Friday, September 20, 2013

Baking the Books: Now That's A Cupcake of a Different Color!

 Welcome to Baking the Books, where I bake things inspired by my favorite novels! Since I do a lot of reading and a lot of baking, it was only a matter of time before the two things overlapped. It's just part of my evil plot to get books involved in every single aspect of my life.

Previously on Baking the Books: Shadow and Bone Appetit!

Today's culinary adventure will take us all the way over the rainbow and into the wonderful land of Oz! Well, not entirely over the rainbow. Instead, we'll be eating the rainbow.Trust me, it tastes good. These cupcakes could be used for a lot of other reasons--for, say, St. Patrick's Day, or in celebration of Two Boys Kissing, or something. But today, it's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum, a book that influenced nearly all of our childhoods, either directly or through the classic movie adaptation and it's classic song, "Somewhere over the Rainbow". To bastardize Janis Ian, "Everybody in the English-speaking world knows that song."

Ingredients (makes about 25 cupcakes; I halved it):

1 1//4 cups vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking poweder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups full fat sour cream OR yogurt OR Greek yogurt
1 packet of food coloring. If you can find one with green and/or purple, your life will be easier. Mine had green, but no purple.


Cheat and use a white cake box mix. I WON'T TELL IF YOU DON'T.

For decoration: 

I box of marzipan


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put your oven rack in the bottom third of the oven, so your cupcakes don't get too brown. Prepare your muffin tin and liners, then set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, add the1 1/4 cups oil and 1 3/4 cups white sugar. Beat together for about two minutes, until they're well mixed and the sugar dissolves. Add 4 eggs and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes, until its smooth and creamy-looking.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together 2 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add these dry ingredients to your wet ingredient mix on low, then medium, speed until it's incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the 1 1/2 cups sour cream/yogurt/Greek yogurt and beat on medium low speed until all incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for about thirty more seconds.

Now we make some RAINBOWS!

Separate your batter into five different bowls. Using the food coloring, dye each bowl of batter a different color: one red, one yellow, one green, one blue, and one purple.

(Refresher course for those with only primary-colored food dye: Yellow + Blue = green, Red + Blue = Purple). And yes, if you are mixing your purple by hand, it WILL be unsightly. Purple is just about the hardest color in the whole world to mix. You'll just have to accept that no one will want to eat the bottoms of your cupcake. Go overboard with dyeing the red bowl. I didn't put enough red in mine, and it came out slightly pinkish.

And now comes the part that takes forever and makes you cry: layering the batters!

First, put a dollop of that unsightly purple on the bottom of your cupcake liners. No, that's not silly putty, that's actually the purple. Don't worry, it bakes up prettier.

Use a knife or off-set spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the batter smooth. Then put a dollop of the blue batter, and spread that too. Repeat with the green, then the yellow, then the red. This will take a hundred years.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, but keep a careful eye on them, since every oven is different. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack.

Decoration time!

Take out your marzipan. Set aside a small portion of it and dye it yellow by putting a few drops of yellow food coloring on it and mixing it into the dough by kneading and rolling.

This will make it TREMENDOUSLY sticky. You might want to stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up again before you roll it out flat and thin. Cut rectangles in the yellow marzipan. Score them with a brick pattern. I also died some marzipan red for ruby slippers, but it turns out slippers are REALLY HARD TO MAKE. I managed, somehow, but oh boy.

There are so many other decorations I wish I'd had time to make: a witch's hat, Toto, a lion's face, a silver heart, poppies. Use your imagination to make whatever Oz-themed cupcake toppers you want!

Once the cupcakes are cool, put a dollop of whipped cream on top, then top that with a marzipan decoration. And then your cupcakes are ready for business.

Glinda the Good Cupcake


  1. GLINDA THE GOOD CUPCAKE! LJDFGLKDJFGLKDJFG oh my gosh, just box these up for me and send them my way because I desperately need them.

    When you are here over the holidays just let me stay at your house forever because:
    1. I need your cooking
    2. I need you
    3. I just need fun times in my life again, okay?!

  2. Awesome cupcakes! I've never really tried mixing the different colour layers for rainbow cupcakes cause I always fear they'll just mix together and create and awful colour, but look at yours! Brilliant!

  3. I LOVE rainbows! Never thought about eating them though :D

  4. Oh my gosh I am IN LOVE with these cupcakes. Doesn't hurt that I just read a modern retelling of Wizard of Oz with the "Dorthy" character being a lesbian. These would be PERFECT!

  5. OMG, the inside of the cupcakes is so adorable. The yellow brick road and Glinda ones TOTALLY look like sushi though.

  6. OMG THE CUTENESS! Love this recipe! :D

  7. What an adorable idea! Well done, you. :)


Note: comments on posts older than 90 days are automatically moderated, so they won't show up here immediately. Thanks for commenting! :)