Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Emperor's New Groove: Yzma Cupcakes

Disney movies have left me a bit cold recently. And, yes, that's a Frozen pun. Shut up about it.

I miss the days of hand-drawn cartoons with great music and characters with unique views on life. Pixar did show me that computer animation has it's place, but now is spitting up reboot after sad reboot. Yes, I loved Nemo and The Incredibles, but do we really want to give them the chance to ruin something so great? Isn't this the same studio that's pumping out Cars 4

Remember a time when you didn't walk into a Disney movie already wincing? Whenever I see a new ad or preview, I have to give a little prayer to the animation gods: "Man, I hope this isn't completely horrible." It depresses me that this is a constant reaction to what is produced now-a-days. You've got some good movies, but not great movies. I'll still watch it, but I know that it's not going to be another Lion King.

To be fair, I have this opinion about everything now that I'm closer to 30 than to 20. Nostalgia value, right? I am big enough to admit that most of my favourite childhood infatuations were absolute shit, though. Try sitting through Rock-a-Doodle. I dare you.

At Emerald City Comic Con last month, a duo of cosplayers reminded me of a great Disney movie from my past. At the time,  I was a brooding teenager, who went to the theatre with my not-yet double-digit sister. It was one of the last colourful hand-drawn Disney animations. And, god helped me, I still love it.

Eric of Coregeek creates some amazing props and costumes. You're going to have to check out the Loki armour he produced as well - I am, by no means, a Loki fan, but that costume was the best trickster god at ECCC.  Not only that, the entire Coregeek family gets involved with most everything that comes out of that evil laboratory. Father/Daughter as Kronk/Yzma? This, my friends, is truly the bee's knees. It melts my cold, Disney-shunning heart.  

Make sure you keep tabs on this amazing cosplay family through the Coregeek Cosplay & Creations Facebook page. The photo above comes from Tran Imaging.

Now, let's celebrate this amazing cosplay with cupcakes. PULL THE LEVER!

Ymza Cupcakes
makes just over 2 dozen (~27) mini cupcakes, or 9 regular cupcakes

1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup strong coffee or espresso
1 large egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cups sugar
1 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/8-1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional - add to suit your own tastes)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat your oven to 350F. Chop up your bittersweet chocolate and melt it into your strong coffee. Make sure to stir so that there are no large bits of chocolate left. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, chili powder (if you are using it) and salt. Set aside.

2) In a large bowl with a mixer, whip up the eggs for about 3 minutes - until they're fluffy, pale in colour, and almost doubled in volume. One at a time, add the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix while adding to make sure everything is incorporated. Add the chocolate/coffee mixture and beat until everything is evenly mixed. 

3) With a wooden spoon, stir in your dry ingredients until just combined - do not overmix! Pour a large spoonful of the batter into each cupcake liner - 1 Tablespoon each for mini cupcakes, 3 Tablespoons for regular cupcakes. Bake for 15-17 minutes (minis) or  20-25 minutes (regular), or until your cake tester comes out clean. Set out to cool before icing and filling.

Dulce de Leche filling
1 can (14 oz) of condensed milk
couple pinches of sea salt

1) Preheat your oven to 425F. Pour your condensed milk into a pie plate and sprinkle with the sea salt. Put in a larger pan, so you can use it as a water bath while it's cooking. Fill the larger pan half full with water, and carefully set your pie plate in it. Cover the whole shebang with aluminum foil, and put it in the oven for about an hour.

2) At the end of the hour, carefully take out the pan and give it a good stir. Put it in for another half hour, or until the condensed milk has thickened and taken on a nice caramel colour. 

3) Core your cooled cupcakes and spoon some of your homemade dulce de leche right into it. 

Vanilla Swiss Buttercream
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup butter, softened and cubed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2  vanilla bean
Purple food colouring gel

1) Place egg whites and sugar in a double boiler. With the water simmering, whisk the whites until the sugar grains have all disintegrated. 

2) Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl, careful not to drip any water into the eggs. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs until they form stiff, glossy peaks. Reduce the mixer speed, and slowly add the butter, one small cubed at a time. Mix until it seems like your mixture has begun to curdle (don't worry, it hasn't!) and then keep mixing until smooth. This will take quite a while, but don't give up!

3) After smooth, add the vanilla extract, the scrapings of your vanilla bean, and a small amount of your purple food colouring gel. Pipe on top of cooled cupcakes. 

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