Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow Literary Cupcake

By , August 22, 2011 12:00 am


Nathan Bransford Cupcake

Number one on my list of best-friends-who-don’t-know-I-exist is former agent turned author Nathan Bransford.  When I discovered Bransford’s blog about a year ago, I learned that I could trust him to knock out all of my newbie aspiring author questions:

How to query? Bam!

Word count? Pow!

Synopsis length? Zap!

Bransford’s blog has been there for me during middle of the night writing freak outs and when I feel the pangs of rejection.  So when he recently posted about the trials of self advertisement, I decided to give back to the man who keeps a light at the end of the writing tunnel.


The Exception to the Rule designed a literary cupcake after Bransford’s debut novel, Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow, a fast paced and ridiculously fun middle grade novel.

Jacob Wonderbar Cupcake Kapow Nathan Bransford

Jacob Wonderbar Cupcake Kapow—Photo by R.T. Jae

“Earth Swirl” Vanilla Marshmallow Cake

Cosmic Frosting with Pop Rock Kapow!

Custom Candy Spaceship


If a cupcake is going to embody the first Jacob Wonderbar novel, it must be kid friendly, tasty, and all fun!  Because the story begins on Earth and then launches into a galaxy of surprises, I modeled the cake after pictures of Earth from space by marbling blue and green tinted batter.  Marshmallows provide extra sweetness and a yummy caramelized taste.


I added some space age fun to the cupcake’s exterior by using silver cupcake liners and purple and black “cosmic” vanilla buttercream.  The Pop Rocks are perfect for adding a touch of kapow! to each bite.  The popping will surprise anyone who isn’t expecting it!


Finally, I garnished the cupcake with a simple candy model of the spaceship that launched Jacob and his friends Sarah and Dexter into space.


If you are looking for a fun book (with excellent vocabulary) to give the child in your life, wrap up a copy of Jacob Wonderbar and bring along a tray of these cupcakes to make up for last year’s fruit cake debacle!


What You’ll Need

For the Cake

  • 24 silver cupcake liners
  • 1 18.25 oz. white cake mix (not one with pudding added)
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups mini marshmallows
  • .25 oz. vials of green and neon green food coloring
  • .25 oz. vial blue food coloring


For the Frosting

  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3+ cups powered sugar (more may be needed for consistency)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of milk (optional)
  • .25 oz. vials black and neon purple food coloring
  • 1 gallon zip sealed bag


For the Garnish

*These are my candy recommendations to recreate 24 spaceships like the one in the above pictures.  If you purchase multicolored candy assortments, I encourage you to experiment with the other flavors to save money, avoid waste, and have fun!



(If working with a child, remember to supervise and help with each step of the baking and decorating process!)

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° or 325° for dark or nonstick pans.
  2. Line two 12 cup cupcake pans with liners.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients for the cake except the marshmallows in a medium bowl.  Beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Scrape the sides of the bowl and finish beating the mix on medium speed for two minutes.  Fold in the mini marshmallows.
  4. Transfer about half of the batter into a medium bowl.
  5. Use blue food coloring to tint one bowl of batter “ocean” blue.  Try about 30 drops of color to get started.
  6. Use the ratio 2:1 drops of neon green:green food coloring in the other bowl of batter.  Play around with the color until you are satisfied.  I preferred keeping the colors bright and neon for maximum contrast.
  7. Fill each cupcake liner a little more than 1/3 full of blue batter.  I used a half scoop from an ice cream scoop like this one to evenly distribute the batter.
  8.  Add a half scoop of green batter on top of the blue.  The cupcake liners should be about 3/4 full when you are finished.
  9. Take a butter knife or spoon and swirl the blue and green batter in each cupcake holder.  Press from the top of the batter down to the wrapper several times to push the green batter down and the blue up.
  10. Bake cupcakes for 13-18 minutes until cake springs to your touch.
  11. When cupcakes are finished baking, let them cool until they are safe to touch, and transfer them to a plate.
  12. While cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting.  Beat the powered sugar, butter, and extract on medium speed for about a minute and then finish on high speed for another minute.  Check the consistency and add more powdered sugar if needed.  You want the frosting to be soft enough to pipe on the cupcakes and firm enough to hold its shape.  A tablespoon of milk will help if the frosting is too stiff.
  13. Separate a third of the frosting and place it in a small bowl.  Tint this frosting by adding one drop of black food coloring and 3+ drops of neon purple.
  14. Tint the remaining 2/3 frosting black.  Begin with 5 drops of color and add more if necessary.
  15. Take the zip sealed bag and spoon the purple frosting into the left side of the bag.  Then transfer the black frosting to the right side of the bag.  Push the air out and seal the bag.
  16. Push the frosting to one bottom corner of the bag.  Cut the corner off the bag, making a dime sized hole.
  17. Starting at the edge of the cupcake and working toward the middle, pipe on the frosting in a circular motion.  Enjoy the purple and black swirl!  Each cupcake will look a little different.
  18. Sprinkle the Pop Rocks on top of the frosting.
  19. Serve immediately after decorating or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.


