Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cupcakes and Good-wife Impressions

For my husband’s birthday, I made cupcakes for him to take to work. I haven’t made cupcakes in years, and I forgot what a pain they could be.
All I wanted was to be a good wife, make my husband proud, and maybe acquire some suck-up points in case I’d need them some day. I thought cupcakes would be easy with the aid of canned frosting and cake mixes to yield 48 cupcakes. All I had to do to earn a halo in domestic wonder is combine the cake mix, water, oil and eggs, then bake and frost.
First, it took a while to find our electric beaters and dust them off. Next, I had forgotten the old rule of NOT cracking the eggs on the side of the bowl, so that you don't lose eggshells in the batter. I spent quite a while chasing miniature pieces of shell, which somehow got buried in the cake mix. (Sh-h! Our secret–they got baked.)
To date, I’ve received no reports of anyone choking.
After the egg-shell chase, I turned on the beaters and everything went fine until it was time to get the beaters off to lick them before washing them. I couldn't figure out how to get them out of the mixer thing. So, I brought up the beaters out of the batter and pressed the button I assumed would shut them off. It didn’t. It turned the miniature machine on high, which decorated my microwave and cupboards with whips of chocolate.
I cleaned up the mess and moved on to spoon batter into the little paper cups lining the tins. For some reason, the paper cups kept tilting topsy-turvy in the tin or floating out every time I tried to drop batter into them. I finally got them filled, but not without dripping over the center of the tin.
Then, because each cup was only supposed to be two-thirds full of batter, and all of mine looked uneven, I had to take some batter out of the fuller cups and add to the not-so-full ones. I was really worried whether or not I measured correctly and if I’d turn out the full 48 cupcakes, especially with all the finger licking going on while trying to even out the batter.
Baking was the easiest part. The oven took care of it all by itself. And because I did not remember the rule about the egg shells, I thought ahead about what rules there might be to frosting. Luckily, tips are given on the box, which advised to let the cake(s) cool first.
I patiently waited for each little cupcake to cool off to guarantee that they’d frost well–I wanted to impress my husband. I've never been good at frosting, so I tried very hard to make sure I glazed all the way around the edges, not just the center of the cakes. I was proud, even though I couldn’t manage pretty swirls in the frosting and my cupcakes looked like the work of a three-year-old.
I ran out of frosting when I still had about five naked cupcakes to go. So, I had to take frosting off one cupcake and put it on another. This step took me about a half an hour for the first 24 cupcakes. I had the other 24 already baked and ready to be frosted with a different flavor of frosting, but after finishing the first 24, and with the whole cupcake-making becoming so mentally exhausting, I decided to take a break.
In the meantime, my husband came home and offered to frost the rest of the cupcakes. He did it in five minutes and had a third of the can of frosting left. None of his cupcakes had bare spots showing, and his frosted swirls looked bakery-made, artistic and smooth. Interesting.
I will never make cupcakes again. No matter whose birthday it is or no matter whom I want to impress. Mike cupcake days are over.


  1. Ha, very funny. Wait, you guys can do it together. You do the baking and he does the frosting. Can't impress his work that way, but he'll probably enjoy it. Never say never. :)

  2. I guess I could, but they really took a long time and a lot of fuss. They are not that spendy in the store. Maybe I could just ...

  3. An ice cream scoop is good for filling cupcake tins.

    Funny article, Deb.


  4. Funny. I'm equally inept in the kitchen.