DuckTales (1987)

Episode: The Money Vanishes
Ma Beagle’s Cake

“Scrooge McDuck, he had a vault. Ee-i-ee-i-oh. And in his vault, he had some dough. Ee-i-ee-i-oh.” What? You don’t immediately start singing this song when you think of DuckTales? Me neither. I like something with a bit more “Woo-oo!” in it. Hey, after all my Disney Afternoon days, I’ll never be able to get that theme song out of my head. But that catchy tune is just one thing I love about DuckTales. There’s also adventure, mystery, riches, Launchpad. I could just sit here and type about this series for days, but then we’d never get to the recipe. Let’s just say that I love this show as much as Scrooge loves money. No, my cartoon obsession won’t make me three cubic acres of cash, but I feel rich in other ways. Even Scrooge comes to realize that wealth isn’t always measured in dollars and cents. But that never stops him from fussing over the money he has and finding ways to earn more. Scrooge didn’t become a zillionaire by luck alone. He did it by being “smarter than the smarties and tougher than the toughies.” And those skills of his, as well as those of his grandnephews, are put to the test whenever they travel across the globe in search of treasure or come face-to-face with the villains right in Duckburg.

You’d think life would be easy for the richest duck in the world, but it’s not all triple-mint ripple ice cream and dips in the Money Bin for Scrooge McDuck. He’s got to deal with pains in the wallet like Flintheart Glomgold, Magica De Spell, and the Beagle Boys. When we first meet the notorious Beagle Boys, Big Time says that they’ve hit the Money Bin 299 times! And after all those attempts, the Beagle Boys still somehow keep finding new ways to try to make off with Scrooge’s cash. They once stole Gyro’s Furniture-Mover Ray and Preparation Spray and zapped all the money in the Money Bin straight to their hideout. They never had to lift a money bag! But let’s back up here a bit. The Beagle Boys were in jail. They’re always in jail. How do they keep getting out? It’s definitely not because of good behavior. El Capitan, Glomgold, and Magica have all sprung them from jail, but they usually escape thanks to their dear old Ma. Whenever her sons end up in the slammer, Ma Beagle goes to the kitchen and bakes up something special to send to her boys. And her tokens of affection are filled with the best surprises. (I’m not talking chocolate chips.) More like “a file, some dynamite, maybe a blowtorch.” In the case of “The Money Vanishes,” Ma Beagle sends a cake with a shovel in it. I know what you’re thinking, “There’s a shovel in that cake?” Yeah, you can’t even tell, right? Okay, so you can OBVIOUSLY see that a shovel is hidden in it, but Officer Parolski doesn’t notice.

Recipe makes one large chocolate cake.

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake:

1 cup vegetable oil

4 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour

3 cups sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 eggs, room temperature

2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

 

Frosting-You’ll need 3-4 batches

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon heavy cream

 

Sprinkles

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon meringue powder

2 tablespoons warm water

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Blue and Red/Pink Food Coloring

 

Directions

Chocolate Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour two 10 x 2-inch round cake pans.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a stand mixer, combine oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract and beat until pale, about 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternatingly, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.

Divide cake batter amongst pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when the cake is tested. Cool in pans for 10-15 minutes. Turn out cakes on a wire rack and cool completely.

Frosting:

In a stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat powdered sugar in, a little at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add vanilla extract and heavy cream. Beat until smooth.

Sprinkles:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, meringue powder, vanilla extract, and water until smooth. (You may have to add additional water if it’s too thick, but you want the mixture to remain pipe-able.) Divide the icing into two bowls and tint one blue and the other pink. Transfer one bowl of icing to a piping bag fitted with a tip about ¼-inch in diameter. (I wanted bigger sprinkles and the best tip in my drawer was a Marpol #10.) Pipe long, thin lines onto parchment-lined baking sheets until all the icing is used up. Repeat with the other colored icing. Let the icing sit uncovered for 24 hours, or at least overnight. Once the icing strips are dry, chop or break them up into your desired lengths.

Putting It All Together:

Trim any excess cake so both rounds are level. Spread a large amount of frosting on the top and sides of one of the cakes. Top with the other cake. Now here’s the fun part! Stick a shovel right through the cake. Cover the cake and the shovel with a lot more of the frosting. Top with sprinkles. Now it’s ready for delivery or you can just go all Burger on it!

