As I’ve grown older and the weary years have coated my hunched back like a film of unwanted snail slime, I’ve come to the wary conclusion that there are two sides of me: the one that you know, and the one that you wouldn’t want to know for all the holy flying bats in the world–though what you would want to do with a colony of holy flying bats, I haven’t the faintest idea. You tell me.
Of course, unless you’re my mom and have witnessed the stormy tantrums I
still throw all the time used to throw as a kid in the Polly Pocket aisle of Toys R Us, I’m pretty much an “As Seen in Stores” kind of girl. Peppy, extroverted, painfully enthusiastic at times, and totally predictable.
But at rare little moments of extreme environmental stress or unceasing irritation, my trigger–like any normal human being’s–will trip. And boy, you don’t want to be the person standing in front of it when it does. If you’re the one who tripped it up, all the bleaker for you. My judging glare is not something you want to experience from the receiving end. Nor is my adult, I-will-smack-you hands-on-hips gesture when I appear, glowering, in your doorway.
On the latest battlefront, my neighbors have been demons from the darkest depths of Dante’s nine circles of hell. Zac Efron (who, by the way, visited us for the premiere of Neighbors last month) has got nothing on my. Freakin’. Neighbors.
Case in point: One week, I caught about a total of 20 hours of shut-eye because the guys across the way blasted their bass-heavy cool kid rock-alternative-I’m-not-sure-how-this-even-constitutes-music songs until 4 AM three nights in a row. As a consequence, I got really good at writing passive-agressive social media haikus like this one:
Take my class next year–
Bet you will shut up and study
When I flunk your derrieres.
Your future potential teacher/employer/archnemesis.)
I loved seeing those of my friends who were still awake at 3 AM liking that status and sending suggestions for Taylor Swift-esque revenge. Gotta love ’em. (And in case you were going to point it out, yes–I have since learned that a haiku is based on a meter of five-seven-five syllables, not words……but for the purposes of this demonstration, let’s pretend I did something right.)
Or, when my upstairs neighbor inexplicably started playing The Hobbit at full volume from 1:30 AM until whenever the heck that giant of a movie ends, so that my early morning was filled with the reverberation of dragon roars in Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice telling Martin Freeman he’d never be a famous robber:
I hope Smaug eats you
And when he roars I will think
It’s just you being obnoxious.
(Again, whoops to the syllable count. But still. It was late, and I was irked.)
The third time my neighbors hosted a building-shaking, brain-cell-damaging party across the way until 4 AM, I was already on the edge. When Miley came roaring through the speakers, however, I just lost it. I generally consider myself a very tolerant person, but when I had to wake up the next morning at 6 AM and actually do real-people things, I was going to bite someone’s head off and chew it into a pulpy mess. Witness the haiku and real-time status updates that preceded utter fire-spewing retribution:
Dear wonderful noisy neighbors…my third haiku of the week for you:
I like you like I
like raisins in my cookies–
not at all. Shaddup.
3 AM addendum: may have to get up and bake oatmeal raisin cookies to hurl through their open front door….
4 AM: All is quiet–because Scary She turned on the lights and walked through the door and the rest is history.
Let’s pretend the knife in the picture had nothing to do with it.
Yeah. So basically, I busted out a can of whoop-arse on those kids, who are not really that much younger than me.
I actually just sort of stood in their doorway in all my frazzle-haired, baggy-eyed pagan-god-like awfulness and gave them all a look that made everyone rush to turn off the music and slink shamefully out the door.
On several of those late nights where my second self was raring and ready to come roaring out, though, I turned (unsurprisingly) to baking as a way to calm myself down and keep from absolutely smashing down their door. I’m not kidding about hurling those oatmeal-raisin cookies at them (a suggestion of my friend’s–a second friend told me I should bring over a plate and shame them into quiet), because I did end up making them at 3 AM. And in the spirit of my Jekyl & Hyde complex, I also made these two-toned red velvet and chocolate cupcakes.
These cupcakes are insane, and they are insanely good. A collision of my very favorite chocolate cupcake base and an absolutely fantastic new red velvet base, and I had created a match made in heaven. This cupcake was actually a surprise for my friend’s care package, which she ordered from me for her upcoming anniversary. I wanted to make something fun that would represent the two of them–and what better way than baking two awesome flavors into one epic two-toned cupcake?
In short, these are not cupcakes I would waste hurling at my neighbors. Not in a million and fifty-two years.
And anyway: they have been warned.
Now…who wants a cupcake?
I know I could use one!
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
Red Velvet Cupcake:
- 4 teaspoons butter
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons red food coloring (liquid)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add remaining ingredients (water, oil, vinegar) and stir in until just combined.
- If you would like to bake these as regular chocolate cupcakes, preheat oven to 350 degrees, divide batter among 12 lined muffin tins, and bake for 15-17 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Red Velvet Cupcake:
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and very fluffy.Beat in egg.
- Add cocoa powder, red food coloring, and vanilla. Mix in until combined.
- Alternately add buttermilk and flour, beating each ingredient in until batter is smooth. Add salt, baking soda, and vinegar, and beat in until smooth.
- If you would like to bake these as regular red velvet cupcakes, preheat oven to 350 degrees, divide batter among 12 lined muffin tins, and bake for 15-17 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- Spoon a large spoonful of chocolate batter and a large spoonful of red velvet batter into each muffin liner, from opposite sides at the same time so that the colors do not bleed too much into each other. Fill each tin 2/3 full (half chocolate, half red velvet).
- Bake in preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting them (see frosting recipe below).
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a medium bowl, beat together all ingredients until smooth and fluffy. Frost cupcakes and store cupcakes in a tightly-sealed container in fridge for up to 4 days.