Why Did It Have to Be Like That, Ina?

My friend Rick invited us to his lovely home for Easter brunch.  Since I was raised by a gracious Southern lady (like the song goes, "Mama tried to raise me better..._"), I asked if I could bring something.  He suggested he some of the mini cannolis from Brocato's, the incredible Italian bakery/gelataria in my neighborhod.  As good as their cannoli are, it seemed so impersonal, so I decided to make cupcakes.

I like to cook.  I cook a lot.  And I'm a good cook.  However, I've never done much baking, because baking is all about precision and following instructions explicitly, things I've never been much good at.  So I decided to make cupcakes.  From scratch, even though I've only made cupcakes once in the past 20 years.  How hard could it be?  And to be safe, I decided to use a Barefoot Contessa recipe, since Ina Garten's recipes have never let me down.  I did cringe a little after reading that the cupcakes (including frosting) called for 5, count them 5, sticks of butter, a cup of sour cream, a POUND of cream cheese, and an entire box of powdered sugar. 

Furthermore, I have to tell you that I don't have a mixer, not even a hand mixer.  Since I'm not into baking and have too small of a kitchen to waste on seldom used gadgets, I've just never purchased one.  Let me just tell you, after trying to cream 5 sticks of butter and beating the lumps out of a batter that makes 24 cupcakes, my forearms and biceps were burning.  But still, I soldiered on thinking it would be so worth it in the in.

Look how lovely:  Ina Garten's flower cupcakes

MY flower cupcakes:

I'm not sure where  it went wrong, I just know it went wrong.  With only an hour to spare before departing for Rick's, I managed to throw together a second batch of cupcakes using another recipe.  I also learned from my partner that my rack was too low.  Who knew?  Anyway the second batch turned out fine, and quite frankly anything served with an icing containg 3 sticks of butter, 1 lb of cream cheese, and a lb of powdered sugar would taste pretty good.  And, good news for my diet....after baking 48 cupcakes, frosting 24, cleaning up that mess, and eating a few........I never, and I mean never, want to see a cupcake again.


carla fox said...

Oh, nooooooooo......but I bet they tasted good, anyway, right? Reminds me of the time my then 7 year old son and I made a wedding cake. I kid you not! With enough frosting and fresh flowers, you can fake it till you bake it!

Design Junkie said...

I wish carla. I thougt I could just trim the overfilled edges and hide the defect with frosting....unfortunately, the bottoms and the paper cups were burned. I would have just turned the salvagable cupcake chunks into bread pudding like 50s gal (www.my50syear.blogspot.com), but I knew Rick wanted a finger food desert, so I risked another batch. With the oven rack raised and by watching them fiercely, the second batch turned out fine.

Connie said...

What a story! Funny, but with a happy ending. You really had to work for those cupcakes...I would never try to stir and beat those ingredients. Too much work. So glad you're back to posting. I have missed you.

Marlo said...

How nice to want to make cupcakes instead of bringing store bought pastries. And how brave to post a picture of the poor little cupcake that didn't rise to the challenge. :)

Amydell said...

I love that you made something from your heart! Something made at home is much better than something bought!

I've enjoyed your blog! Keep it up!