A fork in the cake

5 Nov

I’m a disaster in the kitchen.

I can try to blame it on my equipment, or my appliances, or my kitchen as a whole (because regardless of my skill or not, the kitchen truly is pathetic) but it will always boil down to me not being able to follow directions.

Let’s take these for example (recipe here):

They look pretty delish, don’t they? Actually, they were drier than… something that’s really dry, I don’t know. The point is, when this recipe called for 1/2 cup of butter, my dummy self used a whole stick. Which threw the whole thing off, but I didn’t know until after I stuck the pan in the oven. As soon as that door clanked shut, my brain screamed, “OMG YOU FOOL WHY DID YOU USE TOO MUCH BUTTER?!??” and my stomach was all, “The more the merrier, what could go wrong?”

I don’t know much about the science of food (despite watching too much of Good Eats), but all I know is that I came to a fork in the cake: I could under bake or over bake. There was no in between.

I chose to over bake.

They were alright, really. Super dry, but the flavor was nice. I liked the glaze, though it did leave crumbly messes everywhere in the apartment (courtesy of me, Dylan did not touch these, wow, rude, etc.).

So then tonight, nine o’clock rolls around and I’m not feeling particularly like doing any homework. (I just took a grueling astronomy test this morning, can you blame me?) So I decided to use those fresh(ish) blueberries and whip up some muffins!

I used Martha Stewart’s Blueberry Cupcake recipe (I hate her, I love her, I hate her, I love her!) and I attempted the streusel from this recipe (which I am eager to try, by the way). And yeah, don’t worry, I did something stupid to this recipe too.

It calls for softened butter, and I mean, it insists on it. But I don’t do that. I don’t have the forethought to even think about putting out the butter (or the eggs, or the milk, or the cream cheese) to soften. So I decided the set the butter on top of the stove while the oven was pre-heating. Why didn’t anyone go over this with me in high school?

DO NOT DO THAT. The time came for me to use said butter, and said butter was pooled around the whole stove top.

So I used what little butter was left instead – about half of what I was supposed to.

They taste a little tangy and a lot like failure. I’ve never had streusel before but I can tell you it is not meant to taste like that.

Hopefully, they will make a pleasant breakfast. You know, before all of my taste buds are fully awake.


Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes: Halloweenified!

31 Oct

What did the mother ghost say to her kids in the car?

Fasten your sheet belts!


Last night I made Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes (from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, I’m still mad at her though) for Dylan to take to work tonight. I made them last Easter, and a co-worker of his really liked them, so I thought I’d be my generous selfless self and make them again – only this time, Halloween them!

I had extra batter left over so I made six more in a deep muffin tin for Dylan to munch on, as part of his healthy breakfast. I put an extra Oreo in those, and I saw tears when he cut into it.

As for the regular-sized cupcakes he’ll be taking into work:

I got these colored baking cups from Walmart, and I’m really disappointed in them. They are too big for a regular cupcake tin and too small for my giant muffin tin. So when I pour the batter, it ends up all folded and crinkly on the side, instead of smooth and neat. I just hope his co-workers will be too distracted by the taste to notice, lest they mock poor Dylan all night long. “Haha!” they’ll cry, pointing and jeering. “Your baking cups were crinkly!”

People can be so, so cruel.

Once you pop, the pain don’t stop

30 Oct

I spent four hours in battle today. We went in with 24 soliders… and only 12 came out. 6 are still in critical condition. They may not recover.

Of course, I am referring to a disaster in this kitchen this afternoon. Tomorrow is the last day of one of my co-workers, so I attempted these Strawberry Pop Tart Cupcakes as a farewell treat. They did not, I repeat, not turn out as I’d planned. Which was basically the photo from the recipe.

What happened was this: things were going great until I tried to fill the cakes with strawberry preserves. First, the apple corer I was using to create the hole was too big and causing the cake the split open. So I used a straw to punch out a hole, but it was too small to hold anything. Multiple punches left the same effect as the corer, so I just stuck with the corer (and ate all the middles, duh). I had also purchased a bottle – kind of like one of those old-fasioned squeeze ketchup bottles? like the ones Guy Fieri uses to squirt stuff from four feet away? – for the strawberry preserves, to fill up the holes in the cakes.

BUT the Smucker’s preserves were too thick and chunky, and so the preserves wouldn’t squeeze out of the bottle. Instead, I had to spoon the strawberries. That worked fine, really, but it left a massive, gooey mess. (Once you get that strawberry sticky on one thing, it gets on everything. And I mean everything. I actually found some on our cat later tonight, which is totally bizarre since we don’t have a cat.)

Okay, so that was a little hiccup, but I plunged ahead, like a trooper. But this was when the real problems started. For the first time, I was going to use a Martha Stewart pastry bag I’d picked up a Macy’s a month or so ago. The bad part is that her pastry bags are JUNK. Maybe Macy’s found this cloth in a dung heap and threw Martha Stewart’s name on it, I don’t know. I could detail all the faults but it would just leave me in tears. Just know that is was an awful experience, and buttercream soon found it’s place among the strawberry on the table. And the garbage can. And the cat, which, once again, is really, really weird.

This was the very first piped cupcake – what a tease. This gave me hope that this would somehow turn out the way I wanted it to.

But cupcakes lie.

I’m not sure what she went to jail for, but it should have been for her awful pastry bag! I know that was a lame joke, but I wasn’t joking when I thought it as I was piping these monstrosities.