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I’m a big fan of this shovel cake, (It doesn’t have a fun, alliterative name.) so I would love to take a peek at Ma Beagle’s recipe book to see all the weapons she’s baked for her sons. There are Pumpkin Pistol Popovers, Metal Meringue Pie, Huckleberry Hand Grenade Cheesecake, and Ma’s favorite, Chocolate Chainsaw Surprise, just to name a few. All these sweet treats warm the Beagle Boys’ hearts and fill their stomachs, and most importantly, get them out of jail. That is, once they figure out how to use the tools. Big Time is the only one who understands that they need to use the shovel to tunnel out their cell. Too bad all of their digging and deceiving is for nothing because Huey, Dewey, and Louie turn the tables on them and zap them back to jail before they can even spend a dime. They may have only gotten a small taste of freedom, but they’ll be sinking their teeth into another one of Ma’s cakes in no time.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

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The Peanuts Movie

Cupcakes

When I first heard that The Peanuts Movie was in development, I was all full of mixed emotions. I so wanted to see “Good ol’ Charlie Brown” on the big screen, but I wasn’t completely sold on the idea either. I feared that someone was trying to make a quick buck off the Peanuts gang and the movie would be nothing short of obnoxious. When I finally got to see the movie, I was ecstatic to find that my fears were all for nothing. The Peanuts Movie is so soft and endearing and I can’t help but feel it’s a wonderful tribute to the late, great Charles M. Schulz and his beloved characters.

Charlie Brown is still the Charlie Browniest as he falls for The Little Red-Haired Girl and tries desperately to impress her. (The poor kid comes down with a serious case of inadequacy.) Lucky for him, his faithful friend Snoopy sticks close to his side and helps him along. But that doesn’t stop Snoopy from trying his darndest to steal the spotlight. Snoopy’s journey to the aerodrome has got to be my favorite part of the movie. (Sneaky, little, evil Snoopy on Peppermint Patty’s lights is too funny!) Oh, and I just love when Snoopy steals Charlie Brown’s cupcakes. Yeah, cupcakes. That Charlie Brown himself bakes. That’s quite a step up from toast! It’s not like Charlie Brown had a choice though when Peppermint Patty signs him up to make cupcakes for the Winter Dance. Okay, he sets out towards school with only 6 cupcakes, but judging from Snoopy’s actions they had to be good.

Recipe makes 24 cupcakes.

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

2/3 cup butter, room temperature

1 ¾ cups sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

3 cups sifted cake flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cups milk, room temperature

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Buttercream Icing

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 cups sifted powdered sugar

6 tablespoons heavy cream

Green food coloring

 

Sprinkles (Optional) They look like either gold or green jimmies, but any sprinkles are fine.

 

Directions

Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line standard muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder, and salt. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Beat in the eggs one at a time and add the vanilla extract. Add flour mixture in four additions, alternately with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.

Divide cupcake batter amongst tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when the cupcakes are tested. Cool in tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tins and cool on the rack completely.

Buttercream Icing:

In a stand mixer, beat butter until fluffy. Add vanilla extract. Beat powdered sugar in, a little at a time. Scrape down sides of the bowl and add heavy cream. Add a little green food coloring and beat until smooth.

Putting It All Together:

Top each cupcake with a large dollop of icing and smear/smooth with an offset spatula or tool of your choice. Top with a pinch of sprinkles. Now they’re ready for any winter dance or just for you.

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Can Charlie Brown really bake cupcakes and whip up icing all from scratch? I have no doubt in my mind that he can. If he can read War and Peace and write a superb 1000-word book report on it all in one weekend, he can make cupcakes no problem. (I know I can’t do that. Let me have a crack at Leo’s Toy Store instead.) Despite countless failures, Charlie Brown even manages to fly a kite. (Something else I can’t do.) I’m pretty sure that he can do anything, because every time he gets knocked down, he gets right back up. He’s also kind, compassionate, honest, brave, and funny. And I’m glad that he gets some recognition for it! So he’s not perfect. That doesn’t mean he’s an insecure, wishy-washy failure. He’s a good person and people like him. Why else would I still be watching him after all these years?

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Ginger Cake

I’ve always been kind of a fraidy-cat, but that’s never kept me from grabbing up every spooky story I could get my hands on. I started off with series like Goosebumps and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and quickly moved on to longer and darker books. So I’m one of those people who just can’t wait for Halloween because hair-raising stories are in abundance. It’s also the best time of year to hear my favorite scary tale, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” I don’t remember the first time I heard the story, but Disney made sure I’d never forget it. Washington Irving’s legend of Ichabod Crane is fun and mysterious in its own right, but when sprinkled with Disney magic, it comes to life as a classic that I still watch every year. It’s entertaining, a bit spooky, and narrated by the incomparable, Bing Crosby. (Of course he sings too!) The tunes are so catchy, I just have to hear “Headless Horseman” once and it’s stuck in my head until well into December. This animated Sleepy Hollow may not be the most elaborate interpretation of the legend, but it’s always been my favorite.

