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Much to The Boy’s chagrin, I have been watching A LOT of “Cupcake Wars” lately.  Like, A LOT.  To the point where when I’m in the produce section at the grocery store, all I can think about is how “I could zest that, I could puree that, I CAN MAKE EVERYTHING INTO A CUPCAKE.”

Well, matters were made worse when last weekend, The Boy, having stayed out longer playing with his friends than he was supposed to, brought home apology cupcakes from The Sweetest Thing.  Yes, most men would bring home flowers, but nothing does a better job of saying “I’m sorry” to a former fatty than bringing home cupcakes from her favorite cup cakery.  It was smart on his part, because my inner fat girl will make the rest of me forgive and forget much quicker when presented with fat and sugar.

But I digress.  Two of the cupcakes he brought home were gingerbread cupcakes with buttercream frosting and little gingerbread cookies on top.  And ZOMG THEY WERE THE BEST CUPCAKES EVVVVAAAAARRRRR.  Within minutes of having shoved my cupcake down my gullet I was hunting for gingerbread cake recipes with which to recreate the delicious little baked miracles.

I eventually ended up settling on a gingerbread cake recipe and a buttercream frosting recipe out of The Joy of Cooking.  The finished products, gingerbread cupcakes with espresso cardamom buttercream frosting:

Now, this was a fun project.  However, it was also a giant pain in my backside, and taught me a number of valuable lessons:

  • The Joy of Cooking is not infallible.  The gingerbread cake was good, but not nearly dark or dense enough.  I think I need a recipe that involves more spice, more molasses, and stout.
  • Making buttercream frosting is a gigantic nightmare, at least using the recipe out of The Joy of Cooking.  I mean, what recipe calls for the use of a candy thermometer and an instant-on thermometer??  And for some inexplicable reason, despite my love of all things baking and kitchens, I do not own a candy thermometer, only a meat thermometer.  The hell.  Oh, and p.s., buttercream frosting should not take two hours to make.  Just sayin’.
  • My pathetic little starter decorating tip set does not cut it for making cupcakes.  I mean, just look at that picture.  Even though it was taken with my new Canon snazzy-pants SLR (baked goods AND fancy cameras?  I shall never leave the house again!), it can’t hide the fact that the frosting looks like a snake.  Or poop.  Or snake poop.  Clearly, cupcakes call for large decorating tips.  But, thanks to the power of  Amazon, these bad boys are on their way to me.  You know what that means…more cupcakes!

All in all, it wasn’t a bad first attempt at fancy cupcakes.  I took half of them to work and they disappeared, but everything disappears when you put it in the conference room at work.  It’s like, a physical law or something.  Would I recommend the recipes I used?  Sure, if you like fluffier, lighter gingerbread.  But as for me, the hunt for The Perfect Fancy Cupcake Recipe continues.

Man, being a perfectionist sucks.

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