The Song of Fire and Ice…and Cupcakes

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

-Back Cover

Hello out there! I am, in fact, alive. You may wonder what I have been doing for the past 4 months. Here is a sampling: full time job, night classes, cooking, cleaning, mourning the loss of Milly (my pet fish), spending time with family, friends, frantically shopping when I woke up and realized that Christmas was only two weeks away, playing in the pitiful amount of snow that we have accumulated, playing with my Christmas toys that Santa brought me, etc.

Oh, and A Song of Fire and Ice Series.  That.  After some calculating (which was difficult because I don’t always work with numbers this big), I have concluded that that monstrosity of a series is a full 4,864 pgs.  Compared to Harry Potter, that may not be so bad, but this series is no Harry Potter.  This series is dense with detail and imaginative ideas that make you stop and think.  I read sloooooowly.  I have been working on this series since Thanksgiving and just finished yesterday.  For me, that is an epic amount of time to spend on one story.

The patience that it required for me to work through this masterpiece is evidence enough to show you that it was fantastic.  If it were a food, it would be my request for my last supper.  If it were a person, we would be best friends.

Because I could not handle having this level of emotional connection with a book, I began to associate the book with George R.R. Martin instead.  Of course, by now, I am familiar enough with him that we are on a first name basis.  As I worked my way through his story, I routinely talked to George, asking him why he had the characters do certain things or when I would get to see another character again.  Now that I have not touched the series for a full day, I am starting to miss George and our (albeit incredibly one-sided) conversations.

I could ramble for hours about this series, but I am going to leave you with this instead.

What I Liked:

  • Incredibly detailed
  • George isn’t afraid to kill a main character who you love (or hate)
  • The chapters are told from a variety of perspectives

What Drove Me Crazy

  • Incredibly detailed
  • George isn’t afraid to kill a main character who you love (or hate)
  • The chapters are told from a variety of perspectives

Conflicted much?  Yes.  Read this series.  Now.  Go use those gift cards you got over the holidays. Let me know your burning questions and thoughts in the comments.  Oh, and make these cupcakes too.

Read on for the recipe…

Blood Orange-Poppyseed Cupcakes

I chose to make these in honor of the series for a variety of reasons.

  1. This series is not for the faint of heart. It has a LOT of blood all over the place.  Blood oranges just seemed to fit in beautifully.

2.            Several of the main characters think longingly of the small lemon cakes that they used to have when times were better and they were home.  I assumed that they were cupcakes, and I just swapped out lemon for blood orange.  We still have the citrus theme.

3.        Poppy plays a large role in these books, largely through milk of the poppy, which is used as a pain reliever.  I wasn’t about to put that in the cupcakes, but poppy seeds are just so delicious that they make a perfect accent to the cupcake.

4.         This was totally unintended, but wouldn’t they be perfect for Valentines’ Day?  They are completely natural, heart-friendly (with the yogurt), and have a fruity pink glaze.

  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1/3 cup juice of the blood orange plus 2 teaspoons grated zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, 1/3 cup orange juice and zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Fold the poppy seeds into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining orange juice with the confectioner’s sugar until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cupcakes are done, allow them to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the orange-sugar mixture over the cake and allow allow the glaze to harden. Cool.

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14 thoughts on “The Song of Fire and Ice…and Cupcakes

  1. Welcome back, glad to see you enjoyed the books. 4864 pages, do you have hardcover versions or paperback (paperback tend to have more pages than hardcover).

    I don’t think I ever thought I was talking to Martin on a first name basis as I read these books, but they are very good. I liked the fact that the books were told from a variety of viewpoints, I think it makes it easier to get interested in a book because it’s more likely that you have a character you enjoy. Personally I think the best character in the series is Tyrion, he was fascinating to read about (and then he disappears for all of book 4).

    After these you need to go read The Wheel of Time, but don’t disappear for another 2 or 3 months before posting about the books.

    1. I read the first four in paperback so perhaps my number is slightly inflated! I have to agree with you. Tyrion is fantastic and I missed him so much in Book 4. My other favorite is Arya. She always surprises me and I love her for that.

      I really do need to get working on The Wheel of Time. I saw it at my library last week and thought of your recommendation. Don’t worry. I don’t plan on disappearing again, even if I am working on the series 🙂

      1. I agree, Arya was also a great character, and I loved her parts in the last two books when she joins the one group (who’s name I can’t remember offhand).

  2. BTW there is a new book out called My Last Supper I may purchase it my self. Written by chefs describing and providing the recipe or meal they would have if it was the last meal.

  3. I’ve heard about Game of Thrones in several different places. Your review makes me want to read it (the last supper and BFF part, in particular! Well said!), or at least investigate it further. BLARG! More books in the TBR pile!

    Book bloggers and their awesome reviews will be the death of me!

  4. It’s good to see you back on the blogosphere! This series has been on my radar for a long time but I have yet to start it. Since you liked it so much I am equal parts intrigued and slightly intimidated by the 4,000+ page investment in the Thrones universe. It sounds like a great challenge though. 🙂

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