every day is an opportunity to learn new things, and we are constantly faced with challenging situations that do not always work out the best. in the past week, i have learned many lessons… some easy, some hard… some that will have a big impact on my life, some that were comical. in the end though, at least there were cupcakes. and now, for your learnin’ pleasure, this week’s lessons:
- when making a new recipe that is quite different than the previous ones, read it over carefully and do not put the batter/dough in the oven until all ingredients on your counter have been used and put away
- graham cupcakes without sugar taste kinda like cornbread
- licking peanut butter off your finger is a bad idea when there is also margarine on there. margarine that is not on anything doesn’t taste good
- proceeding to lick the knife after that is also a bad idea
- never feel pressured to do a favor for someone that you don’t think you can handle; it almost never ends well (not the cupcakes…the cat)
- when grouting tile with indents or natural tile, carefully only get the grout in the seams rather than smearing like you would with smooth porcelain tile
- using a heavy metal bar to rip up a subfloor with tile still on it will generate enough force to go through a metal tub
- if you plan on buying a whole lot of stuff at home depot, take two cars… unless you want to end up sitting on a folded down seat with one foot in the door well and your face in the driver’s headrest
- my parents rule (okay that was one i learned long ago, but they have been busting their asses for me all week)
- some of my employees really don’t follow directions well, or understand consequences, and my boss is really good at making me look bad
- despite being linked to by CBS, HuffPo, Ergotron, etc, my fitness site just can’t come close to competing with the number of hits nor google reader subscriptions on this here baking site (thank you for the love on here!!! you foodies are awesome!)
- many more, but i don’t want to keep you from the cupcakes any longer!
you have heard me mention my friend danielle, a fellow foodie blogger, many times, and this week was her 25th birthday. although 25 doesn’t get you any new privileges other than easier car rental, i remember it feeling fairly important without being as intimidating or causing as much reflection as 30. i wanted to make her something special and was having a really tough time narrowing it down, then something magical happened– she tweeted that there was a cupcake recipe that she really wanted to make but didn’t have the energy to do so. i wasn’t sure i did either, but i figured i would give it a whirl since it didn’t involve leaving the house.
i put all the ingredients on the counter and followed the oddly ordered steps. putting the butter into the dry ingredients really threw me off– most recipes start out with whisking the dry ingredients together in a bowl, creaming the butter and sugar, then adding eggs and vanilla, and finally slowly adding in the dry ingredients. sometime it has you alternate the other wet ingredients (like milk) and dry ingredients, and sometimes there are things to add after the dry (like chocolate chips), but the butter almost always gets creamed first. i am not using this as an excuse… i definitely should have realized that i forgot to put the sugar in when it was the only thing remaining on my counter, but i was so used to it being the first thing that i figured i had left it out for another step. nope. the first batch looked like this (pardon the camera phone shot), and tasted kinda like a corn muffin:
this was not at all what i was going for. i debated giving up, but after the verbal beating i had taken from a friend’s sister who i had done a HUGE favor for by taking in her cat (which went unappreciated), and then a rough day at work, i needed a win. back to work i went, making sure the sugar went in this time. the cupcakes came out looking much more cupcake-y this time. i didn’t have any heavy cream so i made the ganache with semi-sweet chips and a splash of almond milk; i would have added some butter but didn’t want to start a fresh stick for a small amount. the fluff filling is not one i will be using again, as the cream cheese dulled the amazing taste of straight up fluff, or fluff with a little bit of shortening/butter and confectioner’s sugar to turn it into something that can be easily piped– as you can see in the pictures, it was quite flat and started to spread. i got a text from danielle’s fiance that he was falling asleep so i didn’t have time to work out the icing issues. i instructed him to put them in the fridge for a bit, which was good for the icing, but bad for the cupcake and filling. these cupcakes as a whole were well received, but the filling was not the right consistency, and the cupcake itself was a bit bland since it was cold. if you decide to make this, i very much recommend keeping them at room temperature, and maybe even swapping out 1/4 cup of flour for more graham crumbs or sprinkling crushed graham cracker in with the filling, or on top. heck, if i made these again, i would top it with an actual s’mores– graham cracker, hershey, and marshmallow!
oh, and here are the fruits of the remodeling labor:
Graham Cracker Cake
1 cup flour
½ cup graham cracker crumbs
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 stick butter, room temp.
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup milk
Mix flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. Beat in butter gradually.Beat in sugar and mi thoroughly. Beat in eggs, then vanilla and milk until just mixed.Pour into lined cupcake pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until toothpickcomes out almost clean.
Fluffy Cream Cheese Filling
4 oz. cream cheese
½ stick of butter, room temp
1 jar marshmallow fluff
1 tsp vanilla
Directions: Mix together cream cheese and butter until well blended. Add fluff and vanilla andbeat until smooth. Use a knife to cut a cone shape from the top of the cupcake. Trimthe bottom, fill the hole with filling, and cover with remainder. Then frost.
Use your favorite ganache…as noted above I was so tired that I just used chocolate chips with a splash of milk
(title photo taken by andy gapin, danielle’s fiance, since i was in such a rush)
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