April 20, 2013

Bad Wolf Cupcakes

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream

I'm going to be a little more serious for the moment. I want to talk to you about the reason why I love Doctor Who-- and other things like it-- enough to do this series.

Doctor Who and science fiction and fantasy, they're escapes. And a common theme with all of these stories is the ordinary person facing extraordinary circumstances and emerging victorious. These characters deal with things we could never even dream of, maybe they've got abilities or powers we don't, but there is always something so very human and relatable about them.

And even in the characters who aren't, even in the Doctor or Aslan or Gandalf, there's always going to be that belief that they are out there, that no matter how bad things get, they are out there saving us from something bigger and something worse. And there is always the dream, no matter how childish it might seem, that one day you're going to find Narnia in your wardrobe, or Gandalf is going to knock at your door, or the Doctor is going to grab your hand, look at you with a wink and that rakish grin, and say, "Allons-y!"

I don't know about you, but that keeps me going when things get too bad.
In Doctor Who, the Doctor always travels with a companion. This companion serves as a plot device for the Doctor to explain everything to, but it's also the character that we as the viewers identify with and want to become. And while the Doctor could very well travel with the most extraordinary people in the universe, he never does. He'll travel with a girl that works in a shop. Or a temp who's mother doesn't think she's worth anything. Or a med student, or a journalist, or a governess. The most ordinary people, living the most ordinary lives, but once they meet the Doctor, they do the most extraordinary things.
Amy taught me to never let anything get between me and the people I love.
Rory taught me that sometimes the bravest thing you can do is stand beside the one you love.
Donna taught me that anyone could be the most important person in the universe, without ever even realizing it.
Martha taught me to never settle for being the sidekick. If the hero is out of commission, you pick that sh** up, and you keep going.
Sarah Jane taught me that a broken heart doesn't mean your life is over.
And Rose Tyler taught me to never let anything get in my way, even if I have to tear down the walls of the universe and bend the laws of time and space to my will.

You see, the Doctor sent Rose back to her own time with the Tardis to protect her. He couldn't see a way out. But Rose had none of that. She cracked open the Tardis, she absorbed the time vortex, and for a few moments she controlled all of time and space. And what did she do with that power? She used it to save her world's future and the man that she loved, even though it nearly cost her her own life.
And in that moment, Rose scattered the message "Bad Wolf" throughout time and space, a message to herself so that she would know she could get back to him.
Why bad wolf? The Doctor was fighting the daleks on Satellite Five when he sent Rose away in the Tardis, which was owned by Bad Wolf Corporation. The Doctor and Rose also said their goodbyes at Bad Wolf Bay.

But that wasn't the end of it. When the daleks threatened to destroy the universe, Rose, who was stuck in another universe, built a freaking reality cannon and found her way back to save the Doctor once more.

Rose is also remarkable as a companion in that when she met the Doctor, the 9th Doctor, he wasn't the warm, silly madman we know now, but cold and distant, torn apart by what he had to do to end the Time War and save the universe. Rose accepted him unconditionally, she fell in love with him, and in the end, in the very end, the 9th Doctor gave up being a soldier. He gave up the ideas of strategic advantages and acceptable losses, and in the end, he died to save her life.
So whenever someone tells me that they didn't like Rose, I tell them it doesn't matter what they think. Because the Doctor truly loved her, and she loved and healed him.
When I found a bottle of rosewater at Home Goods, it seemed like fate. I would make cupcakes for Rose. I made a simple, moist chocolate cupcake, inspired by a chocolate pound cake, and a simple buttercream. But then, with the two simple additions of orange zest and rosewater, these cupcakes became something extraordinary. Just like Rose is just a normal, everyday girl that works in a shop, but when she meets the Doctor, she becomes the defender of the Earth.
D'you like my gun? Heh, I loved that scene. 

Anyway, these cupcakes are a mild chocolate cupcake, which really allows the orange flavor to shine. The addition of dark brown sugar makes them rich and moist, without being overly sweet. And the rosewater in the super silky buttercream really complements the citrus flavors well. The rosewater flavor isn't strong (too much can make it taste perfume-y), but there's that definite hint of the exotic and fancy. And these cupcakes smell, well... hit it, 9!
And it's been confirmed that Rose is coming back for the 50th anniversary special, which explains why the words "Bad Wolf" keep showing up on my cupcakes.
Oh, you thought I put it there? You silly normals, you haven't listened to a word I've said, have you? Rose scattered the words through time and space in order to lead herself back. Including on cupcakes, duh.

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes With Rosewater Buttercream {Printable Version}
Yield: 30 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder*
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. orange zest
1 cup milk

For the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup whipping cream
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. rosewater

Preheat the oven to 365°F. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter and sugars at medium speed until fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and zest, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, until fully incorporated and smooth.

Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Fill about ¾ of the way with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Cool completely on wire racks.

For the frosting: Using electric beaters, beat the butter on medium speed. Gradually add in the powdered sugar. When the sugar has been added, reduce the speed to low. Add in the cream, vanilla, and rosewater, beating until just incorporated. Increase the speed to high and whip until smooth and fluffy.

*I used ¼ cup regular and ¼ Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa.

Recipe by Kim