Monday, December 15, 2014

The journey of a failed baker

I have been diligently working on my baking skills, focusing on cupcakes.  In just a few short weeks and hundreds of cupcakes later, I have come a long way.  Ashley and I have shared them with as many people as we can and they have gotten some great reviews.

It started with these.  They were a simple vanilla cupcake with vanilla icing that Kaleigh wanted to color red.  They were surprisingly good and when they were gone, I began making more.  Many more.

My mum's birthday came up and I was asked to make a cake.  I knew that was out of my league but thought it would be a good chance to try to replicate my recent cupcake success.  I went all in and made 3 dozen cupcakes.  A dozen vanilla with vanilla, a dozen vanilla with baked in sprinkles topped with sprinkle icing, and a dozen red velvet.  They seemed to be a big hit at the birthday party and it grew my confidence.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I made a pumpkin spice cupcake.  I knew I had to break away from the vanilla & vanilla if I was going to test myself.  This cake was a little dense but I think most pumpkin cakes are.  The icing was spot on.  These were the first batch Ashley took to her work.  They were a hit and got some great reviews.  I kept plugging on...

Breaking Thanksgiving traditions, I made another 3 dozen cupcakes.  I made a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing, a lemon cake with lemon icing, and an vanilla cake with orange cream icing.  The lemon were not a huge hit but I think that lemon in baking is a hit or miss type item for some folks.  The orange was a win though.  They all got eaten.  The peanut butter and chocolate cupcake was the smash winner of all.  They were gone, gone gone.

With the peanut butter iced chocolate cupcakes being such a hit, I wanted to make another batch.  They were quickly becoming my favorite.  Light, fluffy, with a rich peanut butter topping.  I was also still making vanilla cupcakes to make sure I had my recipe memorized and was keeping the basics in my head.  However, it was time to take it up a notch.

I knew I was doing well when Ashley was making requests that would require me to just push the baking door open.  She wanted a streusel cupcake.  I went in on it.  It was a vanilla and cinnmon marble cake topped with a light cinnamon icing and garnished with a crunchy, savory, streusel crumble on top.  These are Ashley's new favorite cupcake.  She took a bunch to work to share and they got glowing reviews.  A few folks even said that they were the best cupcake they ever had.  One co-worker said I should open a bakery.  Pretty encouraging reports to hear as someone who can not bake.  I pressed on...

I went back to see if I could improve my chocolate peanut butter cupcake.  I did.  This was much more sophisticated and decadent.  I made the chocolate more rich while blending chocolate chips into the icing and topping it with chocolate crumbles.  This has been my favorite thus far.  I had another that I wanted to try though.

Strawberry.  It was a monster and gave me trouble.  The cake had strawberry juice as well as strawberry pieces and came out wonderful.  The icing was a beast.  It fell flat and was simply too wet.  However, the favor is wonderful.  This batch showed me that I still have a long way to go in the world of cupcake-ing but I feel confident in my efforts.

In fact, I have volunteered to make several dozen cupcakes for Kaleigh's 2nd grade holiday party!  Back to the kitchen!


Anonymous said...

wow good for you i know i have sampled lots of these and they just get better.

kmouse said...

YUUUUUUMMMMM!!!! Great job they are beautiful. GO Vic GO!

Catherine said...

Try strawberry jam in your strawberry cupcake frosting -- the flavor is more intense, and jam is much thicker/shouldn't change the texture!

Good luck. I bake a ton, but I also follow recipes. :) I leave the testing up to someone else, I guess?