Yesterday, I posted a few pictures of the rainbow cupcakes I was making because one of them had a perfect red heart peeking out through the top layer of blue batter. Now I’ll show you why I was making Technicolor cupcakes in the first place.
Tonight, Battlestar Galactica‘s final episode airs. While the quality hasn’t always been consistent, the miniseries pilot and the first season of the show (running into the first few episodes of the second season) had an excellent plot arc and some of the finest writing, acting and production I’ve ever seen on the small screen. Even my least favorite episodes have had their own flashes of brilliance. I’m very sad to see it go, but I can understand wanting to end the show intentionally instead of risking being canceled or just having the creative juices fizzle out.
I suggested to a couple of our friends that we should get together for a viewing party. That got me thinking that I’d like to make something special to commemorate the occasion. The inspiration that came to me was the mandala that Starbuck paints over and over again throughout both her life and the seasons of the show. She’s my favorite character, and this mandala has a lot of significance to the questions about who (and what) she is. Hopefully those remaining questions will be answered in the finale.
The mandala is one of the most artistic images in the show, and one of the ones that has the most impact. Humanity is struggling to survive in a fleet of spaceships that are falling apart. Much of the world of the show is grim and dark and grimy. There is little art, little color other than the bright, blood red lights associated with the Cylons. In contrast, Starbuck’s mandala jumps off the screen with its bold, primitive shape and its bright primary colors.
I didn’t have to think very hard as to what I wanted to do. I wanted to make the mandala out of pulled sugar, and from there I thought rainbow cupcakes could mirror the colors in the sugar decorations, echoing Starbuck’s repeated painting of the symbol on the show and generally looking cool.
The vanilla cupcake recipe I used came from The Whimsical Bakehouse, a fun cake decorating book that I’ve looked at many times but never cooked from. I liked the recipe, especially since it has an easy mixing method that’s different from what I’ve come across in the past. My one complaint is it calls for far too little vanilla. I suspected that was the case, but I’ve had so many problems baking cupcakes lately that I wanted to follow the recipe exactly to be sure they’d turn out. And they did, so I’m happy–very happy!–but next time I’ll at least double up on the vanilla.
The frosting was the one thing I couldn’t decide on until I started making it. It’s lemon meringue flavored. I just made my Swiss meringue recipe and added both orange and lemon extracts to compensate for the mild flavor of the cupcakes. (I learned that orange extract ups the flavor of lemon extract from the Martha Stewart recipe that eventually became the basis for my wedding cake.) I convinced myself that the frosting fit the theme because the mandala foreshadowed a big explosion, and the meringue got torched. A tenuous connection, but enough to go on.
This was the first time I’d played with pulled sugar in years, so I was pretty rusty. The mandalas are very thick–oh, wait, I meant them to be like that. So…they…could be…BSG lollipops. Two sweet treats in one! Right. Well, now that I have all of my equipment located, dusted off and wiped down, I hope to get back into the habit, because it’s one of my favorite things to do, and I used to be able to do it pretty well.
To any other BSG fans out there: what visual images from the show do you remember most vividly? Could you turn them into something edible? If you don’t watch the show, what dish or dessert could you be inspired to make by your favorite TV show?
Other Sugar Work Posts at Pie of the Tiger:
Sugar Work Lesson 1: Casting Sugar
Cadbury Creme Brul’egg
Sugar Work Equipment
Sugar Work (Pastry School Flashbacks)
OMG, I think I love you. You just combined two of my favorite things: BSG and food! Although I have to admit at first I didn’t recognize the mandala; it looks a lot more like the ceiling sculpture in the lobby of the Bellagio.
I guess the most vivid visuals I can think of are the basestars and also that one weird ship in the fleet that looks like a steering wheel. And now I guess Hera’s drawings of the musical notes. Ooh, it’d be fun to make a lot of different colored macarons and arrange them on a white rectangular platter like those notes….
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I wouldn’t recognize the mandala in them, either, so don’t feel bad! I was using a Dale Chihuly-inspired technique with the sugar, so you were right on with your first impression! I’m pretty sure he was even the one who did the installation at the Bellagio. 😉
Cool idea with the macarons! You know, that’s interesting…Kara and Hera both do drawings. And their names rhyme, but that’s beside the point. I wish there were ten more hours to wrap things up! The basestars are another one of the really vivid images in my mind…I was also thinking of the ruins of the opera house in the middle of that valley on Kobol.
Yes, it is a Chihuly installation and was overseen by him.
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Great sugar work! Its been a while since I have pulled sugar also and you did much better than I would have!!
I made some rainbow cupcakes last week with a white chocolate frosting is it just me or do multi colored rainbow things just taste better??
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Well, thanks! I really wanted to do some blown sugar last night, but I figure I should get back into it from the basics. 🙂
I think they do taste better! I mean, desserts are already an indulgence, and adding multiple colors makes it even more sinful, because I really shouldn’t be having them. I know when I made rainbow cookies at Christmas, people were eating them first because of the colors.
The Galactica burning through the atmosphere on New Caprica to let the pilots out close enough to do damage.
MAN that image will stay with me forever.
Oh, yeah! Good one! They’ve had some really crazy dramatic action scenes, and that’s on of the top ones.
