Saturday, September 7, 2013

Portal Mini Cakes

I don't play a lot of video games. Because of this, I feel a little left out of geek culture sometimes. I gobble up comic books and board games and cosplay stuff, but I'm always in the dark when people around me start talking about what they got during the latest Steam sale.

This has never been so evident as when I visited West Coast Geeks vs Nerds at our local nerd bar, EXP, when they hosted a video game trivia night. Mr. C, my two best buds, and I formed Team SkyrimJob and felt semi-confident about our skills. I had watched hours upon hours of Do You Know Gaming? beforehand, hoping that something would sink in.

Nothing did, as it turned out. We came in dead last. At least the Lord High Mooman felt bad for us and gave us a pitty prize.

I have great respect for the people who devour games. I find the majority of them too much for my anxious little brain to handle. Even Kingdom Hearts made me a bit too high strung. I remember trying Left 4 Dead once, which just consisted of me panicking for an hour and a half ("OH GOD WHAT'S THAT WHY IS IT DOING THAT I'M JUST GOING TO STAND IN THE CORNER HERE AND NOT MOVE"). Co-op games are usually fine - Balder's Gate and X-Men Legends were favourites during university - but I am usually the character who stood in back and fired off wave after wave of DPS. If the enemy got anywhere close, I would panic and run. Much to the chagrin of my fellow players.

Now I'm perfectly content to sit and watch Mr. C play. This way, I get to experience the game without needing to go through the hysteria of fighting stuff and dying constantly.

Video game cake is a different matter altogether. The most famous of all is the one that appeared in Portal - a chocolate promise at the end of the game that makes the whole ordeal worth it. Even if it is a lie.

Mini Portal Cakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart and Snack or Die
Makes about 16 mini cakes

3/4 cups butter
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 sour cream

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With your mixer, whip together your butter and sugar until nice and light. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat until fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix a few more times. Sift in your dry ingredients - cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt - and stir with a wooden spoon. Add your sour cream, and stir until all your ingredients are combined.

2) Put liners in your cupcake tin and scoop two heaping tablespoons of batter into each one. Bake until your cake tester comes out clean, about 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool before you take the liners off.

Chocolate Coating
1/4 cup butter
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1) Melt your butter and chocolate in a double boiler. When everything has melted, carefully dipped your cooled (with no liners!) cakes in the ganache and place on a cooling wrack. Decorate right away.

bittersweet chocolate squares (grated), about 3-4 ounces
royal icing (I used this recipe, halved)
Large red nonpareils 

1) Right after you've dipped your cakes in the ganache, roll them in your grated bittersweet chocolate. After the ganache has hardened completely, pipe six little dots of royal icing and stick one large red nonpareil in the centre of each one. Stick candle in the middle, and enjoy your cake after a hard day of sciencing. 

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