“The Hunger Games” is a sensational trilogy about a dystopian United States that holds a gladiator-style fight to the death in a futuristic murder arena complete with hybrid creatures, force fields, and cameras to broadcast the carnage into every home with a television set. The participants in those Games? They’re children between 12 and 18. This is teen reading at its finest: think Lord of the Flies meets Twilight meets Spartacus.
The story is awesome, and the characters even more so. One of my favorites is the alcoholic ex-champion, Haymitch Abernathy, who won the 50th Hunger Games by using a force field to repel an axe thrown by the other remaining tribute. To punish his unorthodox victory, his loved ones were murdered, and Haymitch became an alcoholic. Haymitch is now a mentor to the new set of Hunger Games contestants. And he drinks. And manipulates the other characters. And is generally a bad-ass.
To show my appreciation of Haymitch, I decided to bake a themed cupcake in his honor. An alcoholic cupcake. A cupcake that intimidates all the other baked goods. A cupcake that would scare the chocolate chips out of a cookie. A cupcake that could growl slightly and cause a souffle to collapse. A cupcake so hardcore it frightens the frosting off of lesser cupcakes.
Step 1: Ingredients
For the cake:
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup espresso powder
- 1/2 cup whiskey (I used Maker's Mark and it worked REALLY well!)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the frosting:
- 12 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces
- 1 3/4 cup icing (powdered) sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons whiskey, optional
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over moderate heat.
- Mix whiskey, espresso powder, and cocoa powder in a small bowl and add to butter. Mix until thoroughly incorporated.
- Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes.
- While chocolate mixture cools, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
- Whisk together eggs and vanilla in a small bowl.
- When chocolate mixture cools, transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add egg mixture to the chocolate and mix until combined well.
- Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
- Divide batter into mini cupcake pans and bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes sit for 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer them to cool on a rack.
This recipe makes about 57 mini cupcakes.
Step 6: Frosting
- Beat the cream cheese and butter with a mixer until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and whiskey. Mix until light and fluffy.
- Spread or pipe frosting over each cupcake.
Runner Up in the