It’s been a couple of weeks since I made cake. Two weeks ago we had a health crisis with the hubby, which fortunately turned out to be just an infection. But the long vacation I’d hoped to use to make my next masterpiece (masterpiece + me = delusional) didn’t pan out. No pun intended, I promise. I did manage to make it to the mall with the Spud while we were waiting on yet another doctor’s checkup. We browsed the shops, had some candy and lots of tea at this wonderful little tea shop…and then I discovered the cupcake store.
I thought I was going to be in heaven when I found the little store nearly hidden away in the corner of the mall. In the 20 seconds it took to walk to it, I concocted all these plans for buying one of each to try, so I could find out what the pros’ stuff really tasted like. But then I found out that they were out of all but 3 flavors of their cupcakes, a big sign out front with the day’s varieties listed and a big “Sold Out” note across almost all of them. Disappointment crept in, moreso when they didn’t have anything chocolate left (blasphemy!).
But, I was determined to try a real, professionally made cupcake. The two twenty-something girls manning the store looked excited that someone else had come in to buy their remaining cakes. So, I ordered one of each: a berry pecan, an apple crisp, and a banana chocolate chip (as close to chocolate as we were going to get that day). The girls were very sweet, and were apparently trying to get rid of their remaining inventory, because they gave me two of each for the same price. 3 free cupcakes! Although I have to admit, for the price they were charging per cake, I’d hate to have paid full price for all six. They were beautiful cupcakes, though. All of them had different swirls of icing on top and little garnishes. The pecan berry had a candied pecan on top, the apple was sprinkled with decorative sugar, and the banana had sprinkles of chocolate chips on top.
I was excited about the prospect of the cakes, and wanted a taste out of each one just to see what they were like. I knew I’d end up eating both of the berry pecan cakes, just because I’m the only one in the house that seems to like pecans in any form, or any kind of nuts in a cake, really.
That night, we all had milk and cupcakes…but I was admittedly disappointed. They were insanely sweet. Overly sweet. Cloyingly sweet. Wash every mouthful down with a huge gulp of milk sweet. I was afraid the spud was going to start bouncing off the walls…far too close to bedtime to be on that kind of sugar rush. Plus the cakes themselves were too moist. I’m not crazy about my cupcakes being sticky and gooey. Hmm.
So it wasn’t quite what I had in mind. The berry cupcake was nothing more than strawberry cake mix with pecans added in. The apple was tasty, but I could have done without the extra sugar rush of the decorative sugar chunks on top. And the banana had so much banana extract in the mix and in the icing that it was almost all I could taste. And fake banana just isn’t all that fantastic. Banana flavoring is always so overbearing anyway. The chocolate chips helped offset it, but not by much.
So I was disappointed by my first foray into “pro” cupcakes. But I learned that I could probably do it, given a big enough oven and prep kitchen so I wouldn’t be limited to baking a mere dozen at a time. Especially if it’s just cake mix with some garnishes and a little extra flavoring… I think I can manage that.
Unfortunately, it also ruined me for cake for a couple of weeks. Everyone ate one cupcake that first night, but no one else wanted them after that…so it was either throw them in the garbage or eat them myself…and I hate to let cake go to waste. Especially when I had to fork out money for it.
This past weekend, I was still sick of cake (gasp!), because I could still taste that horrifying sweetness. So I made pie (sacrilege!!).
Still, it’s a form of baking! Maybe not so much the way I made it though.
I made a graham cracker crust, pressed it into the pan, baked it for about 10 minutes, and used a jar of store-bought key lime pie filling. I know, I know. I cheated on all kinds of levels this time. But I was tired and lazy and just wanted dessert.
The topping this time was my triumph. I FINALLY got the whipped cream just perfect. At the point where you really think you’re about to mix it too much, it’s just right. And so, my fake pie actually tasted good. It was even better the second day, after it sat in the fridge and chilled all the way though. And key lime is one of my favorites anyway (right after French Silk and right before Pecan).
BUT… I’ve had two requests for cake since then. Both by family. This weekend, I’ll put something Halloween-ish together. I have this great little skeleton mold that I’m dying to use. I swear I’ll post photos this time.
In the meantime: