀 LOL!

    Zombie brains…yummmers. Too bad I have food nazis for brats. Although, I could probably sell Mr. SwearPants on the zombie brains. He’s a little weird like that.

    1. Yup, that’s my mom! Love her. Now that she’s figured out how to comment, this blog might get some new traffic just to see our back and forth in the comments. I learned from the best.

  4. I think all your blog posts should include a recipe. This was terribly entertaining. FYI you can always get ingredients from your neighbors (IB and I raid each others pantries all the time); I waaay overboard cocoa last month. lastly, I’m stealing your quote about improving Mainers.

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