Lovecraft Week: Tentacle-Tastic Salted Mountain Dew Cupcakes
Gamers, our new baking minion has heard your cries for more caffeinated, geek-tastic baked goods. She knows you love Mountain Dew, salty snacks, and tentacles. So many tentacles. Therefore, she’s combined the three into a Lovecraftian cupcake that will keep you up all night as you play the darkest levels of your horror games.
Lovecraftian Salted Mountain Dew Tentacle Cupcakes
By Silvia Sellerio
Batter (doses for 14-16 cupcakes)
6 Tbsp butter
1 1/4 regular (all-purpose) flour
1 12 oz can or bottle Mountain Dew Energy Drink, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 egg + 1 egg white, room temperature
1/2 tsp lime extract
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt*
* I made my cupcakes deliberately saltier than usual by using 1/2 tsp salt, to reinforce the connection with sea-dwelling Cthulhu. This is fitting to the theme but a bit extreme, so unless you know you’ll be serving fellow cultists, you may want to settle for 1/4 tsp.
Frosting of your choice (plain buttercream, cream cheese icing, or white chocolate ganache)
Fondant or plastic chocolate
Food coloring in blue, red and yellow
Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
To make the batter: cream the butter and sugar with you mixer (stand mixer or hand-held are both fine.)
Sift the flour and measure 1 + 1/4 cup, unpacked (meaning: just spoon the flour into your cup without pressing it down, then level it.) Put the flour in a separate bowl and whisk into it the baking powder and salt.
In yet another bowl, whisk the egg and the extra egg white with the buttermilk, lime extract, and 1/2 cup Mountain Dew.
Add the liquid and dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mix little by little, alternating between the two, and keep mixing until combined. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl from time to time!
Line a muffin pan with cupcake wrappers and fill them up to 3/4 with the batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes. (Be sure to test for doneness after 15 minutes or so. Mine were done at 18′.)
Let the cupcakes cool in the muffin pan, then carefully pull them out. You can brush some of the leftover Mountain Dew on the surface if you want the soda flavor to really shine!
When the stars are right and the cupcakes have cooled down, tint your frosting with a few drops of blue food coloring, and thin it down to the right consistency if necessary by adding a few drops of Mountain Dew.
Tint most of the fondant green, and some of it purple. (You can use plastic chocolate if you prefer; the advantage is that unlike fondant, it requires zero drying time. I used lemon-flavored fondant, which goes especially well with the Mountain Dew – but since I was in a a hurry, you can see my tentacles are a bit on the floppy side…)
For each cupcake you’re going to decorate, take 5 nut-sized balls out of your green fondant. They don’t need to be exactly the same dimension; actually it is better if they’re different sizes! Manipulate each green ball into a teardrop shape, then roll it on a flat surface to elongate it, allowing it to taper at one end. Lo! Tentacles!
Make tiny balls out of the purple fondant and stick them to one side of each tentacle. Try not to be too neat; it will make the suction cups look more natural. Push into the center of each tiny purple ball with the smaller end of a ball tool (or something similar, like a paintbrush handle.) This will serve to both shape the suction cups and attach them to the tentacle.
Arrange your tentacles, trying to make them look as if Cthulhu is rising from sunken R’lyeh at last. Bend and twist them as you please!
If your tentacles are plastic chocolate, you can pipe some blue frosting around each cupcake’s circumference, and plop them in the middle right away. If you modeled them out of fondant, it will need to dry – use bits of aluminum foil to prop them up in the desired way. Once your bouquets o’tentacles are set, you can likewise place them on the cupcakes! And if you’re feeling extra fancy, you can go on and sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on the frosting too…
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