Bacon and Legs – Mimic anxiety and comfort cupcakes, Avengers-Style
I am an unbalanced, quirky kind of girl. The more I learn about people, the less bad I feel about my eccentricities. I suffer from depression and many, many anxieties. I always kind of felt alone in this situation. But it turns out, a lot of you are just as fucked up as I am.
This is why I feel comfortable telling you this. The Marvel universe, while I am infatuated and addicted and obsessed … stresses me the fuck out. It kicks up this whole new anxiety that I can only attribute to Marvel. I call it the Mimic Anxiety. (Mimic is a bad ass mutant that, while copying other mutants’ powers, also suffers from a bunch of fun psychological shit.)
I love immersing myself in comics, but it is an entirely vast and unrealistic undertaking for someone who has a need to complete things. Just in general, you will be going along, enjoying a comic series and then BOOM, you have a crossover. Now … you can just read the three-issue crossover, accept that there are things about those issues you won’t understand, and move on. I can’t. I mean, I do, because sometimes I have to … but then there’s a little note that goes into the back of my head. (Read this Spider-man series later.) All of those little notes start to add up. They are never forgotten and they take up all this space, full of worry. You know that feeling you get when you know there’s something you need to get done but you just don’t have the time? It’s that. Over and over and over.
On top of the sheer amount of content, there’s also the fact that Marvel content covers the Marvel Omniverse and all over the Multiverses, the number of which is unfathomable. There are countless parallel universes and sometimes, sometimes, characters travel between them. Wrap your head around hundreds of extra versions of the one character you thought you knew all about.
THEN. THEN! There are all of the transcendental storylines and characters. If you’re a casual reader, you probably know a little bit about this by way of Jean Grey. But there is so much more. So much that I certainly haven’t read because I’m terrified of it. Just read this list on Comic Vine. The first character is essentially a god. There are superhero groups of celestial beings. How in the living fuck are you supposed to be at peace with all of this?
That brings me to this: the Marvel movies are my escape from the stress and anxiety that my love for comic books brings to me. They are simple and straightforward. The Avengers are the Avengers. They aren’t “Oh, this is the Avengers team that had those other three characters that I now have to backtrack and read two other series’ just to understand AND there’s only one original hanging out these days.” The Avengers are: the Cap’, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye. Granted, with Age of Ultron, we’re also getting some Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver action thrown in there, but I’m down for that. The movies need to please everyone, so they keep a constant. A nice, comforting constant that I can escape into when the pressures of the omniverse are starting to chip away at my sanity.
I’ll never stop reading comic books. I don’t care how crazy they make me. Here, eat some of these comforting cupcakes. And go see Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1, 2015) for fuck’s sake.
* You can buy these, make them from a box, or use some awesome family recipe. Any flavor goes. Since I was putting in extra time decorating, I shortcutted and used a box mix for dark chocolate cake. I replaced the water with a porter. Beer cupcakes are always better than not-beer cupcakes.
First get prepared. Get out all of your tools and ingredients. Dust your work surface with powdered sugar.
Separate your whipped frosting into three bowls. You’ll need to dye it, 1 part Hulk-green, 1 part Iron Man-red and 2 parts White Man-peach. Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and set aside.
Next, prepare your fondant. Place your marshmallows and water in a large microwave-safe bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Microwave on high for a minute. The marshmallows will puff up. Stir with a rubber spatula so that they are smooth. If it still looks lumpy, microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir again. Add in the powdered sugar and stir with a spatula. Stir until only the Hulk would be able to keep stirring. Scrape all of it out onto your work surface. (It’s ok if a lot of the sugar isn’t incorporated yet.) Dust your hands with powdered sugar and start to knead it like bread. Work it until it’s a smooth ball and not sticky anymore. Use more powdered sugar if needed. (Just not too much, you don’t want it to be too stiff.)
Once you have a smooth-ass ball of fondant, divide it up into sections. You’ll need the following:
White: you’ll need plain white for Captain America’s A, Hulk’s mouth and Iron Man’s eyes but also leave some more white in case you don’t get the right color out of one of your colored batches. You do NOT want to be mixing up more fondant and you’ll have plenty to play with here.
Captain America’s Blue: a few drops of blue, and one drop of black
Black Hulk Hair (and bunches of eyes): several drops of black, you may need to add more as it’ll look gray at first.
Thor’s Golden Yellow: a few drops of yellow, one drop of orange or half drop of red
Iron Man’s Deep Gold (also used for Thor’s Eyebrows): a few drops of yellow, double the orange or red from Thor’s batch, go slowly and add in as you need it, it changes fast
Iron Man Red: You can mix up some red to match your iron man frosting for his mouth, or you can just use black like I did. Much easier and no one will notice.
Pick your first color to work on. Flatten the fondant into a round disc with your rolling pin. Rub crisco on your hands so they don’t get as-dyed (or wear rubber gloves ... I think it’s easier to work without gloves and I don’t mind some blue fingers for a couple days). Add in your food coloring into the middle of the fondant. Fold it in half so the dye is enclosed. Begin to knead the ball like you did before until the color is fully incorporated. Repeat for each color.
When you’re ready to decorate, roll out the fondant with the rolling pin. You’ll want it to be pretty thin. Using the template, cut out each piece from its appropriate color. If you put a little crisco on your knife, it cuts a lot easier. Smooth out the rough edges of your piece with your finger or the flat side of a knife. Set aside on a baking sheet and cover until ready to place on your cupcakes.
Frost your cupcakes with their appropriately colored frosting and assemble with fondant pieces. If you have any fondant-on-fondant action (i.e. Captain America’s eyes on his mask) just put a tiny bit of frosting on them as glue.
Cover and store until ready to devour. You might want to hide them from your kids. And by kids, I also mean significant others and friends.
Fontina Turner, a food blogger and graphic designer from Philadelphia, makes classy-as-fuck comfort food and consumes an unhealthy amount of cheeses and craft beers. She can be found in the kitchen, at the bar, on Twitter or trying to make H. Jon Benjamin love her. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.