Friday, January 21, 2011

First Hurdle

So my self-imposed cupcake challenge has found it's first, uh.....challenge. The cookbook truly does it all from scratch. The cake, the glazes, frosting, etc. Hooray, I say. Bring it on. Except that sometimes it doesn't always work out. Like now.

See, Link asked me to make one of the cupcakes from the book for his birthday. The peppermint ones. A vanilla cupcake with a bit of peppermint mixed into the batter, peppermint butter cream and crushed candy canes. Now seein' how I came down with bronchitis and didn't feel all that hot, I decided to cut a few corners. Cake mix cake. Easy and dependable. I didn't have the energy to deal with an unknown batter. I can tell you one thing I learned; I made two different brands and they were quite different from each other. Very interesting.

So even though I decided to cheat on the cake, I didn't want to cheat on the frosting. So I ventured into the unknown world of this butter cream that I'd never seen before. It started with egg whites and sugar in a stainless bowl over boiling water. I had to whisk it continuously until it reached at least 160 degrees. This ensures the safety of the eggs, I believe. After which, the mixture is removed from the heat and you add your hand mixer on high until the mixture forms stiff peaks. The recipe said it would take about 5-6 minutes. After 10 minutes, I still didn't have stiff peaks. It was pretty droopy. So I figured, well even if this doesn't turn out, I need to see what will happen when I start to add the butter. So, one or two tablespoons at a time, I started dropping in softened butter. Not to bad for the first 2/3 of the called-for butter. And then all of a sudden the mixture changed into this thick, not very smooth looking something-or-other. So I tasted it. It was just like a really soft, really whipped up butter that had been sweetened a little bit. Nothing like what I imagined a butter cream frosting should be. Obviously, I had to make a run to the store for premade frosting, which I whipped up to make it fluffier, added some peppermint extract and piped it all lovely onto the cupcakes.

So there it is. Aside from the few recipes that call for a glaze, the rest use that basic butter cream, flavored in different ways. Strawberry butter cream, chocolate butter cream, almond, banana, caramel swirl, chocolate malt, coconut, white chocolate, chocolate mint..... I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Probably try the recipe again. Probably do some internet research. Maybe send a few food network emails begging for help. Who knows. But, hang tight. When I get it figured out or come up with a different plan, I will let you know.

Friday, January 7, 2011


I got a cookbook for Christmas. That one. ^^^ I have officially decided that I am going to systematically, from front to back, bake each and every cupcake in the book. I think I will learn a lot in the process. About new recipes, about cakes from scratch....may get better at the over-all appearance. The idea is that I will eventually have just the right recipes for scrumptious, moist and delectable cupcakes that will make your mouth sing! Sing, I tell you. The kind of cupcake you need to eat with a fork. Slowly. The kind that leaves you feeling entirely satisfied, enough that you don't have to eat two or three. Although you might want to.

I will let you know when I begin. As of now, I'm running a low fever and I don't feel so hot. Anyway - eventually, my neighbors are either going to love me for all of the free treats or hate me and wish I would just throw them out and stop it already. Especially because there are ::gulp:: 46 different recipes in the book. I might combine some into one project. For instance, the vanilla cupcakes are used six different times in the book - just dressed up in different ways. Sneak peeks, please?

  • Lime Meringue Cupcakes
  • Grapefruit and Buttermilk
  • Rosewater and Raspberry
  • Sour Cherry Almond
  • Coconut Lime
  • Mexican Chocolate
  • White Chocolate and Raspberry
Just a few tidbits to come.

P.S. If you'd like to sign up as a taster...I will be more than happy to bring the results over for you to try. Unless they don't turn out. Which is most certainly going to happen along the way.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I don't have to explain friendship to you, right? I know you already get it. I hit the friend jackpot, I think. I feel a little bit silly writing this, but I'm sure you'll humor me and forgive my silliness. I had a 'friend' once who said to me, "The best friends I ever had were in the same time of life and stuff as I am. Same age of kids, maybe the same number of children," etc. I don't remember everything she said. That part of it stuck in my head, and then later I realized that she and I didn't have those things in common and it seemed she was telling me that I needed to look elsewhere. Hmmmph. Whatever. It stung a little bit and sort of hurt my feelings. But eventually life moved on, we moved, they moved. On to better things.

About 5 years ago, I met this cute girl with a baby girl the same age as mine. And it was her first girl too. And it was her third child too. And her boys were born in January just like mine. Same years as mine. It took about two and a half years after that before she and I started getting to know each other better. Our little girls are the bestest of frienemies, like sisters. They go to school together and gymnastics together and ballet together and they play babies and doll house. They sing and giggle and dress up and argue and compete. It's adorable. I'm fairly certain that my daughter will not get a biological sister. It's just the best that she has this little friend.

And her mother is the best too. I trust her implicitly with my children. I trust her with anything. I can tell her anything. She makes me laugh every day. She is the most cheerful, happy person I've ever known. She can be tender and funny and completely real all at the same time. She's beautiful. She can put down a large sweet pork salad like no one I've ever seen. She is amazingly talented in 5 million ways. Writing, crafting, decorating, baking, blogging, video making...takes awesome photos.... She's a great mom. She loves to laugh with her kids. Our girls at church adore her.

She has friends all over the country, it seems. Her friendships last and they span distances. I count myself blessed to call her my friend. I'm excited to watch our kids grow up together. I hope that they will always be close in school and in activities and all of that stuff. But I know that it won't matter where our lives may take us.

Love ya, m'lady! Hope you're not embarrassed. I may be too embarrassed to say this stuff to you irl, but somehow I wanted you to know. Big squeezy hug times ten.