“You’ve done nothing but study swordplay?” “More pursue than study lately.”

Caveat: I’m not a professional baker. I started baking in my early twenties, in order to solve a problem I had. You see, I was vegan, and all the baked goodies in the grocery store contained animal-derived ingredients. I would spend what seemed like hours in the bakery aisle reading labels, getting excited because I was almost at the bottom of the ingredients list of the pastry I had selected and there was nothing objectionable until…wouldn’t you know it? Whey. Egg whites. Ugh. I decided this futile list-reading was too much of a hassle, and darn it, I could probably do a better job anyway. So I bought some vegan cookbooks and got out the measuring cups and mixing bowls that someone had gotten me for a graduation present.

I realized that I loved baking. And my stuff was better than the pastries at the store. Soon I could “veganize” old family recipes and recipes on non-vegan websites.

I’m no longer vegan (though I am still vegetarian) but I still love baking. I love decorating what I bake.

I also love my husband, which is why I decided to get involved with Movember- to advocate for men’s health.

I apologize for the somewhat awkward segue, but I needed to talk about Movember eventually…

I wrote a post about why Movember is important. I mentioned how it was impossible for me to actually participate in Movember, due to my being a chick and all. So, I celebrated Movember in the best way I know how: baking cupcakes. I found out about a Movember cupcake contest with the theme “Mos in the Movies” and it was off to the kitchen for me!

Thanks to C&C Cakery of Vancouver for this incredible idea and opportunity.

Their Movember team page is here.

As soon as I read it was a movies theme, I immediately thought of my favorite movie: The Princess Bride. In my opinion, the most memorable- and glorious- mustache in the movie graces the lip of Inigo Montoya, although Westley (a.k.a. Dread Pirate Roberts, a.k.a. The Man in Black) sports a sharp little blonde ‘stache as well. I love the swordfight scene between the two of them, especially the fantastic back-and-forth of the dialogue. I wanted to evoke that scene in my endeavors, so I made a cupcake that represents them both.

Naturally, a swordfight brings to mind pirates (although, technically, only Westley was a pirate at that point) and what could say “pirate” better than rum? So I started with a rum cake with rum glaze, filled it with cinnamon-vanilla pudding, and topped it with apple cream cheese frosting. All recipes I used will be found after the pictures. All recipes are for 12 cupcakes. The following recipes unfortunately aren’t vegan, but to any vegan bakers out there, you have my blessing to veganize it to your heart’s content. And if you do, please let me know so I can try it!

Fresh from the oven:

Well hello there!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tbsp. rum (I used white rum)

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients from flour to nutmeg. Set aside.

3. Cream the butter and sugars in a mixer on medium-high for five minutes.

4. Add the egg, mix well. Add yolk and mix well. Add vanilla and mix well.

5. Mix milk and rum in a small bowl.

6. Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture a little at a time, alternating with the milk/rum mixture. Mix by hand or with the mixer on low speed until just combined.

7. Pour into cupcake liners and bake 18-20 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the rum glaze.
3 tbsp. whole milk
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. rum

How to make the rum glaze:
1. Combine the milk and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat on low, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves, about a minute or so. Remove from heat and stir in the rum.

2. Drizzle on warm-but-not-hot cupcakes. Most of it will melt and soak in.

I filled the cupcakes with a cinnamon-vanilla pudding, which is reminiscent of natillas, a Spanish dessert that Inigo Montoya might enjoy.

Don’t worry, that’s not lightning quicksand.

Box of instant vanilla pudding
1 3/4 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Combine all ingredients with a whisk. I normally don’t like using instant pudding, but the texture and flavor are perfect for this. Wait for it to set.

2. When cupcakes are completely cool, poke a hole in the middle of each cupcake with your (clean, hopefully!) finger and with a pastry bag, squeeze as much pudding into each cupcake as possible.

I topped these with a simple cream cheese frosting with a twist: chopped apple topping mixed into the frosting! For some reason, apples imply “wholesome farm boy” to me and Westley is still a farm boy at heart.

Topped with sand-colored sugar because the swordfight took place on sandy, rocky terrain. And Done!

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup apple ice cream topping (chopped into small pieces, if the apples are in slices)

1. Mix cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until combined and creamy.

2. Add vanilla and mix.

3. Add sugar gradually. Beat until creamy.

4. Fold in the apples.

5. Slather generously on cupcakes. I usually end up with a little extra, but I never complain about extra frosting.

The cupcake toppers are all edible (except for the toothpicks, of course!) and hand painted on wax paper. Inigo’s hair and ‘stache is made of chocolate. His hand is butterscotch.

Wesley’s mask and glove are chocolate, his nose is butterscotch, and his mustache is a mixture of the two to get the color right.

Add some pretzel rods for swords (because it seems to make sense that moustachioed cupcakes would swordfight with pretzel rods) and it’s time to duel!

These cupcakes are smiling, because they know something you don’t: neither is left-handed.

My MO-tivation: Last year, my mother’s annual mammogram revealed a small mass in her breast. Thankfully, it was benign and her doctor removed it safely. But if the unthinkable had happened, if it had been cancer, the benefit of early detection might have saved her life. Thanks to awareness campaigns, my mom knew the importance of mammograms.

My goal with my involvement in Movember is to raise awareness of men’s cancers so that men know what to look for and what screenings to get, and to do it without fear or embarrassment. So that they too can receive the same benefit of early detection that is so important to the treatment of cancer.

Please support Movember or your favorite charity and help save lives.

P. S. Huge thanks to Shakena, for letting me use her real Jamaican rum (the same that is used in her family’s rum cake recipe). Also, thanks to my wonderful husband Josh for supporting me and cleaning up after my mess. Thanks to Louise, Ada, Rosalyn, and Sabrina for thinking this baking thing was a cool idea. And thanks to my sister-in-law Catie for telling me about her co-workers’ Movember team and providing a link for me to join it. And thanks again to C&C Cakery for organizing the contest. I had a ton of fun baking and decorating these.

Last but not least, huge thanks to the contest’s prize sponsors: