September 5, 2018

Red Velvet Cupcakes | The Lunar Chronicles

(This recipe was originally posted July 2015 for Fiction Kitchen Podcast Episode 17: Cinder.)
          These rich little cupcakes are inspired by the main character of Marissa Meyer's young adult, futuristic Cinderella retelling, Cinder, book one in The Lunar Chronicles series. There is a strong red theme throughout the book and series as a whole, so of course I went with red velvet (with chocolate pudding!). Cinder is a mechanic and a partial cyborg so I put special gear and nut (like “nuts & bolts”) sprinkles on top from The Geeky Hostess, but they are sadly no longer available! *In light of this, you could use silver and gold decorating sugar and/or a gear/cog/screw mold (like this one) for fondant or chocolate!

          A long time ago I hosted a Cinder book club at my house and served these little cupcakes along with a Cinder-inspired mocktail (recipe here). I provided a jar of colorful chopsticks that people could choose from and we ate our cupcakes (and other snacks) with them. :)

Note: The cupcakes and frosting are based on recipes from The Dainty Apron and Wicked Good Kitchen respectively.
          For sprinkle alternatives, see above.*
          When making these initially, I didn’t have any sour cream so I used 1/2 Cup Vanilla Yogurt + 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda for a substitute and it had a really cool reaction!

Cinder-inspired Red Velvet Mini Cupcakes

Ingredients:
Cupcakes
1/2 of a 16.5 oz package of Red Velvet Cake Mix
1/2 of a 3.9 oz package of Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
2 Eggs, beaten
1/4 Cup Milk
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Frosting
1 Cup Butter, just room temperature
1 8 oz pkg Cream Cheese
2 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
4 – 4 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
1 tsp. Fresh Lemon or Orange Zest
1/4 tsp. Fresh Minced Ginger (optional)
Silver Decorating Sugar
Gold Decorating Sugar
Gear-shaped Fondant or Chocolate (optional, see * above)

Directions:
Cupcakes: Heat your oven to 350ºF. Grease a mini muffin pan with crisco. In a karge mixing bowl mix all of the ingredients on medium speed until combined. Scoop about 2 tsp. of the batter into each muffin cup & then bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven & let cool for a minute before placing the cupcakes onto a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy, & then add the cream cheese & vanilla & beat on high speed until fully incorporated & fluffy. Lower the speed & gradually add the powdered sugar in increments until it’s to your taste. Increase the speed for a minute or 2 to fluff. Spoon the frosting into a decorating/piping bag with a medium opening & pipe a thick spiral onto each cooled cupcake. Lightly sprinkle with silver decorating sugar & gear/nut sprinkles & voila! Fun to eat with chopsticks–keeps your fingers clean!

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