I know it’s officially “Christmas time” (or at least that’s what the retailers want us to believe), but humor me with this one non-X-mas related post, & then I promise you for the rest of the month it’ll be non-stop holiday hijinks.
Last year, actually almost 2 years ago- early in 2010- my insanely talented friend Chrisie (who you may remember from my giveaway in 2009, when she donated an absolutely gorgeous Cupcake Rehab painting) contacted me with a request. I know Chrisie for a loooong time, well about 10 years. We met at F.I.T. in a Fashion Illustration class (that was so much fun) & I’m pretty sure the universe broke when they put us in a class together. Anyway, she had an idea; she wanted to make an entire series of cupcake paintings, inspired by me and Cupcake Rehab, and the next one she wanted to do was a punk cupcake. Now seriously… if anyone knows me, they know that there is probably no better person to create such a cupcake. Okay, maybe that’s not 100% true, but I’m into punk, and cupcakes, so really I am sort of an authority on a punk cupcake. I used to be a punk cupcake...
Not that you’d really know it anymore- I’ve grown up and mellowed out a lot since my days of spike bracelets & collars, pink hair (my favorite of the “not-normal” colors I’ve ever had), rebellion, anarchy, anti-authority and the ever-chic look of wearing safety pins in my ears. Now I shop at places like Anthropologie & wear ballet flats & J. Crew sweaters (but yes, underneath the sweater is a Clash t-shirt), my significant other is a cop (even if he is in a death metal band, he’s still law enforcement!) & while I do sort of have a ‘faux hawk’, or rather a side cut, I haven’t dyed my hair in months (for the first time in 13 years I see my natural color, & I dislike it just as much as I used to, except now there are strands of gray for me to dislike as well). But I still listen to the music, and believe in the ideology. Bottom line is this: I learned a long time ago it isn’t worth it arguing over what’s really punk and what’s not, or who’s really punk and who’s not, especially when it’s based on outer appearance or clothing. Just like it’s pointless to assume that someone is less “punk” than you because they don’t dye their hair/shave it into mohawk/don’t have fully tattooed biceps/etc. You shouldn’t always judge a book by it’s cover, and knocking others for listening to things besides one genre of music isn’t “punk” either; it’s pretty lame, and you’ll realize it one day. Being an individual means being yourself & NOT wearing a uniform, even if that uniform is neon Liberty spikes, a studded & patched denim jacket & piercings. I do still wear my jacket, though.
So anyway, I’m getting way off track here. Let’s just stick with the cupcakes. Chrisie pitched me her concept: a cupcake with a pink mohawk, and I had these liners from Sweet Cuppin Cakes Bakery & Cupcakery Supplies that were black with white polka dots, and I figured they’d be perfect (I also used them on my white chocolate almond cupcakes and others, they’re awesome liners). With those things as my base ideas, I started coming up with stuff immediately. I decided to make a vanilla cake with a dollop of chocolate buttercream frosting dyed black, and then do the hot pink “mohawk” on top of that in royal icing. Then I started thinking about “props”; stuff that would add a bit more to the “punk” theme for her painting. I remembered that I was in possession of an old spike bracelet I used to wear in high school, so I thought I’d put it around the bottom of the cupcake like a spike collar. I also suggested maybe incorporating a sort of Sex Pistols kind of typography and safety pins somewhere. I took the photos on a black background so it’d look a bit more dramatic, and also so it’d be easier for her to paint in whatever background she wanted. She came up with an amazing composition! (I’ll post the recipes I used for the frosting after all the images for anyone who’s interested)
So here’s the big reveal! I have been SO EXCITED to share this with you, for so long now. I’ve been waiting patiently since January of 2010 to post this, that’s a big deal for me! This is coming from someone who can’t keep birthday presents a secret without losing it & can’t stand to wait ’til Christmas to open my own gift. That said, I’m not one to rush an artist into creating a piece of artwork, so I’ve been patient, and it’s been totally worth it. She told me about a month ago it was done & sent me the pictures of the finished product, but I wanted to wait until after Thanksgiving to blog it. Here are two pictures of my cupcakes that helped to inspire her, followed by the amazing painting Chrisie did from using my pictures as reference.
So friggin’ cute with the little mohawks.
And… are you ready? Seriously?
Okay, drumroll please. Here’s her painting! Ta-da!
How incredibly awesome and beautiful is that!? It’s ridiculous. I know, I cannot even fathom her talent. It’s like a friggin’ photograph. I’m telling you- she’s crazy. Chrisie is so amazingly talented, and she recently opened her own baking business, Eat Cakes. To get on the mailing list, shoot an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. To see more of her artwork or commission her to do a painting, visit ccomis.com. There might be more collabo’s between the two of us involving cupcakes & paintings in the future. I’m excited.
So now I’m just waiting for the “punks” to come here & get on me for selling out & making such a cliched “punk cupcake” so I can stick my foot up someones’ ass… okay anyway, here’s the 411 on how to do the frosting, including food coloring & tips. The cupcake is just a plain vanilla cake so that’s easy enough for you to figure out.
“BLACK” CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
- 1 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup dark cocoa or three 1 oz. unsweetened dark chocolate squares, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups (approx. 1 lb) sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
- 2-3 teaspoons black food coloring (I personally recommend Americolor Super Black for this)
Then do this:
- Cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add cocoa and vanilla.
- Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
- Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add food coloring a little at a time, until desired shade is reached. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
- For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Re-whip before using. Also, keep in mind the longer the icing sits the darker it will get, so don’t add too much color, it’ll just wreck the consistency of your frosting. Using a large round tip, pipe a circle of frosting on each cake. The using an offset spatula, smooth it down into a flat surface for the ‘mohawk’ to sit on.
ROYAL ICING “MOHAWK”
- 2 large egg whites (or substitute powdered egg whites)
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon bright pink food coloring (I used Wilton Rose icing color)
- Combine the egg whites and confectioners’ sugar in a medium-size mixing bowl and whip with an electric mixer on medium speed until opaque and shiny, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk in the extract, this will thin out the icing. Beat for another couple of minutes until you reach the right spreading consistency for the cupcakes. Then add the food coloring and beat.
- Using a large star tip (I used Wilton 1M), after the buttercream frosting on the cupcakes has “set”, pipe three to four “stars” in a row on each cupcake. Ta-da! Mohawk!
So put on some X-Ray Spex or some Sex Pistols, do your best Joe Strummer imitation, brush your bangs into your eyes like Joey Ramone and eat some mohawk cupcakes. Or don’t. I don’t care either way. Oi, oi, oi.