Show-stopping sweets

Feb. 25, 2011, 8:30 a.m. | By Allison Daitch, Anya Gosine | 13 years, 4 months ago

Award-worthy treats inspired by the best

Oscar Night is a big night, and while the stars glam it up on the Red Carpet, one of the best ways to enjoy the show from your living room is by throwing a Academy Award viewing party with your friends. For a top-notch Oscars party, the key is to serve foods are related to the award-hopeful films themselves. Plus, it's helpful to have something nearby to nervously chow down on before each award winner is announced.

That's why our resident food and film SCOnnoisseurs Allison and Anya are here to bring you sensational ideas for baked goods inspired by this year's Oscar nominations for Best Picture. Regardless of who gets the title, these recipes are sure winners!

"Toy Story 3" - Jessie's Cowgirl Hats

Cook time and yield depends on sugar cookie dough.

Like Jessie in "Toy Story 3," these cookies have a sassy appearance but are also sweet.  Photo courtesy of Allison Daitch.

- Tray
- Waxed paper
- Rolling pin
- 2-inch round cookie cutter
- Spatula
- Baking sheets
- Wire cooling racks
- Butter knife or spatula for spreading the icing

- Batch of chilled sugar cookie dough (homemade or store bought)
- Flour
- Red cookie icing
- Large red gumdrops
- Tube of white decorator's icing (with a narrow round tip to pipe on the lacing)


  1. Cover the tray with waxed paper and set it aside.
  2. Roll out the sugar cookie dough between sheets of flour-dusted waxed paper to a 1/4-
    inch thickness. Using the 2-inch cutter, cut out the cookies and place them on the tray. Then place the tray in the refrigerator to chill the cookies while you heat the oven to the proper temperature.
  3. When the oven is heated, transfer the cookies to a baking sheet. Then bake and cool them
    according to the recipe directions.
  4. Turn the cookies upside down so the flat surfaces are facing up and then frost them with
    the red icing.
  5. Once the icing has set, add a top to each hat by slicing the domed top off of a red
    gumdrop. Then squeeze a quarter size dollop of white decorator's icing onto the bottom
    of the gumdrop and gently press it down onto the center of the cookie so the icing spreads
    around the base and resembles a white hatband.
  6. Pipe a line of trim around the perimeter of each cookie hat brim. Then pipe a series of
    short lines over the top of the trim to resemble white lacing.

"Inception" - Dreamy Layer Cake
Prep time is about 25 minutes. Total cook time is about 40 minutes.

Leonardo DiCaprio approves of this cake.  Photo courtesy of Anya Gosine.

- 3 9" or 8" round pans (if you only have two, you will have to wash one in between baking)
- Electric mixer
- measuring cups

- 2 boxes white cake mix*
- 1 box red velvet cake mix*
- gel food coloring
- eggs
- water
- vegetable oil
- icing

*Can be easily interchanged with other mixes, or with homemade batters.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease pans. Prepare each cake mix in a separate bowl according to instructions.
  2. In each bowl of white cake batter, use gel food coloring to add distinct colors. Use electric beater to mix in gel. Blue and purple are used in this recipe.
  3. In this three-layer cake, each layer represents one of the three main dream levels of "Inception." The top layer will be the first dream, for which you add a single batter to a pan. Here we add red velvet.
  4. In the next layer we add two different batters. Drop a cup of purple batter into the center of the second pan, followed by a cups of red velvet batter in the center of that. Continue alternating the batters in concentric circles until pan is approximately halfway full.
  5. In the third pan, use the same technique to layer the batters starting with blue, followed by purple and then red. This represents a "dream within a dream within a dream."
  6. Bake all three batters in oven according to times given on the instruction boxes.
  7. Once done, remove cakes and let cool.
  8. Trim layers so that they are even; spread icing between layers and around the stacked layers.
  9. Enjoy!

Note: Ambitious bakers can bake additional layers to represent "reality" and "limbo."

"Black Swan" - Black and White Cookies

These Black and White cookies exude an elegance very much like that of the ballet performances in "Black Swan." Photo courtesy of Allison Daitch.

- Baking sheets
- 2 large mixing bowls
- Electric mixer (or mixing spoon)
- Small pot
- Frosting knife

- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp lemon extract
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup water
- 3 ounces very bitter or unsweetened chocolate
- 1 tsp light corn syrup
- 1 to 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray, or line with
    parchment paper.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter. Mix by machine or hand until fluffy.
    Add eggs, milk and vanilla and lemon extracts. Mix until smooth.
  3. In medium bowl, combine cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until
    mixed. Add dry mixture to the wet in batches, stirring well after each addition. Using a
    soup spoon, place heaping spoonfuls of the dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
    Bake until edges begin to brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.
  4. Boil a cup or so of water in a small pot. Place confectioners' sugar in large, heat-
    safe mixing bowl. Gradually stir in enough boiling water to the sugar to make a thick,
    spreadable mixture. Err on the side of caution because a too-thin frosting is hard to undo.
    Leave remaining boiling water on the stove.
  5. Spread frosting on half of the flat side of each cookie. Once all cookie halves have been
    frosted, place the bowl of the remaining frosting over the hot water and bring it back
    to a simmer (creating a double-boiler). Stir in the bitter or unsweetened chocolate until
    melted, as well as the light corn syrup. At this point, depending on the chocolate you
    used and your preferences, you might find the chocolate color to be a little lighter than
    the "black” of a black-and-white cookie. If so, we find that a tablespoon or so of cocoa
    mixed in darkens the color nicely.
  6. Ice the remaining half of the cookies with the chocolate frosting. We find that the
    chocolate–especially with cocoa in it–is especially prone to getting too dry, so don't
    worry about whisking in an extra teaspoon of that hot water from time to smooth it back
    into a shiny frosting.
  7. Let the frosting set. Store in an airtight container.

"127 Hours" - Rock Cakes

- Baking sheets
- 2 mixing bowls

These traditional teatime snacks resemble small rocks (very delicious rocks, that is.) Photo courtesy of Allison Daitch.

Prep time is about 10 minutes. Cook time is about 15 minutes. Makes 16 cakes.
- 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 cup softened butter
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 8-10 teaspoon raisins
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 8 tsp milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease baking sheet.
  2. Use hands to cream butter into flour until mixture is crumby.
  3. Add in baking powder and brown sugar. Mix in the raisins evenly.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and vanilla and gradually add mixture to the flour mixture. Add milk gradually.
  5. Combine the mixture with hands until a moist, moderately stiff dough is formed.
  6. Use a spoon to dollop the dough onto baking sheet. Do not attempt to smooth the cakes – they should maintain a "rocky" texture.
  7. If desired, at this point sprinkling extra brown sugar on top of the cakes provides for a nice top coating once baked.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Have your own ideas for nominee-inspired foods? Share with us in the comment section below!

Allison Daitch. "Are you a mod or a rocker?" "No, I'm a mocker." I'm Allison, a.k.a. Allie. I love The Office, How I Met Your Mother, Seinfeld and Harry Potter. I could live off of Cosi TBMs and Signature Salads, with the occasional Quattro Formaggio pizza thrown … More »

Anya Gosine. More »

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