COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED! THE GIVEAWAY IS OVER!
and the winner is…#50! Kate G!
*** Congrats Kate! I’m e-mailing you right now. And thanks to everyone else who entered. I hope to do another giveaway soon… ***
BOY, are you all lucky this week. Cupcakes the other day, cupcakes today. It’s a cupcake-palooza around here… which is appropriate, given my blog name. But I will admit that in general, I haven’t been posting as many cupcakes as I should lately. I’ve been distracted with other goodies & yummies & I’ve kinda been neglecting the cupcakes.
Before I start going off on my tangents, lets get one thing straight right away: this entire post is going to be a big lovefest. It’s ALLLLLL about things I love. You’re going to see me write that over and over and over again, and I do apologize. Both for my repetition, my lack of other suitable words for the circumstances and also for beating you over the head with it. Are you ready?
I love Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. It’s one of my favorite things about this time of year; along with Halloween, spooky things, black cats everywhere, fall leaves, vampires, apples & pumpkins. Just in case you live under a rock:
Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it is a national holiday, and all banks are closed. The celebration takes place on November 1, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.
Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world: In Brazil, Dia de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain, there are festivals and parades, and, at the end of the day, people gather at cemeteries and pray for their dead loved ones. Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures.
The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico can be traced back to the Indigenous Pagan cultures. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors have been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 2,500–3,000 years. In the pre-Hispanic era, skulls were commonly kept as trophies and displayed during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth.
The festival that became the modern Day of the Dead fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to the goddess known as the “Lady of the Dead”, corresponding to the modern Catrina.
In most regions of Mexico, November 1 honors children and infants, whereas deceased adults are honored on November 2. This is indicated by generally referring to November 1 mainly as Día de los Inocentes (“Day of the Innocents”) but also as Día de los Angelitos (“Day of the Little Angels”) and November 2 as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos (“Day of the Dead”).
Basically, it’s about life, despite the name. It’s about celebrating the lives of those we love who have passed on. What a beautiful concept. It’s bright, it’s colorful, it’s happy, it’s fun. It bridges that great divide between the dead & the living, and it keeps them in our thoughts through a celebration of their lives as opposed to the sadness of their deaths. I see nothing bad in that, at all. I find it to be a revelation, actually, compared to the stodgy, stuffy, overly melancholy grieving process of my Catholic childhood. I love to celebrate my ancestors & their lives, as opposed to just remembering them at the ends of their lives. In years past, I’ve not only made an altar, but I’ve celebrated by making tres leches cupcakes & Pan de Muerto. I have a hand painted Mexican sugar skull (Jay has one too, kinda like our version of Yin & Yang), and I have sugar skull printed pillows, etc. Suffice it to say I’m big into it, especially the sugar skull iconography.
So that’s one more thing I love. Sugar Skulls. Any size, shape, colors, theme. I love them all. I want to collect a variety of them, but they’re hard to find here in New York. Hey, are you tired of what I love yet? No? Good, ’cause there’s more. Who’da thunk it that I actually do LIKE so many things?
‘Cause you wanna know snother thing I love? Sourpuss Clothing. I’ve loved them for four years now, ever since they first contacted me to send me products to review back in 2008. I’m obsessed with their housewares department– don’t get me wrong, I love Crate & Barrel, I love Williams-Sonoma, and I love Pottery Barn too. But sometimes a gal like me, with my skull obsession & my mohawk, yearns for something more… offbeat… for my kitchen decor. And those mainstream stores will usually only carry creepy or “weird” things around Halloween. Well, that’s great, but what if I want a zombie cutting board in June? Or Frankenstein & his bride salt & pepper shakers in February? I go to Sourpuss, that’s what!
