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Author: Lily Vanilli [AKA Lily Jones]; starring Paul Parker
Publication Information: London, New York: Cico Books, 2010
Library of Congress Classification: TX771
Dewey Decimal Classification: 641
Library of Congress Subject Headings:
This is a little book with a lot of recipes for cupcakes—cupcakes for the dead! Seriously, it’s got some interesting ideas on making and decorating cupcakes with a spooky theme.
There are some clever cupcake recipes in here. The Blood-Stained Brains (p. 47) looked like an actual human brain, and the Bleeding Hearts (p. 53) actually looked like real hearts. (No Valentine’s Day-shaped hearts here.) The Devil’s Food Cupcake (p. 57) was clever: it had horns sticking out on either side!
I really liked the Rainbow Cupcakes (p. 49 & 51), which were colorful and could be used for any parties needing a little color. The Day of the Dead Skull Cupcakes (p. 8 and cover) were really nice. They looked like the stylized, decorated skulls used in the Day of the Dead celebrations. These skulls are everywhere, and not just limited to the Day of the Dead. Recently I’ve seen one as an ornament for a tree, which I was tempted to buy.
I’m one of those people who love looking at photos of food and the ingredients, so the color pictures of the various cupcakes and their recipes got me thinking. I would try and substitute some of the ingredients used in the decorations. Marzipan is used in some of the decorating. For example, Sweeny Todd’s Surprise, which looked like a pie only with a finger sticking out. That finger was made of marzipan.
I’ve never understood marzipan. I know that it’s used in decorating, and it allows for some very interesting creations, but it either has no taste or tastes bad. If eating it isn’t going to be pleasurable, what’s the point of using it on a cupcake or cake? Sorry, in my book aesthetics are always sacrificed for yumminess.
The Black Roses Cupcakes (p. 36) had the roses made out of gum paste. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted gum paste, but I was wondering if roses made of buttercream icing would work just as well? Experimenting, at least for me, is part of the fun.
Books like this spark creativity, which is always a good thing.