Monday, November 19, 2012

TOTORO Cupcakes! // Snickerdoodle recipe

As you may or may not know, I love to bake. Mostly cookies, but these cupcakes were the bombdiggity so I had to share! I've debated whether or not adding a food component to this blog and decided what the heck, it's bound to happen sooner or later.

For my Asian art history class, we had a project in which we had to pick something artistic and Japanese and do a presentation on it. I chose to do the film My Neighbor Totoro, focusing on O Totoro because he's just so loveable (and my professor's favorite *brownie points*). Since he is the inspiration for many culinary artists, I baked cupcakes to go along with my slide show. The presentation went great!


  • 1 box of vanilla cake, and all it requires
  • cinnamon ~ approx. 1tbsp
  • nutmeg ~ approx 1 tsp
  • cloves and/or allspice ~ approx 1 tsp
  • optional: pumpkin or apple pie spice
  • 1 tsp of almond extract
  • for frosting: cream cheese, butter, confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract 
  • chocolate frosting ~ approx 2 tbsp
  • plastic baggies
  • food coloring


Follow the directions on the box for the cake. Add the almond extract and the seasonings while mixing to taste. I understand that snickerdoodle is a fancy way to say with cinnamon, but that's boring by itself! So i always accompany cinnamon with nutmeg and cloves (allspice if I don't have cloves). Cloves really brings the taste of fall. To be honest I'm not entirely sure just how much of each spice I put in, but the ratio is about right (3 parts cinnamon, 1 part each of every other spice) I tasted the batter (alot) as I went along. The almond extract is a great undertone to round out these flavors *yum.*

I used this recipe from for the cream cheese frosting. It's super great as is but a bit too tangy for this cupcake, so I added an extra half cup of the confectioner's sugar. I also halved this recipe which was just enough for 20 cupcakes/1 box of cake.

  1. Assuming you mixed the frosting in a bowl, put half of the frosting in a baggie and set it aside.
  2. For the frosting left in the bowl, add one drop of red, blue, and yellow each to achieve the grey depicted (i wish I made it darker, so maybe two drops each next time)
  3. place that batch in a baggie. Get the chocolate frosting in a baggie too.
  4. In the white and grey baggie, snip a larger corner to squeeze out of. For the chocolate baggie, snip a tiny corner (for the detail :3)
  5. Start with the bellies. You want a semicircle that goes a little more than half way up the cupcake.
  6. fill the rest of the space with grey.
  7. Add the whites of the eyes!
  8. with chocolate, add nose, pupils, whiskers, and the iconic arrows on the belly that make it Totoro.
  9. ENJOY!

This was a super fun cupcake to make (and eat). If you don't want to go with Totoro for the cupcakes, I'd suggest the cream cheese frosting with a simple chocolate design like a swirl; the bit of chocolate with all the other flavors was perfect! I was glad I got to experience and research a bit of the magic that is Totoro :) I'll be sure to watch some more Miyazaki films over winter break!


  1. Omg those are super cute!! And they sound absolutely delicious.

    Confession: I've never seen My Neighbor Totoro. I know, that makes me a terrible Miyazaki/Ghibli fan... Some day I will and I'm sure I will love the crap out of it!

    You know what? No! I'm adding it to my netflix dvd queue right now and moving it up to the top. Next dvd, baby! I'm watching it!

  2. They are too cute! I love that movie.


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