The Bells of Dr. Pepper

The baking bug fell upon me, as it is wont to do when I have much that I should be doing but also have a severe deficit of productivity. And lack of wherewithal. And stuff.

I toyed again with macarons making, as I do when the temperature and the humidity both hover in the 90s. I relish a challenge. But once I dried out the almond flour, the whole monumental macaron making process smacked of effort. Too much.

So I needed something simple. Well, simple-ish. And with little clean-up.

A woman at school always makes a superb Southern specialty: Coca-cola cake. It’s chocolate-y and Coca-cola-y and, best of all, alliterative. I couldn’t live up to her recipe, so I decided to tweak that ol’ recipe in a few ways.

First, let’s make it more Texan. Dr. Pepper instead of Coke. Yeah. (If you don’t know why Dr. Pepper is more Texan than Coke (which is Georgian!), go here.)

Then, a DP flavored buttercream icing instead of a cocoa glaze. Oh, yeah.

So. For the cupcakes, I found a Coke cake recipe online that consisted of ingredients already living in my cupboard and into which I substituted in that Whataburger staple, Dr. Pepper. (In case I haven’t made it clear, this was one lazy Sunday. Like a four-hour-nap, stay-in-pajamas-all-day lazy Sunday. Going to the store was not an option.)

The cakes came together wonderfully. Fluffy and chocolaty and a hint of Dr. Pepper.

ignore the splatters, please...

ignore the splatters, please…

The rest of the Dr. Pepper went in a pan where it bubbled away until it was a thickish syrup.

This was about a cup of Dr. Pepper...whatever was leftover from the recipe went into the pan.

This was about a cup of Dr. Pepper…whatever was leftover from the recipe went into the pan.

For the frosting, I found a Coke frosting recipe on the iCoke mobile website (I KNOW!), and subbed in that Dr. Pepper syrup and a bit of vanilla extract.

I even broke out my frosting tips to decorate these babies and experimented to make it look “frothy” like a bubbly head on an ice-cold DP.

Three frosting style examples...

Frosting style examples…

I gotta say, together, it’s a lot (A LOT) of sweet and a bit of cocoa. Sort of a Dr. Pepper float sort of thing. The recipe needs some tweaking for it to really ring that elusive flavor bell, but for a first shot, it’s pretty good.

Sincerely,

Bonnycate

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Old-schoolin’ it

Remember when you were in Brownies (or Cub Scouts…I’ll be non-exclusionary) and you got to make a pinhole camera and it was the coolest, most awesome thing in the world? Especially when you put that piece of photographic paper in the back and took it down to the local Woolworth’s to get it developed?

Yeah. That was super awesome.

Our digital photography classes did something of the sort. We made a camera obscura. Turned an empty classroom into a freaking pinhole camera. Fer totes. Check it out:

The setup: black plastic sheeting over all windows, sealed with black duct tape. A hole cut into the plastic on the outside window.

The setup: black plastic sheeting over all windows, sealed with black duct tape. A hole cut into the plastic on the outside window.

The result: an (upside-down) picture of green tree and blue sky. On the wall. Amazing!

The result: an (upside-down) picture of green tree and blue sky. On the wall. Amazing!

The camera obscura experiment got me all excited and I made a giant pinhole camera that allows you to take pictures of the back wall with a digital camera. A digital pinhole camera. Ever so cool.

After these smashing successes, we made some pinhole cameras from shoeboxes and when we finished, they asked me, “Now what?” I had nothing to say because now, photographic paper isn’t easy pickins.  I was stumped. Speechless. Which they no doubt enjoyed immensely because, well, I do lean towards chattiness.

What’s the point of a pinhole camera without a photo? I was bummed. No giddiness of accomplishment accompanied this project. I so wanted my kiddos to have that cool eureka moment that I had 157 years ago in Brownies. Even my goofy digital pinhole project was better than this. Plus, it was cool and shiny silver.

So we hit the internet to view our options and found this incredible tutorial:

Luckily, I like fire. So yeah, I had matchboxes. All I had to buy was the black electrical tape. And follow his lead.

And I now have this:

Isn't it cool?

Isn’t it cool?

And I’m off to take some pics with it. Fingers crossed. Wish me luck.

Sincerely,

Bonnycate