I know that food is a big part of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but I wasn’t prepared to be given so many options. Ichabod is always eating pies, turkeys, cakes, and whatever else is in his reach. How can that scarecrow of a man put so much food away? Ultimately, I chose from the large spread at Baltus Van Tassel’s Halloween Frolic. During his dance with Katrina, Ichabod grabs up a large slice of cake and eats it all in one bite, without missing a beat. My sister and I almost immediately got into a mini debate over the flavor of the cake. Although it could’ve been chocolate or carrot, I gave Irving’s story another run through and read that the Van Tassels had ginger cakes at their party. So I settled on a gingerbread cake that wouldn’t be too far off from cakes served around that time. But what about icing? Back then, many icings were just a mix of water and powdered sugar or beaten egg whites and sugar. I was leaning more toward the egg whites and figured that Seven-Minute Frosting was a descendent of that simple icing and would work just fine. So the cake isn’t historically accurate, but I doubt Ichabod would complain.

Recipe makes one double-layered cake.

Ingredients

Ginger Cake:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 ½ cups molasses

1 cup buttermilk

3 eggs, beaten

4 cups sifted flour

2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons ground ginger

Pecan or Walnut Halves (Could be either but I had pecans on hand.)

 

Seven-Minute Frosting

1 ½ cups sugar

1/3 cup water

2 egg whites

2 teaspoons light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions

Ginger Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.

In a stand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add molasses, buttermilk, cinnamon, and ginger and mix thoroughly. Mix in the eggs and then 2 cups of flour. Once combined, add the baking soda water. Gradually add the remaining 2 cups of flour and stir until just combined.

Divide cake batter amongst pans. Gently tap or drop pans on the counter to remove air pockets. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when the cakes are tested. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out cakes on a wire rack and cool completely.

Seven-Minute Frosting:

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan or bottom of a double boiler. Combine sugar, water, egg whites, corn syrup, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl or top of the double boiler. Place the bowl over the boiling water. Be careful not to let the bowl touch the water or else the frosting may become grainy. Begin beating the mixture with an electric hand mixer on low speed for a minute. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff and glossy, 5-7 minutes. Remove the frosting from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Beat again for 1 minute.

Putting It All Together:

Trim excess cake so both rounds are level. Spread a layer of the seven-minute frosting on top of one of the cakes. Top with the other cake. Evenly frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining seven-minute frosting. Garnish the cake with pecan or walnut halves. Cut into 5 very large slices (Or more if you don’t have an Ichabod-like appetite.) and serve!

Variations: I watched through The Legend of Sleepy Hollow several times before making the cake and never noticed a color difference between the filling and the outer frosting. (You can bet I was miffed when I found a quality photo of the cake scene.) So feel free to substitute any kind of colored or flavored filling. Also, if you’re not a fan of seven-minute frosting, (Because it can be a pain sometimes.) buttercream and cream cheese frosting both go really well with gingerbread.

sleepy-hollow-ichabod-cakesleepy-hollow-cake-2

No one in my house is as nimble as Ichabod, but I had to test how easily someone could pull off Ichabod’s “cake dancing.” Turns out, it’s a lot harder than it looks. (Injuries were sustained while trying to take a decent photo.) But at least we were rewarded with giant slices of tasty cake. But Ichabod needed the cake more than we did. Not that he knew at the time, but he’d need all the energy he could muster when finding himself face-to-flaming pumpkin face with the Headless Horseman.

 In the end, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow leaves you questioning Ichabod’s fate. I like to side with those who believe he was spirited away by the Headless Horseman. (Sorry Ichabod.) And maybe I’ve watched this cartoon a few too many times, but I almost believe there is a Headless Horseman out there. It doesn’t help when I start comparing him to my cake. That sounds odd, but hear me out. Both the Horseman and my cake started out as ideas put to paper that evolved to the point where they were brought to life by lovers of the legend. If my cake turned out this well, I’d hate to encounter the Headless Horseman. (*Shudders*) Man, I’m getting out of here.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!