To commemorate the radiation plume now hovering over Southern California, I present you with my very own Radiation Cupcake.
Chocolate radiation cupcakes, to be precise.
These didn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped. The green frosting, in particular, wasn’t the neon shade I had in mind. But when do things ever turn out exactly as you planned? Exactly. You work with what you have.
The cupcakes are chocolate layer cake, courtesy of Mark Bittman, of course:
one stick butter, softened
2 cups flour
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I only had semi-sweet, and this worked fine)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups milk
Preheat the oven to 350 and put your cupcake papers in your muffin tin.
Chop the chocolate roughly and slowly melt it in a double boiler or a saucepan set over a smaller pan of simmering water. Take your time with this — the chocolate will eventually melt. Stir to help it along.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth, and gradually add the sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, then the vanilla, and then the chocolate.
Mix together the flour and other dry ingredients and add them to the chocolate mixture a little at a time by hand, alternating with the milk. Stir until smooth, but no longer.
In another small bowl, use your mixer to beat the egg whites until they turn into stiff peaks and gently fold this fluff into the batter.
Pour into the tins, almost to the top of the paper cupcake cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the tin for five minutes or so, then transfer the cupcakes to a rack.
These are delicious even without the frosting – not too sweet, with a lovely, double-whammy “layered” taste.
But the kids are gonna want green frosting. So:
Radioactive frosting. I used the recipe on the back of the box of powdered sugar.
One stick of butter, softened
One box (or a little less) of powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
one or two drops of green food coloring
When the cupcakes are completely cool to the touch, frost them with abandon. Sprinkle your choice of silver jimmies on top, or feel free to make your own little tinfoil hat to alight atop your cupcake.
Allow everyone back into the kitchen.
Now don’t take this as making light of the Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami/nuclear reactor meltdown tragedies. I have friends and family in Japan, and nobody is smiling. Nor am I one of the panicked running out to stockpile iodide pills. I don’t know who to believe regarding radiation levels in Southern California, but I console myself with the knowledge that we’re already taking in so many toxins from the nearby Port of L.A. what harm can a little more radiation do to us?
It’s an unsettling situation. Especially since we here in Southern California are sitting here waiting for our own Big One. But what can you do?
Make a donation to relief efforts via the American Red Cross, to start.
And then you need to make cupcakes.
Update: OMG try these cupcakes with cashew nut butter on top instead of frosting…WOW!