"So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her."
Have you seen the new suggestion box, underneath my 'About Me' section? Now you can suggest a book for me to read/bake next and maybe you'll see me attempt to transform your favorite read into a delicious cupcake recipe. It's like normal book recommendations, with a sweet bonus! I've been getting a lot of good ideas (A few bad ones, too. Looking at you, whoever suggested 'Spike & Dru : Pretty Maids All In A Row.') But out of the good suggestions, I noticed a trend--children's books!
I don't know how I left out such an important genre this long. Children's books--the reason I love reading today! I still remember by first chapter book (Wringer by Jerry Spinelli--I was weird, okay?) Although there were a lot of good suggestions, I decided to go with a classic--Alice in Wonderland by Luis Carroll.
Note: I know there's a billion versions of this story, and I'm using this one, because I like the illustrations.
Alice in Wonderland is great for a lot of reasons--it's adventurous and whimsical, full of nonsense and play in a magical world where things don't always make sense, but then, when you think about it, they sort of do make sense. It's hard to talk about it without sounding like you've been smoking with the caterpillar yourself. But the absolute best thing about Alice in Wonderland is the way Carroll plays with language in very silly ways, which perfectly emphasized the absurdity of Wonderland. He played with sounds, meaning, rhythm, spelling, everything. Imagine being around when the original came out, in Victorian England. It must have been a revelation.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where -' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
'- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.”
There's a lot going on in this book, so I decided to focus my attention on the Queen of Hearts, the foul-mouthed ruler who loves nothing more than sentencing people to death for the smallest things. These red velvet cupcakes are much nicer.
Other than adding a little more red dye than the recipe calls for (in order to get a really pretty red color), I kept this recipe simple--just a classic red velvet recipe. The fun with these came much more with decorating the cooled cupcakes, but would you look at this red?!
I decorated with cream cheese frosting, powdered sugar and little icing roses that I found in the baking aisle at WalMart. Come to think of it, these would make awesome Valentine's Day cupcakes too!
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 (1 ounce) bottle red food colorr
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
3. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla.
4. Gradually beat in flour mixture until just blended.
5. Fill cups and bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean.
"My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”
"When the procession came opposite to Alice, they all stopped and looked at her, and the Queen said severely 'Who is this?'"
“Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
"'Well I'd hardly finished the verse,' said the Hatter, 'when the Queen jumped up and bawled out, 'He's murdering the time! Off with his head!'"
"Alice thought she had never seen such a curious croquet-ground in her life; it was all ridges and furrows; the balls were live hedgehogs, the mallets live flamingos, and the soldiers had to double themselves up and to stand on their hands and feet, to make the arches."
Happy baking, everybody!