Monday, April 16, 2012

How Do You Make a Bad Cupcake?

We are planning our first of what we hope will be an annual barbecue this spring, and thought that cupcakes would work well for dessert since we are celebrating some birthdays and cupcakes are easier to serve than big cakes since you can just grab one. No slicing and serving involved. I'm not all that much of a baker and can't even remember the last time I baked cupcakes, maybe for someone's birthday twenty years ago.

So, there is a new gourmet cupcake and coffee place down the road and I thought why not try their cupcakes and then maybe order some for the barbecue.

The prices were what I expected, like $2.85 a cupcake, because they are gourmet and all, and I was anticipating a really delicious cupcake for $2.85 but when I started to eat my $2.85 cupcake I was like why does a $2.85 cupcake really have no flavor? And is kind of dry? And even the frosting has no flavor? The cupcake was chocolate so why didn't it have a melt in your mouth chocolatey good taste? I was so disappointed in my expensive cupcake. Needless to say we are not ordering $2.85 cupcakes for the barbecue.

So, maybe I'll make some myself.

I've been researching cupcake recipes from the simple fix up a boxed mix to the rather complicated make it with cake flour and some weird expensive liqueur that you'll only use a tablespoon of and then have a big bottle of sitting in your cupboard until you throw it out a few years later when you find the dusty bottle hiding behind the other bottles of ingredients you've bought and only used a tablespoon of.

Yesterday I decided to try a recipe for s'mores cupcakes from Betty Crocker that I found online. The batter was easy, just a boxed mix with some chopped up hershey bars and graham cracker crumbs in it, so no problem there although it doesn't taste like any s'more I've ever eaten, just like cake with some graham cracker crumbs muddling things up and some chopped up candy bars in it. Then the frosting you make with butter, powdered sugar, and a jar of marshmallow creme. I've never bought or eaten marshmallow creme before but when I was trying to find it in Foods Co, I did find bags of giant sized marshmallows, almost as big as a hockey puck giant marshmallows. I guess they are for super sized s'mores or something.

So, I got the cupcake part of the cupcakes baked, no problem there, and then it was time to make the frosting. I'm trying to mix up the butter, sugar and marshmallow creme and marshmallow creme is really sticky and messy and all I have is a little hand held mixer so this is not really going all that well. And did I say it was very sticky? I had bought one of those cake decorating kits with the tips and the bags for putting on frosting because one of the reasons I've never made very many cupcakes is the frosting all those cupcakes part and I thought it might be easier to just pipe the frosting on. It was easier than spreading but getting that sticky stuff into the frosting bag was not. Marshmallow frosting is STICKY!

Finally, they were done and sampled and while they tasted okay, definitely did not taste like a s'more and the frosting was not something that I will ever want to make again, so on to other experiments. This week I will try chocolate peanut butter cupcakes with chopped up peanut butter cups on top of the frosting.

This is how the cupcakes are supposed to look. I did not buy a box of  graham cracker bears to put one or two on top of my cupcakes because I didn't want a box of graham cracker bears getting dusty in my cupboard.

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