I lied about my next cupcake. I know. I shall go hang my head in shame for deceiving all of you so. I said that I would make the "Alpha Vampire's Delight" next, but I was so inspired by love2boys' suggestion of Oreo cookie cupcakes that I went with it. So, without further adieu, I present to you the "Lazarus Rising" cupcake.
I remember the first time I watched Supernatural. I spent all of season 3 convinced that they would somehow save Dean. I watched "No Rest for the Wicked," in emotional turmoil and disbelief. They actually did it. Sure, Sam's death in "All Hell Breaks Loose I" had knocked me on my ass earlier, but I just didn't think they'd end season 3 with Dean actually in Hell. Thankfully I didn't have to wait an entire summer to see how that turned out. To those of you that did manage to survive and endure that Hellatus, I give you major props.
Quickly I moved onto the start of season 4. I had to know how they'd get Dean back. They had to bring him back somehow. I may have shielded myself from almost all the spoilers and news about season 6, but I knew Dean was in it. I remember watching Dean wake up in that coffin, his lighter illuminating the pine box. Much like him I was stunned that he was alive. Then he pushed his way out of the ground, first just his hands sticking out and trying to pull the rest of him free. Once he landed, dirty and caked in mud he looked around at his burial site.
The trees had been blown back, the small wooden cross staked in the ground above the hole Dean had crawled from, and the sun was blistering hot. Whatever had resurrected Dean had some mean fire power at their disposal. What I love about this scene is how organic it reads on screen. Jensen shows us that Dean is human here in his hoarse cry for help. He shows us Dean's desperation to reach the surface in his struggle to escape the grave. But what he really made us feel was Dean's confusion and disbelief that he was back---all without saying a single word.
What I really love, however, is hearing little tidbits about behind the scenes on the show. It enriches its story for me---makes me want to learn more about how they make it. Hearing that Kim Manners used Oreo cookies to make Dean's grave and be the dirt that Jensen has to push through as he acts out Dean's resurrection inspired me so much. I knew I had to honor this great scene with its own cupcake. So I started to search for Oreo cupcakes. Some just stuck a cookie on top, some had cookie crumbs sprinkled on top. None of them really seemed to have enough OREO for me---considering that Jensen is quoted as having had cookie dust in his hair for at least a week, I needed it to be heavy on the Oreo. The more the better.
So, I took a couple of recipes here and sort of smashed them together. One recipe had me place half of an Oreo filling facing up in the bottom of the cupcake liner and place batter over it. Another had me smash Oreo cookies sans filling together and stir into the vanilla cupcake batter. It had plenty of Oreos to suit me and I set out to make my cupcakes.
Here is the recipe:
Best Oreo Cupcake Recipe
Ingredients for Best Oreo Cupcake:
Â½ cup butter, softened
1 Â½ cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Â¼ cups flour
2 Â½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
18 "“ 20 Double Stuffed Oreos, crushed to larger chunks
Directions for Best Oreo Cupcake:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners "“ enough for 24 cupcakes.
In a large mixing bowl mix together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and eggs "“ whip together.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and milk. Mix together well enough to incorporate.
Stir in by hand the crushed Oreos.
Fill each cupcake paper 2/3 full. Bake for 20 "“ 22 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
For the vanilla buttercream:
2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
First I sat down with a ziplock bag and a package of Double Stuff Oreos (sidenote: WHY do they bother making single stuff Oreos anyways? Does anyone know?). I started to unscrew the cookies, scraping the filling off and placing the cookies into the bag. The filling didn't go to waste, don't you worry. I ate that. Why waste perfectly good Oreo cream?
When I felt I had enough cookies in the bag to go into my batter---nearly the whole package really---I set out to smash them. If you're feeling stressed out, here's a good reliever for you. I crunched them up and pounded on them and delighted in making them into crumbs. I went a bit finer than the recipe might call for, but I wasn't obsessive about them all being tiny crumbs. We all need a good cookie chunk mixed in with the cake, after all.
Once that was done, I set them aside and set out to make my batter. Having everything ready always makes this go by so quickly and smoothly. I had it whipped up in almost no time and was eager to get my cookie crumbs folded in. I felt that if I folded them in gently I wouldn't ruin the texture and the consistency of my batter. After all I had whipped it, why make it deflate or get all lumpy if I didn't need to? Once the cookies were blended in I took a tiny taste. It really did taste like Oreos---but also like warm and gooey cookies and cream ice cream. I could tell these would be good already.
Before I put the batter into the cupcake liners, I screwed off some more cookies, placing the filling side up in the bottom. One of the recipes that just didn't have enough Oreos in it suggested it, so I thought why not add them in and give it a try. It couldn't have too many Oreos.
I baked them in our super duper new oven with my new cupcake pans, and had them on the cooling racks in just a bit over the minimum time. I had 24 cupcakes sitting there. They were taunting me with their yummy smells. So, I grabbed one of the ones that turned out a bit smaller than the others and ate it. One for the cook as they say.
It was delicious. It had that right flavor, a perfect blend of cookies and cream with that Oreo crunch. The cake was a nice fluffy texture, too. They were a success already and I hadn't frosted them yet.
I left them to cool overnight and made vanilla butter cream the next day. I also bought some green food dye. Sure, these would be Oreo cupcakes and would connect to the behind the scenes story from "Lazarus Rising," but without some added dressing they wouldn't really make that statement. So, I blended it into the cream and frosted them to look like grass. I also bought pretzels and made little crosses with them. I put them together before dying the cream, chilled them, and then sunk them into the cake to symbolize the wooden cross Sam placed on Dean's grave. I also crushed up a few more Oreos and sprinkled them to mark Dean's resurrection. Sure, I didn't have the expanse of trees ringing the grave, but I figured in cupcake form this would be close enough. Any Supernatural fan would know what this was.
Now that I had them completed, how did they taste as a final product? Vanilla buttercream was the perfect choice here by far. It tasted enough like Oreo cream when combined with the Oreos in the cupcake---but far richer. The pretzel blended extremely well with the frosting, too. I had some frosting left over and actually sat down with pretzels to finish it off. It was indulgent as any would expect, but worth it. That nice salty bite of the pretzel mixed well with the creamy sweet of the buttercream. If I wasn't sure it'd make me 500 pounds I'd make it as an afternoon snack.
But there was one flaw: our little Oreo at the bottom. It just seemed to stick to the wrapper and rip the bottom of the cupcake clean off. It just didn't work out as I had planned and I figure I'll probably omit it from a future baking. The idea seemed nice and was worth a try, but no dice. It's a shame, really. The baked Oreo did taste really good---a nice rich chocolate flavor with even more crunch. Perhaps it'd be best to put in a bit of batter and then add the cookie, but overall I'd skip it and settle for the crushed Oreos in the cucpake.
Over all, however, this cupcake satisfies. It takes that indulgence of eating an Oreo cookie and makes it all the better and way more decadent. The fact that it pays homage to "Lazarus Rising" and the behind the scenes story that shaped it is all icing on the cake.
I have a few cupcake ideas already forming shape, but I still need more ideas from all of you. Pick something from the show, your favorite episode, something that you think symbolizes your favorite character or your favorite moment, and let it rip. I think the possibilities are still endless for our little Cupcake Wars. In the meantime I'll keep baking and sharing and we'll see what delightful things we can discover along the way.