The Cost of Baking Magicians-Themed Cupcakes for the Syfy Secret Premiere

I am such a huge fan of Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy. In fact, two of my earliest Medium pieces were Magicians-themed: Returning to Brakebills for the Fifth-Year Anniversary and The Magician’s Land: Why Lev Grossman’s Trilogy is My Fillory.

So when this dropped:

… my friends and I decided to arrange a viewing, and I decided to bake a themed dessert.

I thought at first that I would do something bee-and-key themed to match Brakebills’ logo, but most of the bee-related desserts I found online included fondant, and I am not quite skilled enough to manipulate fondant into a tolerable bee shape.

Instead, I decided to stick with what I know works: stacking candy on top of baked goods. (See my previous “cost of baking” adventures: s’mores brownies and candy bar pie.)

I bought two packages of chocolate coins—Magicians fans know why—along with a box of red velvet cake mix and cream cheese frosting. The Magicians is both international and multiversal but it is, at its core, a story about Americans, and I wanted my dessert to be equally American at its center. In addition to being an American invention, traditional red velvet cake is also one mismeasured ingredient away from an explosion. Just like magic.

Since balancing coins on cupcakes proved too tricky for transit, I made the rest of the cupcakes with flat coin tops.

Of course, I neither have the time nor the talent to do red velvet from scratch, so I tag-teamed with Betty Crocker to get the job done. Here’s how much it cost me:

1 box Betty Crocker red velvet cake mix: $1.25

1 can Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting: $1.50

1/2 cup olive oil: $0.50

3 eggs: $0.62

One dozen milk chocolate coins: $2.00

Total cost of Magicians-themed cupcakes: $5.87

The cupcakes were a huge hit, and I was secretly delighted every time Syfy showed Quentin fidget with his coins, because I was all aww yeah, guess who picked the best themed dessert!

If I had to do it over again I would have put the coins on the cakes at the very last second, so I could balance them the way I did for the picture.

But hey—The Magicians is having its non-secret premiere on January 25, so I’ll get another chance.

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