I got one of the most amazing Christmas present back in 2006. Santa, aka Connie and Larry, got me a beautiful orange KitchenAid Mixer.
I decided not to bring the beautiful mixer with me back to our college house. This was probably one of the better decisions I’ve made in my life. So after graduation, it was like I received the present all over again. I moved in with my brother, opened that KitchenAid box and gave it a prominent place in the kitchen. I then tried to get Adam to go with an entire orange motif for the kitchen, but that never really took. It was hard to believe I had had my mixer 6 months and never touched it.
My first year out of college I was bored most of the time. All my friends lived in Chicago, or Boston, or Evansville, or Minneapolis, or somewhere else. It took me a while to find my footing after school. While I was trying to find that footing, I took up baking to fill the large gaps of time. I wanted to use my mixer but didn’t know how else to do that besides baking. I started making cakes and cupcakes all the time. It was a weekly experience. Most of the time, I wouldn’t necessarily even eat what I made, I just wanted to mix it together. There were always some sort of baked goods sitting on the oven in Adam’s house. My baked good of choice was the cupcake. It was easy to give away (Hey Adam, take this tupperware container to the office today) and they are pretty darn tasty.
One thing I struggled with is that many times, cupcakes from scratch are not as good as just buying from the box. I’ve tried many a recipe and found they were mostly alright, but not amazing. Here’s a tale about two from scratch recipes I tried:
The cupcake wins:
My cousin Mike got married this summer and so the ladies of the family were throwing his now-wife a shower. I volunteered to be in charge of cupcakes (duh). The theme of the shower were her colors – blue and brown. I took this theme very seriously trying to figure out the most elegant way to incorporate the colors onto the cupcake pallet. No one wants a mouth full of blue icing so I needed something more unique. I started consulting people I knew and my friend Bethany suggested this recipe but changing the food coloring. I thought it was a genius idea. I went home that night and tried it…. Well, things did not work as planned. The recipe looks amazing and the color in the recipe is such a vibrant red. There’s a reason they’re called red velvet cupcakes and not Blue velvet cupcakes. The cocoa in the cupcakes mix with the color and make it really really hard to get a good color. I honestly spent an hour mixing different combination of food coloring just trying to get a blue color. This is the result of the best I could do.
Doesn’t it just look like mold? Mike and Tamara are into camping so I thought maybe I could turn my mold-looking cupcake into a camping theme. The green would be grass and I could ice in a blue river or something. I was desperate.
Cupcakes 1 – Bess 0
Finally, on the day of the shower, I just bought a chocolate mix and chocolate icing from the store and then filled the cupcake plate with blue sprinkles. It actual looked and tasted pretty good. But it was from a box. It lacked the satisfaction I was craving.
After that disaster and few others, (sometimes I get bake and broil confused on my oven. That makes for an interesting cupcake) I put off cupcake making for a while. My orange KitchenAid lay dormant waiting for chance to combine sugar and butter once a gain, a chance to prove itself with a whip of eggs and flour. I decided to give it a reprieve last night.
Some of you might know but I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Martha Stewart. She is just amazing, so classy, so perfect, so awesome (she is great to follow on twitter. I highly reccommend it. She will tweat recipes all the time). And honestly, I don’t see the big deal about insider trading. A rep from Martha Stewart Living magazine sent me and my co-workers a copy of Martha’s new cupcake cookbook. First off, it’s a beautiful cookbook and full of tons of recipes and decorating ideas.
Last night my roommate and I decided we would watch disc 1 from season 3 of Weeds. What goes better with Weeds than snacks? So before the show began I decided to whip up a batch of Martha’s cupcakes. After much deliberataion, I decided on the Blueberries and Cream recipe because it was seasonal. The reciped called for two types of flour – all purpose and cake flour. I think that might have made all the difference because normally I just use all purpose flour.
I made my own whipped cream icing and the cupcakes are actually perfection and pretty simple to make.
Aren’t they cute? Three Chears to Martha.
I guess the cupcakes and I are tied 1-1. What will the tie breaker be?