Gotham: Viewing with the Villains

Before I start writing this post there is something I need to get off my chest…I’m not the biggest fan of superhero shows, movies, etc. I can count on one hand the number of Marvel movies that I’ve watched, and as far as DC movies go I’ve basically only seen the Batman and Spiderman trilogies. I’ve also never watched an episode from shows like Arrow, The Flash, Daredevil or Jessica Jones…but the one show that I have gotten into is Gotham.

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Initially it was my love for Ben McKenzie that drew me in, but the exciting backstories of some of the most memorable heroes and villains of Gotham is what kept me coming back for more each week. I may be new to the comic scene, but I’ve fallen in love with this show and its respective world. Who knows, this could be the start of a whole new obsession for me (my friends and family who are big fans would certainly like that)…

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Last season, Gotham was all about the rise of the villains so that’s what I’ve chosen to focus on for my upcoming season 3 premiere watch party. Gotham is a show about transformation. We see each character start out as a relatively normal person, but soon they become an entirely different version of themselves. Baking seemed like the perfect way to symbolize these transformations — You start with simple ingredients (flour, sugar, eggs, etc.) and by the end you’ll find yourself with an array of dangerously sweet treats inspired by some of the most notable monsters — Mr. Freeze, Firefly, Penguin, The Riddler and of course, The Joker.

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I love to cook but baking isn’t really my strong suite, and since I was planning to bake a lot of cupcakes I kept it simple by using mostly box mixes and frostings. If you’re a true pastry chef at heart though, feel free to substitute a homemade recipe wherever you see fit. Being the creative type that I am, I made sure to include at least one unique or homemade twist into each cupcake idea.

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Check out the recipes below:

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Penguin

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For Penguin, a traditional tuxedo cupcake felt like a fitting choice. Despite the greasy hair and crooked smile, you’ve got to admit that he always looks pretty damn dapper in that get up of his. From the very beginning, Penguin has always been a favorite character of mine. I could say the same thing about this rich chocolate cupcake, topped with chocolate ganache and sweet buttercream frosting.

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First, start by making your chocolate cupcake batter. After the cupcakes have baked for 15-20 minutes at 350°, let them cool and start making the chocolate ganache. In a small saucepan, heat heavy whipping cream until just before boiling and pour over a cup of dark chocolate chips. After you’ve whisked the mixture together until smooth, you’ll dip each cupcake into the ganache to form a layer of extra chocolaty goodness. Top them off generously with vanilla buttercream frosting and enjoy!

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The Riddler

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In college, I once participated in a bake sale fundraiser to help support quality education for girls across the world. Students from campuses across America baked dozens upon dozens of adorable “tie dye” cupcakes, the profits of which went towards funding scholarships for girls in low-income countries. I remembered how simple it was to create these visually stunning cakes and immediately wanted to make them to represent The Riddler.

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You’ll start by making a classic white cake batter. Split the batter between two bowls and add a few drops of green food dye to one, and purple to the other. Then, add 1-2 scoops of both colors into each cupcake tin and bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350° oven. A single color liner and classic white frosting are perfectly simple decorations that help disguise the mysterious middle of these cupcakes. Feel free to top them off with sprinkles, decals and any other decorations that inspire you!

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The Joker

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Why so serious, you ask? Because these cupcakes are seriously delicious! The Joker is known for his elaborate theatrics, so I’ve used that as inspiration when it comes to the decorations and finishing touches on these cupcakes. For the recipe itself, keep the flavors nice and simple with a traditional white cupcake topped with mint frosting.

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Start off with a classic white cake mix of your choosing. Use a bright foil cupcake liner (purple if possible) as your base, then fill each cup ¾ full. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350° and let cool. Meanwhile, add mint extract and green food coloring to vanilla frosting until you’ve reached your desired taste and color. Swirl a generous dollop of mint frosting on each cupcake and top it off with a cherry. For an added touch, you could add a Joker card topper and drizzle cherry syrup!

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Firefly

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I went back and forth between a few different ideas for Firefly before ultimately deciding on these Fireball-infused red velvet cupcakes. If you’re a big fan of Fireball whiskey then you’ll be happy that this is the recipe that made the cut! To get that bold cinnamon flavor infused into your cupcakes, follow the directions for a traditional red velvet cake mix but substitute Fireball where the recipe calls for water. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350° oven, then allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

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You could always frost your red velvet cupcakes with the typical cream cheese frosting, but I decided to kick things up a notch and make a toasted marshmallow merengue frosting. This frosting is super easy to make and serves as an additional fire element to the overall presentation. In a heat resistant bowl placed over a pot of boiling water, whisk egg whites, sugar, vanilla and cream of tartar 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and beat the mixture for an additional 5 minutes or so (until soft peaks form). Pipe the merengue on top of each cupcake and torch the frosting to brown the edges.

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Mr. Freeze

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Finally, we’ll cool things off with a refreshing slushy to honor Mr. Freeze. Using frozen fruit as a base ingredient helps create a smooth texture and fresh taste, so for this drink you’ll want to start with frozen pineapple chunks and fresh fruit juices.
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In addition to the frozen pineapple, blend fresh pineapple juice, blue curacao and coconut (or silver/spiced) rum. If you have blue food dye in the pantry, add a few drops in as well to ensure that the drinks color stays a bold blue. Pour the slushy into a small rocks glass and top with a big swirl of whipped cream to make the drink look similar to the rest of the cupcakes you’ve made.

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I’d be lying if I said that I can’t wait until my next day of baking, but in the end I was ultimately very happy with the final product. I’m not much of a baker, so if I can pull of these adorable cupcakes without making too much of a mess of them I promise that you can too! Pour yourself a big glass of the Mr. Freeze slushy and follow along with these rules as you catch the season 3 finale, airing on 9/19.

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