Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cupcake Lessons

Each birthday party I have a naive belief that my experience as a professional baker will help me create a wonderful cake or cupcakes for the party. Each year, I am so wrong!

Maybe it's that I rarely have time in all the preparation to bake a cake from scratch, except I know the mixes are just as good. I have at times rightly blamed my cake pans which warped during the baking. Other times it has been a glazing or frosting recipe that just didn't cooperate.

This year I had one small issue and one big issue, the cake flavor and the cupcake liners! Kaia really wanted carrot cake cupcakes. I needed a mix, since her party was less than 2 weeks post surgery, but I couldn't find one! I went to 2 different stores looking, and decided that I wasn't going to anymore stores. I had planned on 2 different flavors, so instead of carrot I bought strawberry cake mix and a chocolate mix. Afterward I learned that the spice cake can be used and the carrots added, also I heard that Albertson's carried the mix Kaia wanted. Luckily she decided that strawberry would be ok.

I found a good deal on the Reynolds Foil Baking Cups. The nice thing was, they were separated with paper liners. So I was able to use foil for the strawberry cupcakes and the paper for chocolate. Silly me, I made the mistake of reading the package. It claimed that there was no need to use a cupcake pan. I thought this was wonderful. I'd be able to cook the cupcakes faster by baking more on a large cookie sheet. I quickly loaded up all the foil liners with strawberry cake mix and put them in the oven. I quickly regretted reading the package when I looked in at my baking cupcakes. You don't NEED a cupcake pan, as long as you don't care what they look like.

The cupcakes were flat on top, and many had baked dents into them. At least all the chocolate cupcakes that were baked in my non-warping cupcake pan (a Christmas present from my aunt) looked good.

They looked better frosted, but were still very difficult to frost as the tops never developed a nice browning to keep them from falling apart. The birthday girl didn't seem to mind though.

I hear the strawberry cupcakes tasted good too. I tried a bite of one, realized they taste like strawberry milk, and quickly gave the rest of it to Mo.

Overall I wasn't happy with the baking cups. Not only should they be used with a cupcake pan, but as you can see from the photo, they separated from the cupcakes too easily. I wanted a pretty sugared edge, but between the flat tops and the peeling liners, it just didn't have the pretty factor I hoped for. There is always 2010, and that year I'll have 3 separate children's parties to throw. Maybe I will have reached my full potential by the boys' first birthday.


Lady Farmer said...

Dear TJ ~
I think your cupcakes turned out just fine and I'm sure that little birthday girl did too! She knows you made them especially for her special day.
I don't think children are too into what stuff looks like ~ as long as it is sweet and made with love! ;~}

jennifer said...

Your cupcakes are making my mouth water... a cupcake is a cupcake and a cupcake is YUMMY!! :)

Anyway, just show the picture of the cupcakes and Kaia - no one will even notice flat tops for looking at her sweet smile!

Danielle said...

I love how you're already thinking ahead to their first birthday!!! Check out this site
Some of them sound so yummy

Anonymous said...

Kids don't really care at Kaia's age just give them something sweet and they go crazy. Aunt Linda

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

How sweet! Those are some yummy looking cupcakes!