This past Sunday, I attempted something that I have never tried before, ever in my life.
I baked. Cupcakes. From (almost) scratch.
I know, right?!?
If you are well-acquainted with me and my lack of culinary skills, I’ll give you a second to pick yourself up off the floor.
Also, since it’s fall (nevermind that it was an unseasonably warm 87 degrees that day – WTF, St. Louis??), I really really really wanted to make our apartment smell like pumpkins. And simply buying a pumpkin-scented candle is way too easy.
Since I was convinced that this venture would lead to confusion, frustration, personal injury, a catastrophic mess in my kitchen and ultimate failure, I thought I’d document the experience with my trusty camera for your enjoyment. I’m happy to say that, despite my lack of confidence, none of that horrible stuff happened! Except the personal injury. I’ll get to that later.
Of course I started off by making a list (my favorite!) of everything I needed to get at Whole Foods in order to accomplish this project.
Next, I made the trek to Whole Foods, a place I found to be chock-full of delicious, all-natural ingredients and about a hundred million people. But one thing it wasn’t full of was pumpkin puree.
I had a mini temper tantrum in my head and wasn’t completely polite to the worker who informed me that they were out of my key ingredient before heading to another grocery store. It was totally empty and excessively stocked with everything I needed. Which leads me to believe that beneath the floors of Whole Foods, there’s some sort of freakish sci-fi magnet that attracts food-seeking people.
Behold the makings of pumpkin cupcakes:
I’m glad I now have all these baking ingredients in the house – if a neighbor stops by for a cup of sugar, I will NOT be unprepared!
Gatsby came into the kitchen to see what all the commotion was about and looked at me as if to say, “This can’t be a good idea…”
I agreed, but forged ahead.
I used the chair in the corner of the kitchen as my command center, complete with my computer (which provided the recipe and my iTunes playlist), my blackberry (in case of emergencies), and water (it’s important to stay hydrated).
The first step was to sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder (those are different?), blah, blah, blah, you get the point.
Thanks to Google, I now actually know what “sifting” means and I completed it victoriously!
I was also impressed at my foresight to pour the ingredients into the measuring cups over the sink. Otherwise my kitchen counter would have looked like this:
Next, I opened the pumpkin puree with our completely unnecessary but fun electric can opener.
It looked like nasty mushed up baby food.
Once I got my gag reflex under control, I mixed in the eggs and other ingredients and was dismayed to see that the concoction still looked completely gross.
I raised an eyebrow at Gatsby, who continued to watch from 5 feet below, and tried not to let his doubtful expression crush my spirit.
There was no turning back now.
I poured the batter into the cupcake holder thingy, and I was ready to BAKE!
23 minutes later, I reached into the oven to retrieve my little golden masterpieces. In all my excitement, it slipped my mind that ovens are hot, and I totally scalded the side of my arm.
I quickly barked at Gatsby to put on his earmuffs and unleashed a string of obscenities.
Actually, I kind of just said “FUUUUU….eeeee mmmm oooowww” or something like that. Pain makes you do weird things.
But look how well the cupcakes turned out!
Once they cooled, I got out the frosting.
I decided early on that I was NOT going to make maple cream cheese frosting from scratch, as the recipe suggested. Who do they think I am, Betty Crocker? Baby steps, people.
I promptly ate half of the frosting and frosted the cupcakes with the other half.
And then…some Reese’s Pieces for garnish. Because Reese’s Pieces are the greatest treat with a candy shell ever invented and they make everything approximately 10 times better.
I NOW PRESENT TO YOU THE FINAL RESULT!
Please, hold your applause. I can’t hear it and you look stupid.
So that’s the story of my first baking adventure! I’ll probably never do it again.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, they DO taste as good as they look!