Creating Candy Spaceships

  1. Begin by shaping a triangle base for the ship.  I took two licorice bears, cut off their faces, arms, and feet with a knife, and sandwiched the sticky, cut sides together.  I then used my hands to press the candy into a triangle.
  2. The dome is the top half of a white spice drop centered on the triangle.  The sticky, cut end of the spice drop will adhere it to the spaceship.
  3. I took a purple spice drop and used kitchen scissors to cut tiny, thin, strips.  Each strip made 3 squares.  I put these purple square windows on both sides of the ship.  The cut sides will make them stick.
  4. 1/4 inch slices of the filled Twizzlers made the engine.  I fit two Twizzler slices side by side.  The filling will allow them to adhere.
  5. One coated sunflower seed will fit into each Twizzler engine to look like flames.
  6. When you are satisfied with your spaceship, place on the left hand side of the cupcake to make it look like it is traveling forward.
  7. Make one ship for each cupcake.



This recipe is inspired by The Cake Mix Doctor.

Check out her book for delicious and simple cake ideas!

The products I suggest are the ones I use in my kitchen.

12 Responses to “Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow Literary Cupcake”

  1. Nancy Kelley says:

    You are entirely too creative. I made the library order this book and have had it languishing on my TBR since it came out, along with everything else not related to my WIP. However, if it inspired a cupcake, I obviously need to just make the time and read it. This week: Editing. Next weekend: Jacob Wonderbar.

    I only hope someone makes a cupcake based on one of my books someday.

    • MMRule says:

      Thanks, Nancy! I bumped Jacob Wonderbar up on my TBR list since I could tell it was perfect for my next cupcake. I had so much fun playing around with the candy that went into making the spaceship.

      It sounds like you need a cupcake of your own! When the time comes, I just may be the baker you need ;-)

      • Nancy Kelley says:

        I read the first five chapters or so back in May, and then was overwhelmed by editing. That’s finally slowing down and I’m looking forward to getting back on the reading wagon.

        Hmmm… what kind of cupcake would one make for Jane Austen themed book?

  2. MFox says:

    I tried these cupcakes, and I have to say they are seriously delicious. The marshmallow adds a perfect sweetness to the cupcakes, and the pop rocks on top really give it something extra. If anyone is on the fence about making these, trust me, just go for it. Its well worth it.

  3. Brian says:

    Anything with a section that reads like a fight scene from the ’60s Batman show is an auto-win for me. However, this post brought a little more “pow” to my life I expected.

    I despise cake. Therefore, cupcakes are far from my favorite thing in the world. I do, however, enjoy seeing the interesting things you can do with them (much moreso than the 52 shows on TV about the subject). This week’s cupcake caught my eye. Of course it’s visually interesting, but the real reason: marshmallow. It’s a weakness.

    With that said, a friend of mine used your recipe. (Hey, my baking prowess extends as far as brownies made from a mix.) I tried one and it was delicious! Getting me to actually enjoy a cupcake is like magic.

    These cupcakes truly are the Exception to the Rule.

    • MMRule says:

      Thanks, Brian, for putting your distaste for cake aside and giving the recipe a try! You were exactly right to say that the beginning of the post is modeled after the old Batman show :) I pictured Nathan Bransford dressed like Batman, punching out the questions with the big “POW!” bubbles appearing. Since your friend tried the recipe and was successful, let us know if there are any modifications that could help the other readers. Thanks again!

  4. Stoich91 says:

    ZOMG these are the BEST. BOOK. RECIPE. EVER.

  5. J.C. Martin says:

    Oh wow, what a fitting and yummy tribute to Nathan and Jacob Wonderbar! It sounds fun and absolutely scrumptious!

  6. MMRule says:

    Glad to hear that you got a copy of the book! I keep popping by Borders to see if there is anything good. The other day the store was full of baby blankets, so I haven’t spent that much recently. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts about Jacob Wonderbar!

Leave a Reply

Panorama Theme by Themocracy