Hey there, I originally popped over from Tastespotting because I love how that one cupcake has a heart in it… BSG is my favorite show, and I’m definitely sad to see it go for completely selfish reasons- what am I gonna watch now? That being said, I’m super excited for the finale!!! Can’t wait for all those loose ends to (hopefully) be tied up (especially concerning Starbuck), and see where they all end up.
I came across this a while back:
Cool drink! I remember seeing some behind the scenes thing where they were talking about designing drinks for the fancier bar on the show, I think for some scene with Lee and Ellen…anyway, they were talking about how they came up with futuristic cocktails. The answer was mostly dry ice. 🙂
I’m just glad that Starbuck is central to the show again. I think we’re definitely going to learn what’s going on with her since they’ve thankfully made the main plot revolve around her. I’m just hoping that she and Lee will have another “buddy cop” scene in the finale…I was so excited when they were taking on the entire mutiny together.
Wow, these look so cool! I love all the thought that went into designing the cupcakes…perfect for the finale! The spun sugar looks amazing on top of the toasted frosting. Yum!
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Thanks!! I wasn’t sure if the sugar would look good with the toasted meringue, but I think I did make the right frosting choice.
Those are gorgeous. I also love the thought that went into them. Sadly, I have only seen the miniseries for BSG (I have a lot of catching up to do!) But I hope to do something equally nerdy and at least half as beautiful when the Star Trek movie comes out in May!
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Get the miniseries and the first season from Netflix! You’ll have the benefit of not having to wait for years and years to find out how things turn out. 🙂
I’m so excited for the Star Trek movie. Sylar Spock–he’s so perfect for the part! If you do something, I want to see it!
Those are amazing! Just started the first season yesterday and looking forward to watching a lot more!
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Thanks! I hope you enjoy the show…I watched the first season in not much more than one sitting! (I had to catch up after my husband and best friend forced me to watch the first episode of Season 2 and I realized it was the best thing on television at the time.)
Oh man. These are spectacular! As far as visuals go I can’t pinpoint a specific THING, but since I’m a film nerd I can say that the visual effects and cinematography on that show can be stunning.
One of my favorite shots has to be those insanely long shots in space of the Cylon raiders pouring out of the baseship with a snap zoom to some brave Viper pilot flying straight into the fray for some good hunting. These cupcakes are awesome. I can’t wait for the finale!
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I’m a writing nerd and a former drama geek, so I’m really into dissecting TV/films, too. 🙂 I love the way they film the space battles, and that’s not usually my favorite part of a scifi movie or show. They really make you feel like you’re out there in the cockpit. I wish they had done more of them this season.
Those are freaking amazing! I want one so badly.
I wish I could hand you one through my monitor’s screen. 🙂
I love you so much for making these! They’re amazing! Today is my birthday but the last BSG being today (it’s my obsession) makes me saad!
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Happy Birthday! Sorry that it’s ending on your birthday, but on the bright side, there’s going to be two hours of BSG showing on your big day, plus the last frakkin’ special.
These cupcakes are amazing! We included a link to them in our foodie link roundup today! Enjoy the finale tonight!
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Awesome! Thanks so much for the link!
Okay seriously, I LOVE BSG! everyone thinks that i’m a total nerd when i say that i watch that show, but they don’t understand until they watch it themselves. these cupcakes look absolutely DIVINE and spot on to the show! what a great idea! i wish i could have one. they’re so cute.
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Thanks! I’m glad they make sense for the show to people…I was worried that people would wonder why I made clown cupcakes for BSG. 😀
I guess I’m lucky that most of my friends are geeks, or at least geek friendly! It really is a wonderful show. Some people just don’t know that the best scifi and fantasy stuff always is more about what it reveals about humanity and our own world, not about the aliens and unicorns.
Wow. Those are absolutely gorgeous. What a work of art. Are you sure you want to eat them? 🙂
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I already ate the one I cut in half. 😀 I learned long ago if I wanted to spend tons of time decorating cakes or cupcakes or making chocolates, I had to be willing to watch them be devoured in front of my eyes in a minute fraction of the time I put into them. That’s what digital cameras are for! I’m not so sure I can eat the one that came out of the oven with a heart on top, though.
I love the Chihuly-like sugar pieces! I haven’t watched BSG but have friends that are big fans who would love these. I like your tip about adding orange extract to lemon flavored things. I’m always sneaking a tiny bit of orange extract into baked goods with cinnamon.
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Orange and cinnamon…I can see that. I usually put cinnamon and orange in with blueberries when I’m cooking them…so basically that’s just cutting out the blueberries. 🙂
Great looking cupcakes!
Those are simply stunning. Almost too good-looking to eat 🙂
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I have to say, I preferred looking at them to eating them. Not that they were bad, but I still need to find the perfect cupcake recipe. On the bright side, the sugar decorations actually tasted really good this time…sort of like cotton candy (or candy floss, right?).
OMG, these are amazing! Absolutely gorgeous.
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I like how the cupcakes relate to the show! Very creative! I love BG, but I thought it fizzled out during the last season. The finale was just okay, in my opinion, but the show as a whole was awesome!
I second so may comments – LOVE BSG! LOVE cupcakes! LOVE your combination!
I was pretty happy with the finale – you know, it had problems, but I think the good outweighed the issues, over all.
i love it!!!