Baked: Frida Kahlo Cupcakes

Frida Kahlo cupcakes

I had the chance to participate in the Greenwood Artwalk thanks to my favorite non-profit, 826 Seattle. Their artwalk installation was based on what MD called Edible Artistic Telephone.

Her explanation:

“Students were given pieces of original artwork (mostly classic pieces) and asked to write stories based on those. Then, the student’s stories were given to local artists to create their own interpretation of the writing. Then those original pieces were given to more students to create more stories. Then those stories were given to more artists to create more original pieces of artwork. See? Artistic telephone!”

People made food for the installation based on the original pieces of art, which 826 assigned to us. I was given Frida Kahlo’s painting, ‘The Two Fridas,’ a painful, straightforward homage to the Self and heartbreak, and one of the Kahlo-iest of the Kahlos. Great! I thought. Nothing says yum like surgical pincers and bleeding out in a wedding dress.

A Tale of Two Fridas

Based on the number of people who inquired about whether my creation would include eyebrows or mustaches, it seems like follicle-based desserts are the next big trend.

You can see this batter from outer space.

I tend to go overboard when it comes to baking. First, I make a reasonable grocery list of items I’ll need to purchase. Second, I go to three-to-five stores in roughly two-to-four neighborhoods, spending a distressing amount of money on baking soda I already have and decorative sprinkles I don’t really need.

Pretty sure decorative sprinkles are the Prozac of the baking world. Sometimes I abuse them and take too many.

Fairy cakes are made from actual fairies (and Liberace).

From the painting, I decided to focus on the background — stormy sky, agitated clouds — and Frida’s two exposed hearts, one broken and one whole. My other idea was to focus on the textures in the painting — lace, metal, fluffy clouds, hair, photo, wood — but figured I would need classes at L’Academie de Cuisine for advanced pastry techniques to execute it. In the kitchen, my motto is keep it simple. My other motto is order out.

I found a vintage piece of lace at the last minute in our linen closet, which was a visual stroke of luck, plus the Esq found ropey Red Vines that worked as excellent veins to connect the two hearts. Though now when I eat a Red Vine, I feel kind of like a cannibal.

I used my favorite go-to fairy cake recipe c/o Nigella Lawson, and a lemon buttercream frosting in a nod to the evolving embrace that Frida gave to bitterness all her life. Also, there were lemons in the fridge.

Frida’s broken heart

I had so much fun participating in this! I’m glad I was able to fulfill my dream of re-creating a classic piece of art filled with epic unibrows and bad weather through the sacred art of baking. And swearing. Lots and lots of swearing. I blame it on what felt like hours waiting for the frosting to turn a murderous red and a sad rainbow of gray.

Frida’s whole heart

Thanks to 826 Seattle for setting this up! You can follow them on Twitter and Facebook or visit their website for ongoing awesomeness.

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