April 22, 2012

Vanilla "Companion Cube" Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

I don't usually like video games.  In fact, the only games I've played for longer than an hour are Minesweeper, The Sims, and Portal.  In Portal, you must solve puzzles using your "handheld portal device", which you really need to see to understand.  Throughout, you are prodded onward by an increasingly malicious AI named GLaDOS.  Your only friend (for a brief time) is the Weighted Companion Cube, which is, as the name implies, an inanimate cube.

The Weighted Companion Cube (photo from ardyn)

The Companion Cube was a very popular and beloved character to Portal fans.  I decided to make cupcakes in its (his? her?) honor.

The Weighted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you and, in fact, cannot speak. -GLaDOS

I decided to make vanilla cupcakes with raspberry buttercream, and cover with rolled fondant to get the decorative top.  I'd never covered a cupcake with fondant before, and I thought it was quite tricky!  I think the hardest part was getting the circle for the first layer the right size.  If it's too small, you have frosting or cupcake peaking through.  If it's too big, the wrapper gets covered as well, making it difficult to unwrap.

I decided to add a surprise heart-shape inside the cupcake.  I followed this tutorial from a blog called "Bake It in a Cake" (which I definitely need to read more of).  After baking and cutting some pink hearts for the middle, I debated whether or not to dye the rest of the cupcake grey like the Companion Cube.  One the one hand, grey food is a bit gross.  On the other hand...Companion Cube.  I eventually dyed the batter a light grey, which mostly got lost during baking, and really just resulted in a dirty-looking cupcake.  Sigh...oh well.


Vanilla Heart Cupcakes
I followed the recipe and tutorial from Bake It in a Cake exactly.

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
raspberry jam, to taste (I used about 3 tbsp)

  1. Cube the butter and leave out at room temperature (make sure you don't leave it over the dishwasher or oven or it will get too warm).
  2. Whisk the eggs whites and sugar together in the top part of a double broiler.  Make sure that the water in the bottom part is simmering, not boiling.  Keep whisking until a candy thermometer reads 160 degrees (Fahrenheit).  
  3. Transfer to a stand mixer with the whisk attachment installed.  Whip at a medium speed until the mixture is at room temperature (the bowl feels neutral when you touch it).
  4. Lower the mixing speed and add the butter, one cube at a time.  Keep mixing until there is an obvious change in the consistency of the buttercream - from soupy to much more solid (you can usually hear the mixer start making different noises).  If it stays soupy for a very long time, throw the bowl in the refrigerator for ten minutes or so and retry.
  5. Add your vanilla and salt and keep mixing until they are incorporated.  Add the raspberry jam until you have the flavor you want.
  1. Using a knife, spread the buttercream on your cooled cupcakes.  Try to get a smooth dome of frosting.
  2.  Mix a portion of dark grey fondant.  Use black gel paste food coloring to achieve this.  I use Ateco's 12 color kit.  Roll the dark grey fondant out and cut using a circular cutter that's a little larger than your cupcakes.  The biggest cutter in Ateco's 6-piece set worked pretty well for me.
  3. Place the dark grey circle on top of your cupcake (try to get it in the center!) and smooth the edges down.  Repeat for the rest of your cupcakes.
  4. Mix a portion of lighter grey fondant.  Roll out and cut using a smaller circular cutter (but not too small - make sure your heart will fit inside).
  5. Paint a small amount of water in the middle of the dark grey fondant.  Place the lighter grey circle on top.  Repeat for the rest of your cupcakes.
  6. Mix a portion of pink fondant.  Roll out and cut using a small heart cutter.
  7. Paint a small amount of water in the middle of the light grey fondant.  Place the heart on top.  Repeat for the rest of your cupcakes.
  8. Remember your loyal companion as you eat your cupcakes.

Area and state regulations do not allow the Companion Cube to remain here, alone and companionless.  -GLaDOS


  1. My unfolding amazement when I saw these:
    "Oh yeah, that's cute, little heart on top...oh wow there's a layer of icing under theOHMYGODTHEREISAHEARTINSIDE!!!"

    I love these. I am definitely going to bake them this weekend.

    1. Awesome! Let me know how it goes!

  2. The cupcake is a lie!!

    Love the PS2 controller in the background - nice touch :) I'm sure these companion cupcakes were loved and cherised before being sacrificed for the greater good.

    1. Thanks! They were loved and cherished...and eaten. At least they weren't thrown in a fire.


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