01 September 2010

Cupcake Telescopes

Last month I spent a week in Boston working with my collabadvisor, Anna. Whenever I come to visit, it's sort like an astronomy boot camp. That week's highlights included figuring out the surface temperature of a few of the oldest stars in our galaxy, sitting in a Herman Miller Aeron chair for a few days, and baking cupcakes. Not just any cupcakes, mind you, but cupcakes that were appropriate for astronopalooza.

I posted a teaser of what was to come a couple weeks ago, but here is the whole spread, plus an explanation of the assembly. If you look at a cupcake and squint a whole lot it starts to look like a telescope dome. If you use Wilton nut cups, then they totally look like telescope domes. The only thing that I can think of that's better than an observatory is an edible observatory. Nom nom.

To assemble the domecakes, you must first to bake cupcakes and a half sheet cake. This is enough for about 12 domecakes.

Enough white cake mix (from scratch is best, because there's no reason these shouldn't taste good in addition to being totally cute) to make two 9x9 cakes
Wilton Nut & Party Cups
frosting (I used this recipe)
icing tubes (like these)
red wine glass

1) Preheat the oven to whatever it is that your recipe calls for. Grease ONE square (8x8 or 9x9 would work best) cake pan and prep the cups by placing one in each section of a muffin tin (or really, you can just put it on a sheet pan)

2) Prepare your cake mix and pour half the batter into the 9x9 cake pan and divide the other half among 12 or so of the cups. Fill each cup a little more than halfway. No more than that!

3) Bake the cupcakes and the sheet cake. The cupcakes will likely be done before sheet cake.

4) Allow the cupcakes and sheet cake to completely cool and prepare your frosting

Photo credit: A. Frebel

5) Once the sheetcake has cooled, crumble it and combine with ~6-8 oz of frosting. Start out small and add more if you'd like. This is basically a recipe for cake balls.

6) Take a scant 1/4c of the cake ball material and cram it into a wine glass. Don't fill it too high, or else it won't come out (see below). Take a spoon and loosen the edges such that you can use gravity to get it out the rest of the way.

7) place the dome of cake ball goodness atop each of the cupcakes and then generously frost

8) Decorate

9) Put them into formations of different observatories because you have 12 cupcakes that look like telescopes and, really, what could be more fun than that?

Now, pop quiz! Which observatory is which?

Photo credit: A. Frebel

Photo credit: A. Frebel

Photo credit: A. Frebel



Kyle said...

"The only thing that I can think of that's better than an observatory is an edible observatory" is one of the best sentences I've ever read on a blog.

Anonymous said...

ok... i know one of them is McDonlad's and HET... and i think one is the VLA... am i right?

julie k h said...

Yes! Didn't you see the link to the answers at the bottom, Chevo?

stfree said...

I was hungry for knowledge but now I'm HUNGRY.