Thursday, September 15, 2005

Cupcake Anxiety

Cupcake Freak-Out has begun. When your name is Cupcake and you help organize a Bake Sale, everyone will ask, "What are you baking? Cupcakes, right? I can't wait to try your cupcakes!!" Now, perhaps I should have been cleared from the beginning. I created a blog and thus a persona devoted to my love of eating cupcakes, not baking them. Don't get me wrong. I can pop out Duncan Hines cupcakes till the cows come home, including Funfetti, which, yes, LaHipster, I too totally adore. But once you position yourself as "Cupcake" you know that people are going to be expecting a little bit more.

So, harnessing the power of the Cupcake Mafia, the first thing I did was ask expert cupcake baker Chockylit for an easy cupcake recipie. I wanted to bake the cake and make my own buttercream icing from scratch but I have about 40% confidence in my ability to do so. Chockylit, who frequently makes things like lavender infused cupcakes, responded with the recipie for the Devil's Food Cupcake pictured above, which you can find on her blog. Okay, now I had something to focus on.

After a long, tiring day of work yesterday I went to Target. I have misplaced my muffin tins. I had plentiful muffin tins, battered, well-worn, inherited from my mother, but considering the number of times I have moved since 2003 these tins could be anywhere from Rhode Island to Brooklyn to the Upper West Side. So the first thing I had to do was go out and buy muffin tins. I had dreams of buying the new, fancy silicone muffin cups, and indeed Target had these in a really sexy red color for $29.99 for a 12 cup pan. Did I mention that I am particularly broke at the moment? So, although it broke my heart, I bought two cheap 12 cup muffin pans and a new cooling rack. Then, way up on the top shelf I saw this: a convertable cake transporter with a pop-in attachment to carry 12 cupcakes or 24 mini cupcakes. Price: $34.99.

Now, the idea of how I am going to get my lovely little cupcakes to the Bake Sale in pristine condition is something that keeps me up at night. The cupcakes have to go about 6 or 7 city blocks. This seemed perfect. Plus, I knew that if I showed up with my cupcakes in this little cupcake transporter the other women at the Bake Sale would know that I was serious. That I am a crazy baking fool to be reckoned with. Clearly, I wanted this. But, I really don't have $34.99 to spend on odd Tupperware accessories and besides, it only holds 12 cupcakes? Do you know how many trips I'd have to make? Also, I really don't have space in my little apartment to store unnecessary kitchen acoutrements to soothe the gland in my brain that secretes what alpha female hormones that Prozac hasn't killed. So I kept walking.

I went downstairs to the food section to see if they had any pastry piping bags in the baking section. You may think the prospect that they would carry this at Target were poor, but I assure you, the chance that I could find such a thing at my corner bodega is even slimmer. Of course, there were no icing bags and now I was starting to freak out. I was trying to decide how I wanted to decorate the cupcakes. As my LittleBrother said in an email to me the other day (unrelated topic) "Go flashy, or go home." I thought that since they were Devil's Food, I could call them "Cupcake's Little Devils", perhaps making the mini version and topping with Red Hots. Red Hots could not be found in Target! Sweet Tarts, sure. Jelly Bellys came in three different mixes. Then I thought about doing something with marshmellows to conjure up a Devil Dog image. I thought about putting marshmellows or marshmellow Fluff inside the cupcake, but really I do not want to fuck with Chockylit's recipie, not this close to showtime. Then I thought, what? A Hershey Kiss on top? A few Reeses Pieces? At home I have white non-pareils, and multi-colored coarse sugar. Does anyone have any ideas? Any cake transport ideas??

You can bet as soon as I post this I'll be sending an email to all of my friends in Brooklyn asking if they can come over and keep me company while I bake this weekend, not because I necessarily need baking expertise from them (Mondo is so weary of her oven, she cooks meat in her Toaster Oven), but I have a feeling I am going to need people around me to remind me to chill the fuck out. Say it with me: this is a charity bake sale. This is a charity bake sale. This is a charity bake sale...


rachel said...

o fire captain, my fire captain, you can do it! charity schmarity. cupcakes = success, and that's what truly matters.

i've taken up knitting again. can we start a support group? i'm pretty sure i only remember how to make really long scarves. help me expand to hats, gloves and arm warmers!