After five more failed attempts at piping, I gave up and smoothed it all over with some good ol’ sprinkles. I topped it off with a slice of Strawberry Pop Tart because for some reason I’m still trying to make these cupcakes look okay.

I’m almost embarrassed to take these to work tomorrow. They just look sloppy and awful. But after four hours in that dinky kitchen, I decided I didn’t even like this co-worker enough anyway. I mean, I definitely don’t like her now.

On the bright side (I know, I know, my life isn’t completely worthless) I did finally find some blueberries at the store last night. I will be baking with those this weekend – even if it means I can’t work on any papers. Probably a good thing, because even if I did write it, it would somehow end up with strawberry goo on it anyway. Just like that cat.

Just like that cat.

When I’m 351,352.3333…

28 Oct

6) You wish to send a satellite to the extrasolar planet that everyone’s been raving about. It is about 20 light years away. Currently, the Voyager I probe is traveling at 3.6 AU per year. This probe is the farthest object from the Sun that we have sent. Assuming our probe to this planet can travel as fast as the Voyager I probe, how long would it take to reach that planet?
Note: You will need conversions that are in the back of your book.
Would you volunteer to travel to that planet?

1 ly = 63,240 AU

20 ly = 1,264,800 AU

1,264,800 AU/3.6 AU = 351,333.3333 years???

And no, I would not volunteer to travel there… unless Dylan came with me and brought lots of cupcakes. With sprinkles. And a treadmill.

The Weekend “Baker”

27 Oct

I have literally done nothing but bake this weekend.

And I misuse “literally” here. I did sleep, I did go to work, and I did go to the store once or twice, but most of my time was spent in my pathetic little “kitchen.” (And I misuse “kitchen” here. It is, in fact, a closet with a sink.)

Friday night Dylan worked until 11, and I was off, so I decided to make him these Chocolate Orange Brownies with Ginger Chocolate Frosting. Truly, I am an angel, because for some freak reason, I loathe chocolate. I can’t even tolerate the scent (which is why the windows were open all night). I pulled them out of the oven early because it was starting to crack pretty badly, and then as I was frosting it all caved in. But that’s all right; it’s chocolate,

who cares?

Clearly, Dylan did not appreciate the brownies either, because he went to the store and bought Oreos. But he did claim to like them.

After work Saturday, I made these Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. This was quite the experience. I’m so lost in the kitchen, I didn’t even know what piping was. So when the recipe called for piped pumpkin cookies, I drew squiggled drizzles on parchment paper for two hours and lamented when they didn’t turn out like the picture. Thankfully, with a little bit of batter left, I figured out what I was supposed to do from the beginning. They were delicious, though, so when I make them again, they will be pretty.


Clearly, this was one of the last pies. You can see the reject cookies in the background. They were not deserving of a photograph. Both the cookies and I would be too embarrassed. 😦

As for tonight… well… I invented:

Puke Pies.

I had big plans for this puppy. This was my third attempt at lemon bars, but this recipe from Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook failed me too. It came out of the oven smelling like dog hair. If that didn’t turn me off, the nasty color sure did.

Ever the brave soul, Dylan did take a bite of this. He said the lemon filling was okay, but the crust was disgusting. How rude. I mean, he could have at least lied!

The plan was to bake the lemon squares into cupcakes, a la Bake It in a Cake. But since the squares were vomit-inducing on smell alone, that idea was scrapped, and these beautiful babies were born: 

I used Martha Stewart’s Blueberry Cupcake recipe (minus blueberries, of course) and this frosting recipe from Pioneer Woman. They tasted really good, but it wouldn’t have mattered, because

they are just so cute!

I made about 20 cupcakes too many (remember, it’s just me and Dylan eating these sweets) so I put some on a plate to deliver to our stupid RA (because I am nice to people, no matter how moronic I think they are). She wasn’t in her apartment, but as I was knocking on the door, cupcakes in hand, some strange man walked up and asked what I was doing. Uh, *obviously* I am delivering cupcakes. I guess he’s an RA in another building, and he said she was working the front desk in another dorm, and he would deliver them to her. And then he attempted to make small talk, for like, thirty seconds. And it was as awkward as it sounds.

I just really hope I get that plate back.

The escape velocity of sugar on Ganymede

20 Oct

I tried this Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Cupcakes recipe tonight and not only were they super easy to make, they were

magically delicious!

I watched Dylan eat three in the span of four seconds. He almost snorted one before I intervened.

These were a great alternative to astronomy homework, Dr. Reed. I knew you’d understand.

Polite Life and Etiquette

17 Oct

I work at a fairly large library in town, and next week we are hosting our  bi-annual book sale. It’s always really massive, and draws a huge crowd. Last spring the library district made like, $125,000. Not too shabby. I work in circulation, which means I come across a lot of the books that people donate for the sale. This gem came in yesterday afternoon.

It’s dated 1891 and it’s in pretty good condition, considering. My sociology teacher collects etiquette books (I know, that’s weird) so I snagged it to give to him. I think I flunked that midterm, so this could only help me. 😉

It’s a really cool old book. It says the polite way to break off an engagement is through letter. That might have been acceptable in the 19th century, but I don’t think that would fly today. “sry i have met sum1 new can i keep teh ring???”

The copy I have is actually on Google Books as well.