Baking spree: Iraq-themed cupcakes

Prior to finding this heart-breaking piece in the New York Times Style section, I had a flash of brilliance back in D.C. concerning my future career plans.

“When I’m done with this whole ‘traveling and living in third-world countries’ thing, I should totally open a trendy cupcake shop in the city!”

And every new bakery needs a good gimmick to grab people’s attention, right? (Especially since the U.S. will likely be clogged with cupcakeries by that point) This is where the genius comes in…

Cupcakes that are colored like the Iraqi flag!!!

Get it? My work life pretty solidly revolves around Iraq, so why shouldn’t it also influence my baking a bit? And plus, what a great way to say thanks to those insurgents, with all their celebratory Christmas VBIEDs, right? (Bah humbag to that, by the way!)

A cupcake T-wall, perhaps?

It opens up a whole new world of internationally-themed cupcakes…(as long as the countries have horizontal stripes, or even better, a solid color.) These could be great for all of you out there already planning your “U.S. withdrawal from Iraq” (in 2011!), or maybe you just want to celebrate that the Iraqi parliament finally got it together to pass an election law?

Construction of such worldly cupcakes are theoretically simple, but execution takes a bit of finesse that I have not yet mastered. Mix up your favorite red velvet, chocolate, and white cake recipes.

Have some green food coloring on hand. With a light hand, pipe some chocolate batter to cover the bottom of the cupcake well (or cupcake liner, if that’s what you’re using). Cupcake molds made of some sort of hard substance work great for this, because you can tap the air bubbles out. Doesn’t work so well with silicon molds.

Next, put a layer of vanilla batter on top. Now, pour a drop of green food coloring on a toothpick and write “Allahu akbar” in the white batter. Remember! Stay authentic and write in Kufic script!


Oh gosh, you know I’m kidding, right? Just swirl it around a bit, but try to stay in the white layer.

And top it off with some red velvet batter.

Simple, right? If you’re patient and have a steady hand, the possibilities are (almost) endless. Though, when I made mine, it was getting late and the prospect of delicately swirling green food coloring around 48 cupcakes seemed less and less worth losing sleep over…

The next day, I made an appearance at the office, cupcakes in hand. Coworkers were tickled, as far as I could tell. I even stumbled into the kitchen later that day while the new CEO was examining one. I bet he was totally impressed with my ingenuity!

…or maybe he was happy to put me right back on a plane back to Iraq. The cupcake craze hasn’t quite hit Baghdad yet…but I’m sure it will soon!

Need some inspiration for various cupcake batters? Check out Joy the Baker’s red velvet, Annie’s Eats’ “Twilight” white, and Playing House’s chocolate recipes.