Addie said...

use ziploc bags for piping bags, just cut the tip off one of the bottom corners

mondo said...

my little cupcake. i am sad to annouce (and you will be relieved to hear) i set the toaster over on fire sometime back in november. my salad now had tofu in it instead of chicken. sad, but i digress. the point of this long message is to say, if you want company, you got company. and maybe some wine will happen to find its way over.

topping suggestion: crushed prozac.


Cupcake said...

Addie, thanks for the tip. I have some piping tips from other projects so this should do. I just have to cut the slip slim enough so the tip doesn't slip through.

Sir-Greggs-a-Lott, nothing like the lonliness of moving to a new city to get you back into knitting. When I first moved to New York, I popped out a toddler sized cardigan, the likes of which I have not been able to replicate. If you would only move to Brooklyn, I'd have you making hats in no time.

Mondo, I was only concerned for you, because toaster meat seemed so scary. You have been drafted. Report for duty sometime on Saturday. Not too early, of course. Someday we'll bake Big Girl cupcakes with tranquilizers in them. Now that's what I call, "Chocolate Blackout".

bbrug said...

Yeah, what Addie said. I have a fancy schmancy reusable fabric piping bag (Wunderb├Ąg! made in Germany, of course), but I never use it because it's a bitch to clean. Five times out of ten I just use a plastic veggie bag and throw it out when I'm done. The other five times out of ten I say "to hell with piping" and use an offset spatula instead. Life's is short.

As for decorations, not that I think it matters--I mean, as long as there are cupcakes of any kind around, there will be people like me to covet them--I'd probably browse the bulk section at Sahadi. Surely there's some pleasing candy- or nut- or fruit-type thing there, real cheap, that would look elegant stuck on a cupcake. A piece of candied orange peel would be classy, for example; or a lone toasted hazelnut. Malted milk balls would be excellent. Me, I like to put seven-minute boiled frosting (white, fluffy) and coconut on my devil's food cake.

Now, what am I gonna make?

Cupcake Queen said...

Cupcake: I made a similar cupcake this week, called Chocolate's actually pretty easy to put the marshmallow in the cupcake. You can make the marshmallow yourself or buy a jar to do this. When the cupcakes are cooled, use a spoon to take a small amount of of the center of the cupcake. Get a food storage bag..ziplock type..and fill it with the marshmallow and seal the bag up. Cut a small hole in one of the lower corners of the bag...just a small slant you have a pastry bag. Squirt the marshmallow into the center of the cupcake and smack the top of the piece you cut out on top of the hole. Then put some frosting on it. It was so easy, but I was nervous at first too. There a photo of my cupcake cut in half here.

good luck and I know you'll do great!!

Cupcake said...

First of all, I am honored that the Queen of Cupcakes dropped by. Do you know who this is, people? She is big news in the cupcake blog world. I think I will try filling my cupcakes with marshmellow. I'll be using Fluff, since I have no idea how to make homemade marshmellow. Presumably a bicycle pump is involved.

bburg, what is this Sahadi's that you speak of? And seven-minute boiled frosting? Clearly I have much to learn from you. I should apprentice myself to you, but I seem to recall you live in Williamsburg and that is just so damn inconvienient to get to.

bbrug said...

Bah! To Williamsburg I don't go. I live down in Carroll Gardens, with the Italians.

"what is this Sahadi's that you speak of?"!?!?

My dear, it's, like, the most wonderful place. It's a kind of all-purpose gourmet and Middle Eastern and spice store. The right-hand room has canned/jarred goods, bread, Turkish delight, baking supplies, oils and vinegars, pasta, cheeses, salamis, crackers, cookies, and extra-buttery butters. The left-hand room is mainly a bulk station where you take a number and wait to have a saucy man--usually one with a moustache--measure out your olives or spices or nuts or candies or whatever else it is you crave. In the aisles linking the two storefronts are cookies, cocoa, teas, jams, and smoked fish. On the far left are fridge and freezer cases full of Middle Eastern dairy products, frozen phyllo and phyllo derivatives, and slightly odd beverages. In the back is a deli counter with pastries, salads, spreads, and other prepared foods.

It is practically the only place to get shelled pecans during the holiday season.

They sell baking chocolate by the ten-pound bar, if you ask.

All this, and much, much more!

Atlantic Avenue between Court and Clinton. Closed on Sunday, unfortunately. Prices are good on some things, very good on others. The line is long but pretty fast-moving. The owner (at least, I assume he's the owner) is amusing and usually works one of the cash registers.