Bart: You sniveling toad! You little egg-sucker
Lisa: Tell me more.
Bart: Back-scratcher! Boot-licker! Honor student!
Lisa: You’ll never get one now, name-caller.
Bart: All right, all right. Look, I’m sorry. I got upset. In the heat of the moment, I said some things I didn’t mean.
Lisa: You weren’t thinking, were you.
Lisa: I’m not a sniveling toad, am I?
Bart: Not really.
Lisa: I’m not a little egg-sucker, am I?
Bart: Of course not.
Lisa: Then what am I?
Bart: A beautiful human being.
Lisa: What do you like best about me?
Bart: Well, I’d have to say…your generous nature, your spirit of giving.
Lisa: Well. Open your mouth and close your eyes, and you will get a big surprise. [A cupcake falls out of the box. Lisa picks it up and shoves it into Bart’s mouth]
Bart: Thanks, Lis. You’re the best!
– Bart the General (The Simpsons Season 1 – Episode 5)
Chocolate cupcakes play a pivotal role in two back to back episodes of The Simpsons first season. First, in Bart the General we have Lisa baking cupcakes before school for “Mrs. Hoover” who at this point still had blue hair. I’m unclear when the Mrs changed to Miss but it was probably around the same time Hoover started dying her hair. At any rate, Lisa makes cupcakes for her teacher, a bully tries to steal them, Bart stands up and defends his sister, and, naturally, guerrilla warfare follows.
Chocolate cupcakes are important to Lisa, illustrated by the fact that she makes them for her teacher in Bart the General and that she is secretly devastated when she doesn’t get one in the episode that follows: Moaning Lisa, I mean just read these song lyrics:
I got a bratty brother / He bugs me everyday
And this morning my own mother / Gave my last cupcake away.
My Dad acts like he belongs / He belongs in the zoo.
I’m the sa-a-a-addest kid, in gra-a-a-de number two.
– Moaning Lisa (The Simpsons Season 1 – Episode 6)
While Lisa is smart, in the early episodes she’s not that smart. I’m not sure she would be making these chocolate cupcakes from scratch, especially given how much time that would take before school. And, since I haven’t used a boxed cupcake mix since I was about 12 I thought this would be the perfect chance to see if the standard recipe format has changed. It has not.
Chocolate Cupcake Mix
- 2/3 Cup of Water
- 3 Tablespoons of oil
- 1 Egg
- Chocolate Cupcake Frosting
Directions (in English and French, lest the language police come after me):
Do not eat raw cake batter?! I credit eating raw batter to my youthful skin and ability to consume partially cooked chicken. Anyway, you know the drill. Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until combined. Bake in a muffin tray and top with chocolate icing when they are cool.
You might notice that my plating technique has really improved! If said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m more of a writer then a photographer and I’m ok with that. These cupcakes were really tasty; light, fluffy and chocolatey.
In Moaning Lisa, Marge is giving away chocolate cupcakes and only has two left. I suspect that Season One Marge would never use boxed cupcake batter, so I also needed to make some cupcakes from scratch.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup cocoa
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/8 cup unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/8 cup whole milk
- 1 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and set aside. Combine sugar and cocoa with milk and vegetable oil and slowly mix together with mixer. Next, add eggs and vanilla extract, finally adding the flour mixture. Pour into a cupcake tray and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Add butter, vanilla extract and milk and mix on low in a stand mixer. Slowly add cocoa. Finally, add icing sugar until the mixture is firm. Put frosting on the cupcakes once they have completely cooled.
Is it wrong that I preferred the boxed cupcakes over the ones I made from scratch? I mean, there was nothing wrong with the from scratch cupcakes, but the boxed ones simply turned out better. Perhaps I’m just a terrible baker and this is Betty Crocker’s way of telling me I suck.
Cromulence: Boxed Cupcakes: 9 Bleeding Gums Murphys out of 10 / From Scratch Cupcakes: 8 Herman’s Military Antiques out of 10
Season One Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe From: Bart the General (The Simpsons Season 1 – Episode 5) and Moaning Lisa (The Simpsons Season 1 – Episode 6)