Anyone who read my other post ‘The Exorcism Of Martha Stewart’ is well aware of my lack of baking abilities. It features an image of my first attempt at baking, starring some VERY over cooked, disgusting, and almost inedible oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
So when it came time for my sons Christmas party at school I had two available options (since keeping him home sick was not one of them) a) I could trek my butt to the grocery store and purchase treats, then place them on a fancy tray and take credit for making them myself, or b) suck it up and try out this baking thing again, this time making sure to follow all instructions carefully, and pay attention to the baking time and temperature exactly.
I figured (I could use this moment as one of those ‘never give up’ lessons for my son) I would opt for number two, and I have made an early resolution to start choosing the options I usually wouldn’t choose and make some simple (ha!) changes in my life. (Besides, if worse comes to worse the grocery store is 24-hours, and there are fresh batteries in the smoke detector)
So with a goal in mind I set out for everything I would need to bake the greatest Christmas cupcakes of all time, Martha Stewart would have nothing on me after this… I ventured to the store and purchased the following list of items;
Things I need to make super great cupcakes
A box of cake mix
A tin of icing
A small jar of colored sprinkles
Green food coloring
A bottle of vodka
With everything on my list I was sure to make the best cupcakes the world had ever seen. I could imagine the look on the teachers face as she looked upon my magical concoction… the other mothers would be in awe of my talent, and beg for my secret recipe, they would offer to pay huge sums for cupcakes of this caliber for birthday, christmas, and dinner parties. I would be a baking sensation, my picture would appear in every baking magazine, and I would be competing with Martha Stewart on Rachel Ray…..It would be AWESOME!!!
Once I was home, with the items spread out on the kitchen counter, and my little helper ‘C’ at my side, I set to work. First step; read the directions on the cake mix box. OK easy enough, lets see here; mix 3 eggs? 2 cups water, and 1/3 cup of oil? in a big bowl….
I didn’t buy 3 eggs! and I certainly didn’t buy 1/3 a cup of oil, and of course, my measuring cup (care of the dollar store) doesn’t have 1/3 a cup listed anywhere on it!!! Uh-oh…..
Well I learned something, a few things actually….. for starters when your 7-year-old is standing beside you expecting cupcakes it is best not to panic… in fact, it is best to act as if everything is just fine, and calmly improvise!!! Also, if you have no oil, applesauce is a great substitute…. who knew???
Don’t worry, I found a few eggs in the back of the fridge, and I am sure they were fine, I mean how long could they have been there, right? and luckily I have an infant and just happened to have applesauce on hand, as well as a baby bottle that had the 1/3 cup (which is 75ml btw) measurement on it… as for the big bowl though, well that’s where improvisation comes in… Of course I don’t own a big baking bowl, do you forget that I had to borrow a cookie sheet from my neighbour??? Why would I need a giant mixing bowl when I don’t ‘mix’ anything??? I used a big pot instead. (The box showed a picture of a blender, but I figured since I didn’t have one of those I would just stir the mix really really fast!!! Same thing right?)
With all the ingredients poured together, the oven set and ‘preheating’ at 350 degrees. I mixed that mix with all my might….and then made C mix it some more….
I greased the muffin tray with butter, and since I had forgotten to buy those little paper muffin cups, I added a little extra grease for good measure. I then filled the little muffin holes and popped them into the oven. Now it was time to wait!
I was surprised. The box said for 24 cupcakes bake 16-18 minutes. ’24 cupcakes’ I thought ‘there are 24 kids in C’s class, that means I am not even going to be able to test these super amazing cupcakes to make sure they are perfect…. Oh well, I am sure they will be fine!’ But amazingly, I had more than enough mix to make a second batch once it was time to remove the first one… so I waited. (As I waited I wondered if this was one of those times when having ‘extra’ was a bad thing. Like on Christmas Eve when you just spent 2 hours putting that toy together and there are ‘extra’ pieces lying on the floor! It is NEVER a good thing to have ‘extra’ toy pieces if you did not pay for ‘extra’ toy pieces!) I carefully watched the clock, paced the kitchen, and waited… after 16 1/2 minutes I peaked inside the oven….
Staring back at me were the most golden, perfectly baked cupcakes I had ever seen in my life! Over excited I grabbed my oven mitts and gently lifted them out of the oven, and set them to cool for 15 minutes like the package said…in big bold writing…. but now was the true test, would they easily slide out of this pan? or would they crumble and stick like over-cooked pasta????
They popped right out like the perfect little things they were. I don’t think I have ever felt so satisfied over something so stupid, who would have thought baking could be so exciting. (wow! I think this goes to show just how boring my life really is!)
Needless to say they were baked great and I iced them perfectly as well… I had officially baked something edible!!! I was so proud! Perhaps they were not Martha Stewart quality after all, but they were damn good, I would know… I think I ate at least 6 of them!!!! (No, I am not opening shop though, baking is far too much waiting and work for me) But with my new baking skills I thought of something, if I never make it back to Walmart to finish my shopping I could at least bake everyone some great cupcakes to help get over the disappointment of not having any gifts!!!!
Possibly, But Probably Un-Related Articles
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- Sex Writer Licks Martha Stewart’s Cupcake [Rachel Kramer Bussel] (gawker.com)
- How To Bake Delicious Cupcakes (blogcritics.org)
- Cupcake Maker – Free – Sunstorm Interactive (itunes.apple.com)
- Cutest holiday cupcakes ever (citymama.com)