Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Sad Day in Cupcake Land

Jon and I didn't do Valentine's Day this year. It's a corporate holiday dreamed up to increase chocolate sales around the Great Depression, and we figured, meh, we just got married. That's love enough...for now.

However, I stumbled across a Food Network Magazine at the office with a recipe that I just HAD to try. I nicked the page from the magazine and dashed home with euphoric, klepto-like glee.

The recipe is for homemade chocolate mini cupcakes, frosted with peanut butter icing, dipped in a chocolate ganache. My heart was all a flutter. When I saw this recipe, I felt like this:

Everything in the world is MAGICAL!

I should have known this was going to be a fail from the very beginning, but I was blinded by cupcake glee. Every time I encountered a warning sign that should have signified that this recipe was doomed to fail, I am going to write it in red. For example, I seriously had to go to the store on three different to get all the ingredients. Two of those three trips were to Wal-mart. Even checking out at the register at Wal-mart with these ingredients was a hassle. They just wouldn't scan, and the cashier, for some odd reason, could not properly type in the UPC code. Seriously.

The Sunday before Valentine's Day was going to be the last time that I will be cooking for awhile because Jon and I are going heading to the in-laws every weekend to help with the family business. Yea. Now was the time to cook, and there was no going back. I plowed mixed forward.

With my mise en place rockin', I started making the cupcakes. I must have gone over the directions 500 times with OCD-like precision to make sure every single step was right. I chopped about 900 different types of chocolate:

Chop Chop Chop!
Then I had to scald some heavy cream. After the cream is scalded, you are supposed to pour it over some peanut butter chips, let it sit for a few minutes, and then mix into a smooth paste for frosting. Scalding cream is really no big thing, that is unless your oven coils will not nest flat into the stove. After my pot sat on high for quite awhile without a boil, I began to wonder what was going on. After closer examination, my stove's knobs looked a little funny. Here's what I think happened: The stove's original knob got broken off by a previous tenant, so the landlord went to the hardware store and bought the first stove knob he could find. What he failed to notice during installation is that this knob is the opposite of all the other stove knobs. (i.e. this one has the HI setting on the opposite side of the dial than the other three burner knobs. So that means when this burner says HI when the temperature is actually on LO and vice versa. My hovel gets ghetto-er by the minute.

While the peanut butter set, I went to filling cupcakes sleeves. The batter was dark, rich, and absolutely fabulous. However, it was so thick, it was difficult to get it off the spoon into the muffin cups. I made a huge mess, but that was no surprise really. The real surprise came when I filled up 36 muffin cups, realizing that the recipe was only supposed to make 24 cupcakes. I put the first 24 in the oven and set the timer.

Afterward, I went to work smoothing the PB chips. I only had a shallow bowl left to mix in. I pulled out the hand mixer and started it on the slowest setting. Peanut Butter Creme Fresh soon splattered all over my kitchen because the bowl was too shallow to use a hand mixer.

You can see splatter on my hand and on the counter there.

This recipe, I swear, took every bowl, whisk, measuring spoon/cup, and spatula I owned. I had to stop 3 times mid-recipe to wash a dish that I needed. I sighed and carried on. I sadly misread that the PB mixture is to go in the freezer to harden after mixing. It was supposed to go in the fridge.  
About this time, the timer is going off for the cupcakes. I take out the first batches and put in the second. Something seemed terribly wrong. Jon and I tried a cupcake to see what was up. Guess what we found:

This means that my oven temperature gauge is off as well. I had made 24 mini hockey pucks. Twenty-four f-ing Puck-cakes from scratch. I decide to carfully monitor the remaining 12 to see if they could be salvaged. 

While they were cooking, I had to make a ganache and finish up the PB frosting. The recipe said that I was to mircowave the chocolate pieces with buttermilk for 2 minutes. By now, you should know how I feel about chocolate in the microwave. I started at 30 seconds and pulled my now rock hard PB frosting from the freezer. I pulled the chocolate out of the microwave and was able to ganache it right away. The PB frosting, on the other hand, required an ice-pick to get it out of the bowl. I was supposed to whip it into a fluffy paste, but it only came out as a thick turd log. I piped that shit on the salvaged second batch of cupcakes.

Look kids! Poo cupcakes!

Then came the dipping of the turd-frosted cupcakes into the ganache. Sigh. The frosting didn't really adhere too well to the puck-cakes.  It fell into the ganache bowl and had to be fished out and squished back on. Here is what resulted:

Hockey Puck-cakes with Turd-Burglar Icing Dipped in Diarrhea.  Yummy.
I walked out of the kitchen in disgust, both of my sinks full. My counters were covered in chocolate. Why you ask?

Dripped all over the kitchen.

Since this incident, we have been living on pizza, sandwiches, take-out, and dinner parties at other people's houses. Fuck cooking. I quit.


  1. Your hockey puck video is great. Beginning cooks and lazy landlords do not mix. Keep on trying

  2. No!! You can't stop cooking!! Failed dessert attempts are the best, it means I get to have it again, only better the next time! I love babe.

  3. bahaha i had some same experiences with making muffins. I don't touch baking. I cook, not bake and if I bake it is gonna be from a box all mixed together.
    Baking is just, how do I say? Strict, and a gamble especially from scratch. Chemistry.
    I sucked at chemistry.
    Cooking, you can just add stuf and add stuff and taste it and add stuff till it is good.


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