I’ve been seriously lacking in baking mojo recently. Which is not to say that I haven’t been baking, but which is to say that I haven’t been doing it with a whole lot of zeal or the desire to really talk about. But now I have a major baking project ahead of me that has me excited and will hopefully help break me out of my funk.
My friend is pregnant and another friend has started to plan a baby shower for the first weekend in November. I was asked to bring a cake. (Or I volunteered. I’m not really sure. Basically, I said, “I’ll bring dessert.” And my friend said, “Yeah, I kinda assumed.”) Anyway, there should be a good number of people there–more than a standard round layer cake will feed. And since aesthetics are not my strong point, if I tried my hand at decorating a large sheet cake it would definitely turn out to be something worthy of Cake Wrecks. Plus, I just don’t have the patience. So I’ve opted for cupcakes instead, figuring that a few sprinkles and the fact that they’re tiny will be good enough on the cute front. But because I’m not one to leave well enough alone, I’ve also decided to make multiple flavors–three to be exact–in order to accommodate party-goers various tastes.
(That’s kind of a lie. My dilemma really came down to two people–my pregnant friend who loves chocolate and another friend who hates it. I like them both, so I wanted to have a chocolate and non-chocolate option. But only making two kinds of cupcakes seemed weird. I was called by the power of three. And, perhaps, by a weird desire to challenge myself to achieve a higher level of baking awesome.)
I am smart enough to realize that it would be insane to make, frost, and decorate all of the cupcakes right before the shower. Especially since Aidan and I will be out of town for two days before the shower celebrating his birthday at the Baseball Hall of Fame. So my big plan is to make the cupcakes ahead of time, freeze them, and then decorate them the day of the shower.
We went grocery shopping and I picked up all the goods to get started on Project Cupcake Madness. I’m going to make double chocolate, red velvet with cream cheese frosting, and a basic yellow cupcake filled with lemon curd and topped with lemon butter cream.
Aidan found these little monkey baking cups, which I think are baby shower appropriate without beating you over the head with pastels or stupid pictures of ducks or diaper pins or whatever other kinds of things often afflict traditional baby shower decorations. These Reynolds baking cups claim that the design on the cups will stay bright and not fade as the cupcakes bake. I am skeptical, but we will see.
Now I just have to figure out how I want to decorate the tops of the cupcakes, how I am going to actually transport them all to the shower, and who I can outsource freezer space from because there’s no room here for 5-6 dozen cupcakes. It’d be a cake avalanche every time we opened the freezer.
I admit that I generally feel ambivalent about cupcakes. They can be a little too cutesy for my tastes. A lot of the pictures of cupcakes I see around remind me of scrapbooking and Martha Stewart, which makes my nostrils flare. But I’m really excited about the cupcake madness, which might be a sign that I’m learning to deal with my elitism. Or that I just thrive on stupid challenges. Who can tell?
I also bought this giant can of pumpkin while we were shopping. I have no idea what I will do with it, besides the fact that I feel no desire for pumpkin pie. But I need a really good pumpkin dessert that I can eat with the pumpkin ale that also found it’s way into our cart. Tricky beer.
Stay tuned for cupcakes galore . . .