Speaking Jose…


Vampire Cupcakes!
November 20, 2008, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Books, Food, Movies | Tags: , , , ,

 

Update: Kristen originally found these delicious treats on the Baking Bites blog.

Kristen made some great cupcakes for last Halloween and I wanted to share the recipe with you for the next time you are looking for a scary treat (or you’re getting amped for the release of the movie based on your favorite vampire novel).

Kristen's vampire cupcakes

Kristens Cupcakes

Kristen’s Vampire Cupcakes

Step 1. Make cupcakes using your favorite yellow cake mix, brand doesn’s matter, but just make sure you use a regular size muffin or cupcake pan. Dont try to use white cake mix for the recipe, the filling later on will just turn the cupcake to a pinkish hue and the effect is lost.

Step 2. Make the “blood” by pureeing cherry pie filling until its relatively smooth and liquid with no lumps (like real blood).

Step 3. Once the cupcakes are made and cooled, cut a piece out of the top of the cup cake that is about half the height of the cupcake. The piece that comes out should almost look like circular muffin top with a cone attached at the bottom, think cartoonish diamond shape if it helps.

Step 4. Spoon a couple of spoonfuls of the pie filling into the cavity in the cupcake. You may have to experiment and have a couple of test pieces to determine the relation between how big a piece you cut out in Step 3 versus the amount of liquid added.  The goal should be that a person biting in should get a good taste of the filling but not be wiping away their chin from the excess.  After adding the filling, replace the top on the cupcake.

Step 5. Time to frost! White or light colored frosting works best to show off the blood in Step 7, but feel free to use any flavor you like (we used cream cheese frosting on the ones in the picture). To frost, first put a thin layer on the cupcake around where the cut line from Step 3 is, this will help cover up the edge when completing the frosting. After the thin layer evens out the edge you can finish frosting the cupcake by piping it on the cupcake or just using a flat knife. 

Step 6. To make the fang marks there are a couple of techniques, but again, feel free to experiment to find a method you like (plus it means you can eat the “test cupcakes” in the name of science!). For ours we tries using a straw to cut out the hole (insert the straw into the cupcake and pull out), but while it made a good size hole, the cake got stuck in the straw and was difficult to get out. In the end we used a clean mean thermometer to poke into the cupcake and then mode the hole bigger by moving it around in a circular motion to expand the hole. Make sure you make the fang marks about an inch apart to look realistic.

Step 7. The final and most fun step is to add the “dripping blood” to the fang holes and the top of the cupcake. We used a straw to help us fill the fang holes (an eye dropper works well here too) and then used a toothpick to make the little blood trail.

Step 8. Eat and Enjoy!

Variation on this theme: Make the cupcakes with chocolate cake mix and chocolate frosting to make a Blackula Cupcake. Another thought was to add a white chocolate chip in with the filling for a cupcake to act as lost vampire tooth.

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Philly Day 2 – Wrapping up some business
July 26, 2008, 1:38 pm
Filed under: Movies, Travel | Tags: , , , , ,

Spent the second half of day 2 in Philadelphia helping my brother out with some chores around the city. We broke down his photography exhibit at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Then we ran over to the hardware store and grocery store to get some supplies for the weekend.  For dinner, my brother cooked up a combo of Salmon and rice with peas. We originally had plans to go visit some family in New Jersey, but plans changed so we decided to go to a late showing of the Dark Knight.

The movie was great as advertised. Ledger really does bring that psychotic madman persona to the Joker without taking it over the top or being too cartoonish. Christian Bale got better as the movie wore on, but the “husky” voice he uses when he is Batman starts to annoy you about halfway  through the movie.  Aaron Eckhart was also great as Harvey Dent, played him the same as I imagined him in the comic books. The movie itself is about the battle between good and evil and how evil does a good person have to be in order to combat evil.  There was also a taste of the whole “If super heroes are keeping an eye on us, who is monitoring them?” This has been addressed a few times in the X-Men movies and is a part of the concept of the new Watchmen movie, whose trailer was attached to the beginning of the Dark Knight. On a side note, I bought the graphic novel and am about halfway through, it is a great read and has incredible writing to drive along a story, something not usually seen in comic books.  The comics themselves have covered the topic multiple times like the Marvel’s Civil War series and DC Comics modern version of the Omac story or Identity Crisis story line.  

Day 3 in Philly promises to be fun, planning on finally getting that cheesesteak!



Revisiting some of my favorites…
June 20, 2008, 3:33 am
Filed under: Books, Movies | Tags: , , , ,

Since Battlestar is on break until god knows when, I’ve decided to revisit some of my favorite books and movies over the Summer. Its great because I get to enjoy some of my favorite things, but also because sometimes I find or realize something that I didn’t during a previous viewing/reading.  Yesterday, I finished reading Naked by David Sedaris and tonight I am going to start Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy.  I’m a huge Clancy fan and Red Storm does a great job of playing “What if?” with a NATO vs. Warsaw Pact battle. I also had the computer game when I was in 6th grade and at the time thought that games could not get any cooler. 

As for movies, tonight I saw Blade Runner for the 15th time. This time it was the 2007 Final Cut Edition,which as far as I can tell added a few more scenes than before, and I still don’t understand how people can say that Deckard is a replicant.  Ridley Scott does a good job painting a sort of negative utopian future in a way that sci-fi fans will eat up and leave  everyone else scratching their heads.  

At my brother’s urging, earlier this year, I got the audiobook of the short story that the movie is adapted from, “Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Phillip K. Dick. The story is a little more darker and dreary than the movie, but is a great science fiction story and in some areas surpasses the movie.