Dracula | Raspberry Vampire Bite Cupcakes
"Denn die Todten reiten Schnell."
("For the dead travel fast.")
A young lawyer, Jonathan Harker, is on his way to "Castle Dracula" in Transylvania to do some business with a man named Count Dracula. On his way, a bunch of peasants warn him and give him crucifixes, but because scary stories don't exist without one stupid person, he ignores them. He also almost gets attacked by wolves on the way there. Foreshadowing is a thing, guys.
When he first arrivals at the castle, Harker considers The Count to be a well educated and hospitable gentleman--until he realized he can't leave the castle. He starts to learn some things about The Count, about his supernatural powers and diabolical plans. One night three slutty female vampires attack Harker, but Dracula runs them off, saying Harker is his. Terrified, Harker escapes by climbing down a wall.
It sounds like that should be the end of the story, but it's not. Harker's fiance is visiting her friend Lucy when a ship crashes and the only thing they can find is a dog (who immediately runs into the woods and is lost forever) and a bunch of dirt, shipped by Count Dracula. It's no surprise when Lucy falls ill, starts sleep walking and has tiny curious bites on her neck. When Van Heisling comes to town, he orders them to place garlic on Lucy's door. It does help, but in the end it doesn't save her either. Finally the men decide to team up and attempt to take down Dracula once and for all in a dramatic race through land and sea.
While I'll admit this book has it's dry spells--like most classics, travel, settings, character, letters, etc. are described with very high attention to detail--it really is a good read. Reading it alone in your house at night will spook the bejesus out of you. It's a great example of how suspenseful a book can be. If you can make it past how SLOW this novel is, you'll really enjoy how the tone, pacing, and storytelling are all tailored solely to scare you.
Because we're baking for Dracula, I knew I needed a bright red ingredient in these cupcakes. Usually, strawberries would be my go-to, but I decided to try something a little different this time: raspberries!
These cupcakes have lots of fresh raspberries, baked right in with the batter. The lemon zest is important to balance out how naturally fruit these berries are. You can decorate with the raspberry dessert sauce how ever you like. I used a squeeze bottle to create these vampire bites!
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
16 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp lemon zest
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup of roughly chopped raspberries
Raspberry Dessert Sauce
1 cup fresh raspberries, roughly chopped
1 1/2 pounds fresh raspberries
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon water, or as needed (optional)
2 teaspoons lemon juice, or more to taste
1. Heat oven to 350.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Cream together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, and the vanilla, and mix until incorporated.
5. Combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup.
6. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
7. Gently fold the chopped berries into the batter.
8. Fill up your liners and bake about 18 minutes. Let cool in pan about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
9. Combine raspberries, sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat for 3-7 minutes.
10. Remove from heat and press through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds.
11. Cool to room temperature, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 45 minutes.
"Once again...welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring."
"Oh, the terrible struggle that I have had against sleep so often of late; the pain of the sleeplessness, or the pain of the fear of sleep, and with such unknown horror as it has for me! How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams."
“Our toil must be in silence, and our efforts all in secret; for this enlightened age, when men believe not even what they see, the doubting of wise men would be his greatest strength.”
“Souls and memories can do strange things during trance.”
“The girl went on her knees, and bent over me, simply gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth. Lower and lower went her head as the lips went below the range of my mouth and chin and seemed to fasten on my throat. Then she paused, and I could hear the churning sound of her tongue as it licked her teeth and lips, and I could feel the hot breath on my neck. Then the skin of my throat began to tingle as one's flesh does when the hand that is to tickle it approaches nearer, nearer. I could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the super sensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there. I closed my eyes in languorous ecstasy and waited, waited with beating heart.”