The theater department at my son’s high school raises a little extra change during play runs by selling mom-made goodies at intermission. It was my turn this time, and the timing couldn’t have been better, as the play was Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. And of course, my Immortal Brotherhood books are Beauty and the Beast, too (NOT the Disney version).
Now, I’m an okay baker, but I don’t do it often. But I rolled up my sleeves and set out to make my required three dozen cupcakes. And in the process, I learned a few things—minor things, perhaps, and probably old hat to those who bake more often than, say, once every two years, but new to me. They are presented below in the order in which I discovered them.
1) Wilton cupcake liners are better.
I’ve always used the cheap ones from the grocery store (Reynolds, typically) but since I had to pick up some specialty sprinkles at the craft store, I decided the convenience of grabbing the Wilton liners that were right there far outweighed the few cents I would save by ducking into the grocery next door.
Enlightenment. The Wilton cups were sized properly and pleated more tightly, so they actually FIT my pans and didn’t sproing up out of the cups. (See pic. Wilton is on the left, sitting there politely waiting for batter. Reynolds is clearly trying to escape.) Nor did the Wilton get those funky, annoying wrinkles when I filled them.
Result: easier to fill, prettier cupcakes.
I will never go back.
2) Chocolate cake is harder to frost than white cake.
As I said, I don’t bake all that much, and have never made both chocolate and white cakes/cupcakes at the same time (really). So I always thought my occasional trouble with getting frosting onto chocolate cake evenly was due to differences in weather, different cake mix, different frosting, my mood, whatever. But this time, I had the same brand of cake, the same brand of frosting, the same day, same oven, same knife. In other words, it was a controlled experiment, with only two variables: the cake flavor and the frosting flavor.
It turns out chocolate cake actually does have a slicker surface than white cake. Combine that with its propensity to crumble more easily, and you have a (slight) mess.
No wonder wedding cakes were white back when the bakers were in charge instead of the bridezillas.
3) If you don’t have enough Tupperware to carry your cupcakes, the donut shop will sell you boxes.
Well, mine will, anyway, and for just $0.25 each. Yep, I got three snazzy boxes for just $0.75. (See right) Not half bad. That little cutie leaning against the boxes is one of the 2 dozen brownies I made—and DECORATED—in addition to the 4 dozen cupcakes. Hey, if I’m going to bother, I’m going to go whole hog.
4) Baking makes me happy.
I’d forgotten (probably got washed out of my brain after the last effort when I had to clean up).
It’s probably really that having baked makes me happy, kind of like my feeling about writing (it’s not so much that I love to write, but I like having written and am crazy in love with the book I get at the end). And really, who wouldn’t get a warm, fuzzy feeling over a boxful of these lovelies.
See, those are the specialty sprinkles I had to pick up at the craft store, which led to the Wilton cupcake liners, which led to this post.
But if you want to know what really led to this post, check out 18, below, as Cogsworth. (Note my success at finding handlebar mustache.)
That’s not a commerical costume, btw. One of the moms made it. Which leads to:
5) Moms can do anything.
Remember that on Sunday, as you wish your mom Happy Mother’s Day.