Brain Slug Cupcakes from Futurama
Hermes: Today’s mission is for all of you to go to the Brain Slug planet.
Zoidberg: What do we do there?
Hermes: Just walk around not wearing a helmet.
– Raging Bender
Futurama | Season 2 - Episode 08
Futurama Fact: Despite being a popular Futurama alien species, the Brain Slugs have only appeared in two episodes in the series, and both is the second season (A Head in the Polls, episode 3, and Raging Bender, episode 8). That’s not going to stop me from making and enjoying Brain Slug Cupcakes!
Futurama isn’t a Simpsons spin-off in the purest sense, but the two programs are obviously related both in the real world (as creations of Matt Groening) as well as in the fictional universes the two programs occupy. The “Simpsorama” episode inexorably linked these cartoons in a way that was reminiscent of the season six episode “A Star is Burns”, which entrenched The Critic firmly into Simpsons canon.
Though Futurama hasn’t enjoyed the longevity of The Simpsons, it still has a passionate fan base and a deep, complex history. It also has a good number of references to food, though many of them are presented as futuristic oddities that probably don’t translate into the real world very well. It would be difficult, for example, to create a recipe for Bachelor Chow, no matter how many Spice Weasels one had at one’s disposal.
- 1 2/3 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Some imagination
The cupcake base is a standard vanilla cupcake recipe. It can easily be substituted with a different vanilla cake recipe or even, dare I say, chocolate. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients slowly until batter is smooth. This recipe will make approximately 12 cupcakes. Cook at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool before applying icing.
The brains and the slugs are, of course, what makes the Brain Slug Cupcakes unique, and here’s where some skill comes into play. Still, the brains aren’t that difficult to make if you’ve got an icing piping bag handy. I used a buttercream icing because…that’s the kind of icing I like (and I had a recipe handy). Most icings are just as manageable if you have a piping bag and shape the brains in swirls. With an electric mixer, beat softened butter until smooth. Turn off mixer and add powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract. Mix on low for one minute, then switch mixer to high speed and mix for three additional minutes, until the mixture is creamy.
I used a few drops of red food coloring, mixing it (with a spoon) with the naturally yellow icing to make a pale, almost fleshy brain color. Real brains are grey, of course, but that doesn’t make for an appetizing cupcake, I think. The number of food coloring drops depends on the amount of icing you make. Start with three drops, mix it all up, and give it the eye test from there. Spoon the icing into a piping bag and squeeze onto the cooled cupcakes into swirls. It’s best to work on one half / hemisphere at a time.
I used marzipan and some green food coloring to create the tiny, individual brain slugs. You are of course welcome to try and make your own marzipan if the mood strikes. I bought mine packaged at the grocery store and take no shame in this. Making the brain slugs took the longest amount of time, and I’m honestly not the biggest fan of marzipan, which is more of an edible decoration than it is a food, but what’s a brain slug cupcake without the brain slug? The most challenging part was the antennae, which had to be meticulously rolled between two fingers. The pupil is just a drop of black gel icing.
Once the Brain Slug Cupcakes were fully constructed, I put them in the refrigerator to help them solidify a bit. Both the icing and the marzipan are a big heat sensitive, so it’s best to keep these cool if you want them to retain their shape.
Morbo Give It: 8/10 Delivery Boys. The only downfall is that marzipan isn’t the tastiest treat. Otherwise I’m quite the fan.
Tale. Of. Interest!
I might as well share some other Simpsons and Futurama related pictures I have. Last July I attended Comic-Con in San Diego, where there was a significant Simpsons presence, mostly due to FXX’s then-upcoming “Every Simpsons Ever” event. There was a giant, building-sized banner draped over one of the adjacent hotels, and an outside event brought long lines for the duration of the show. Chief among these was the Homer Dome, which played every Simpsons episode simultaneously in five short minutes.
There were also giveaways of Simpsons-labeled bottles of water and Marge Simpson blue cotton candy, which is, I guess, technically edible. I spent some of the show with a crocheted Brain Slug on my head…
…but a real highlight of the show was getting to meet The Simpsons/Futurama creator Matt Groening! I found him on the show floor and he was gracious enough to take a picture with me, at which time I remarked, “Futurama’s not dead.” He replied, “No, it’s not.” So keep the faith, fellow Planet Express fans. The humans shall not defeat us!