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.