This semester has been nothing if not gruelling, and on Tuesday my favorite professor threw an awesome soiree on the last day. After months of studying brain waves and electrode placement, EEG and ERPs, alpha, beta, theta, and delta rhythms, slow wave and REM sleep… and even the mysterious and elusive P300, we got to let loose.
There was beer and pizza, like any normal pizza party should have.
But we’re a bunch of over achievers who love science here, so it didn’t end at that.
Skittles infused vodka… science fair project or party starter? Or paper weights for our final exams?
Reaction time testing before and after alcohol…
And I revealed my secret identity as the Naked Baker with some boooomb Cortical Cupcakes (scroll down for the recipe!)
Which people loved.
Even the professors!
Dr. G: “Here, the occipital lobe! The prefrontal gyrus! Somatosensory cortex!”
Dr. T trying to think harder with two brains instead of one… maybe?
Well the point of this post is two fold. Well three fold, I guess. Or, ok, four fold. So many folds!
First: Embrace your quirks! Maybe brains aren’t your thing… maybe you love fashion, maybe you love vampires, maybe you love Obama … it doesn’t matter, like minded people will always be stoked on cupcakes that embrace their (and your) uniqueness.
Second: Reaction time apparently improves with alcohol consumption… so if you need your reflexes to get super quick for any fight or flight situation you might find yourself in, kick back a couple brewskies. That was mostly sarcasm, but how can you argue with these data? PS. the word “data” is plural, and it really bugs me when people treat it as a singular word. Avoid sounding ignorant and don’t make this mistake ever again.
Third: Hey Dr. G! As if your multiple publications didn’t do the job, I just made you famous by putting you on my blog! And I made brain cupcakes! Keep that in mind when calculating my final grade, ok? Cool!
Fourth: If you can’t tell from my weird tone and colorful use of punctuation, as well as the fact that I’m not proofreading this… I just finished my most difficult and (hopefully last!) semester of college. Go me! Woo!
Ok! So now that you are so totally siked (psyched?) on Cortical Cupcakes, here is the best part: They are totally easy! Yeah!! Martha Stewart’s “One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes” and Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
Here’s what you need for 18 cuppies (I doubled to make enough):
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (use a fancy one!)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup warm water (I used warm brandy instead, just to mix it up a little)
And for the frosting:
5 egg whites
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
Pinch a salt
4 sticks unsalted butter, room temp and chopped
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
In case you missed it in the name of this recipe, you only need one bowl for the cupcakes! One bowl! So easy!
So preheat to 350 and line a couple of cupcake tins.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in an electric mixer.
Add buttermilk, oil, vanilla, water/brandy.
Beat until combined.
Fill cups about 3/4 full. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through.
Make that frosting!
Combine your egg whites, sugar, and salt in the bowl of your mixer and set it over a pan of barely simmering water.
Cook, whisking constantly, until whites are warm and sugar is completely dissolved.
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whisk until stiff peaks form (about 10 minutes).
Add the butter a few chunks at a time. Then add vanilla. If you want to add some coloring or other flavoring, do it now.
Switch from the whisk to the paddle attachment to beat out air bubbles for about 2 minutes.
First spread a layer of frosting on the top of each cupcake.
Then pipe a double line down the center of each cupcake to separate the two hemispheres, and squiggle all those gyri and sulci on!