SpiderMan vs Barbie

My character… he realizes that the apocalyptic crime rate is because of global deceleration. The rotation of the earth is slowing down at a rate of point zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero six miles per hour each day disrupting the chemical equilibrium in the human brain causing very irrational criminal behavior.
–Boxer Santaros, Southland Tales

Scientists are saying the future is going to be far more futuristic then they originally predicted.
–Krysta Now, Southland Tales.

Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales has got to be one of the strangest movies I’ve seen in a long time. It makes his previous film, Donnie Darko (which I loved), seem completely linear and normal by comparison. Half way through Southland Tales (which by the way is quite Lynchian, although it almost seems to want to out-Lynch David Lynch to the point where if Richard Kelly continues down this path you might have to describe Lynch’s movies as being quite Kellyian), and I’m shifting and fidgeting, still undecided as to whether I loath or like the film. Occasionally I’m still laughing out loud; almost relieved that I’m able to find some connection and relatable humour within the film. Boxer Santaros’ (Dwayne Johnson) mixture of anxiety and innocence is amusing, and I love the character of Krysta Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar). Other times, I’m confused and irritated by how messy and unexplained it appears to be. Later I discover that there were three graphic novels released by Kelly that preceed the story told in the movie. Would that be like watching The Return of the King, without first seeing The Fellowship and Two Towers?

Anyway, I still like Richard Kelly.

Onto a more straightforward topic : Cake.

My boss set me the task of making two small birthday cakes for his kids. A Barbie cake for the girl and a Spiderman cake for the boy.

Sometimes I envy children, whose worlds are so small that the only choices they need to make are whether to have chocolate or strawberry milk. As we grow up, suddenly there seems to be so much choice. When did buying toothpaste become so complicated, for example? I don’t understand why there are so many types to choose from when it seems more logical to want your toothpaste to do everything for you. Tartar control, whitening, fresh breath.. are there really people out there who want white teeth whilst retaining the uniqueness of possessing bad breath?

There was nothing complicated about having to choose what cake to make for these kids. Charlie was adamant about wanting a Spiderman cake for his 4th birthday, despite having a Princess and Pirates theme for his joint birthday party with his 2 year old sister. I’ve seen the photos, and it’s quite cute to see all the little pirates gathered around a Spiderman cake.

With the Spidey cake, I was supplied with a few examples to pick from. One was of Spidey’s face as the whole cake, but I was quite taken by the one of a sugar figurine crawling on top of a web. Having never made a figurine before, I was a bit worried about doing a decent job of it. It seems to have turned out okay in the end though. Once you paint on the black webbing on his legs, arms and face, it starts to look a bit more like Spiderman. The cake started out as a plain vanilla cake from the Confetti Cakes book, with a vanilla and white chocolate ganache. It was covered with fondant, with a border of red fondant balls to compliment the colour of Spiderman’s suit. The figurine which I kneaded and rolled into shape at home, in front of the tv (too busy at work to complete it there), was later placed on top of the cake after it had hardened a bit. I agonised over the end result, because there were parts I wasn’t completely happy with, but then my boss said, “Don’t forget, it’s a cake for a FOUR year old!”.

The Barbie cake was slightly more fun to make. I’ve never owned a Barbie before, so I found it intriguing that once I had released her from her box, I had this urge to want to play with her hair and tweak her limbs around. This was just before I suffocated her with clingwrap so as to keep her clean while the cake construction was happening around her. After walking down several pink Barbie aisles at various toy shops, I couldn’t find any accessories (is Barbie on the wane?), so I made her a necklace from piped royal icing. The cake was a dark chocolate mudcake (a Planet Cake recipe) with dark chocolate ganache. The best part was decorating the skirt – like being a kid again, playing dressups. If you’re thinking of making a similar cake, I found this site very helpful.

Lastly, a girl and boy-themed set of cupcakes for the kids to take to their respective (pre)schools. Pictured below, are the boy ones, which were a collection of monster cupcakes. While I’ve never been a fan of licorice allsorts, it’s hard to deny their usefulness in doubling as monster eyes. I remember my niece was quite into the whole gross-out thing at a similar age so I thought extra lurid, ugly monster faces would appeal to Charlie. Apparently they were a hit. With the leftover cupcakes, I iced them rather haphazardly and set them out for co-workers to eat. One with spiky blue icing resembled cookie monster quite by accident, so for future reference, I could probably do a set of Sesame Street cupcakes – the cookie monster one would have a bit of a chocolate chip cookie wedged into his mouth! 😀

Embracing my inner monster, I’m submitting these cupcakes to Arfi’s Cupcakes Spectacular event. Yes, they don’t look very pretty, but I think they’re spectacular all the same. Spectacularly monstrous, that is!

Vanilla Cupcakes :
(from The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook)

2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
200g softened unsalted butter
1 cup caster sugar
4 eggs
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 170C. Line two 12-hole muffin trays with cupcake papers.