But you know, there’s one more thing I love: cupcakes. You knew that already, though. But sugar skulls on cupcakes? FORGET IT. Love it times a million. I’ve made cupcakes with little sugar skulls on them before, but why not repeat something when it’s a good thing? Thanks to Wilton for the awesome skull mold and beautiful food coloring gel that I used in this post. I made the frosting marigold color because marigolds are the traditional flowers of Dia de los Muertos, and are actually known as the flowers of the dead. (side note: they’d be great for Halloween too, with bright orange frosting)
BLACK VELVET DAY OF THE DEAD CUPCAKES (taken from here)
Makes about 12 cupcakes
- 1 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) of black liquid McCormick food coloring (or possibly less if you’re using Americolor)
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
- Line your cupcake tins with liners and set aside. Preheat your oven to 350° degrees F.
- In a large bowl sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix the food coloring and cocoa powder until completely incorporated. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat until thoroughly combined, being sure to scrape down the sides.
- Add the vanilla and the red food coloring-cocoa mixture and beat well to combine. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat on medium speed until combined, then add 1/2 of the buttermilk, and beat until incorporated.
- Add another 1/3 of the flour, beat well, then the other half of the buttermilk, scraping down the sides after each addition. Finish with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
- In a small bowl, mix the vinegar and baking soda, and immediately add to batter. Mix on high speed for just a few seconds until evenly dispersed, and pour right away into lined cupcake pans, about halfway, maybe 2/3 full.
- Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick entered into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack.
- Cool completely before frosting.
They’re beautiful, aren’t they? Deep, dark, black cupcakes. Bright marigold colored buttercream and a pretty little white chocolate handpainted skull. Delicious & pretty to look at, a great combination. And the inspiration for them ain’t too shabby either, right? Look at the pattern:
Would you like your own set? I bet you would.
In this giveaway, one lucky winner will get the ADORABLE Skulls in Love apron. I’m sorry I couldn’t get a decent photo of it for you, but it’s hard taking self-portraits that are full-on body shots; even with my awesome camera & tripod. Either way, the apron is super adorable & the winner will love it. But it’s not just that, oh no. They’ll also get a matching kitchen set (oven mitt & pot holder) & tea towel as well as a skull bowl and a matching bank too. Perhaps for saving up to buy a KitchenAid mixer? Or to upgrade your old hand mixer? Use it to hold your latte fund? Or maybe the “bad language tax” collection for your kids? Whatever. It doesn’t matter what you use it for. It’s cute, that’s the point. And it all matches & coordinates with the bowl. A little girl skull bowl with a bow, and a boy skull bank with a top hat. I die (no pun intended) of the cuteness. I used the bowl to house my handmade tissue paper marigolds (like I said, they’re the traditional flower of Dia de los Muertos & it’s also tradition to make them out of paper), but you can use it for anything. Flowers, candy, a planter. So did you get all that? ONE winner gets an apron, tea towel, kitchen set, bowl and bank. Jackpot!
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO TO ENTER IS COMMENT. Leave a comment here telling me why you love the Day of the Dead, too. What does it mean to you? Why can you relate to it? I’ll choose a winner at random via random.org on October 25th at midnight, EST. I’m doing this for ONE week exactly so that the winner has a better chance of getting their prize in time for Dia de los Muertos. As far as the winner goes: commenting on the Sourpuss blog or Facebook is invalid, as is a reply on Twitter. You must comment here to be entered. For an optional second shot at winning, tweet the following:
I just entered to win a Dia de los Muertos sugar skull apron/kitchen set/& more from @SourpussBrand & @CupcakeRehab! http://cupcakerehab.com/2012/10/black-velvet-cupcakes-sugar-skulls-a-sourpuss-giveaway/
Just copy & paste the above phrase, post it on Twitter, and then come back & comment a second time. That’s two chances to win. Optional third chance: share the link for this post (see the icon below) on Facebook and then come back & tell me. That’s three chances. Only the first one is mandatory to enter. The other two are just added extras.
But.. there’s ONE MORE thing. For an optional fourth bonus entry, get a friend to come here & enter. If you comment telling me who your friend is, you get a fourth entry, and they get an entry for themselves when they comment (maybe more, if they choose to use the Twitter and/or FB entries as well). So what are you waiting for? Go… get to commenting!
Sources & credits: Bakelite red-handled cutlery; vintage.