Sift together the flour and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes.
Add caster sugar a third at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition. After the last addition, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved.

Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each minute or until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

Add a third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add half of the milk and beat until combined. Repeat this process.

Add the remaining third of the flour and beat until thoroughly combined; do not over-beat or the mixture will toughen.

Spoon mixture into cupcake papers, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting.

spider-man-cake2.jpg barbie-cake-2.jpg

monstercupcakes.jpg monstercupcakes2.jpg monstercupcakes3.jpg


  1. arfi said,

    March 16, 2008 @ 1:12 am

    I think they are spectacular, indeed, Y! Those children are lucky to have somebody actually ‘listen’ to them hehehe… These look cute! I bet I’ll make them with my kids one day. They’d love that! Great idea we can pick up here. And the Barbie looks gorgeous! You’re clever girl, you! Thanks anyway to send these little monsters for Cupcakes Spectacular 2008. I’m glad you’re joining in!


  2. Annette - the party lady said,

    March 16, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

    Wow, these are fabulous! You do lovely work!

  3. barbara said,

    March 16, 2008 @ 4:07 pm

    Fabulous monster cupcakes. I think even my big kids would love them.

  4. Lorraine E said,

    March 24, 2008 @ 12:12 pm

    I love that Spiderman cake-it looks fabulous! Bravo!

  5. Mindy said,

    March 29, 2008 @ 11:50 am

    I love the cupcakes – your little monsters are great! I know my kids would love to come
    home and see them – are better yet what great idea to do with your kids!

  6. Huan-Tzin said,

    March 31, 2008 @ 7:37 pm

    how did you get to see Southland Tales? I’ve been waiting oh so long for it come out. you don’t have it on DVD do you? I would pay with the blood of my firstborn daughter for it. (well, I was just going to drink it all anyway.)

    any plans for eating out this weekend? not seen you guys in a while and have a friend who loves eating well coming from melbourne.

  7. Y said,

    April 1, 2008 @ 12:13 am

    Ah, Baz is the man you want to be paying then. Didn’t realise you were desperate to watch it. It’s bizarre, like Stone’s Wild Palms and Lynch’s stuff, but not very structured as well (deliberate?) so it barely held my attention, except for occasional bits of brilliance. What did you have in mind for this weekend?

  8. Huan-Tzin said,

    April 2, 2008 @ 6:46 pm

    catalonia at kirribilli
    arras at watson’s
    chat thai city
    spice I am
    yum cha at zilver

    that’s how I found DD (only watched it recently), so no surprise there. I started reading the graphic novels but they’re confusing.

  9. Y said,

    April 2, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

    Well if you found those confusing, the movie would be no help either 😀

    Was going to go to chat thai today, but ended up at Bodega with Duncan. Great little place, very yummy food. Zilver is my fav place to go for yum cha and Spice I Am is tastebud magic. I don’t mind any on your list. A friend works in the kitchen at Catalonia. I’ve been meaning to go for ages.

  10. Huan-Tzin said,

    April 4, 2008 @ 12:18 pm

    ooo. you tell me. going to zilver with a friend on Sunday – juliana will be back in melbourne by then though. catalonia I can do tomorrow afternoon, but may be a little late as doing danks st depot in the morning. not sure what I’m doing tonight but will probably be thai, and probably cho’s dumpling king today as well.

  11. Huan-Tzin said,

    April 4, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

    actually how about saturday lunch at catalonia? they have cute dishes but need a few people otherwise won’t be able to try it all.

  12. Y said,

    April 4, 2008 @ 7:39 pm

    Geez, are you eating to last you the rest of the year or something 😛

    Sorry can’t do lunches this weekend. Going to see a baby on Saturday and then have a hen’s lunch on Sunday.

  13. Huan-Tzin said,

    April 8, 2008 @ 9:09 pm

    he he. catalonia was good – juliana’s favourite. was a bit over blood sausage because it was hot and we were tired and full from danks st already, but the zucchini flowers and pork belly were definitely stand outs. lovely jamon. avoid the bream (not really all that spectacular, I thought).

    also did Spice My Stomach Gripe The Next Day, Cho’s Dumpling King in the Burlington centre (with the cold dishes) and Icebergs for a quick drink.

    I love chat thai but the wait can be horrendous.

  14. W said,

    August 20, 2008 @ 9:11 am

    I watched Southland Tales while blotto on Crown Royal XR so I thought it was the drink, and not the movie, that made things so hard to follow. Seeing how much I loved DD (have watched both original and director’s cut more than a few times) I bought the graphic novel and rewatched. Still confusing but interesting, with a few fantastic bits, all the same.

    Doesn’t remove DD from my top 10 tho.

  15. Y said,

    August 20, 2008 @ 10:00 am

    Haha.. I don’t know if I would’ve loved it that much to go read the graphic novel and then watch it a second time. You’re dedicated, that’s for sure!

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