Cupcake Hell


That’s where I’ve been for the past few days.

I got it into my head that I was going to start a cupcake business. I was thinking it would be something where people would place orders for parties or whatever and I’d make like 300 beautifully iced cupcakes and deliver them in cutesy boxes. Then people would oooh and ahhh over how adorable and intricately decorated and, of course, delicious my fabulous cupcakes are, leading to more and more cupcake orders. And after a few orders, I would have so much business, I’d be a wealthy (and very busy) woman. Genius!  Only issues is, I don’t really have any baking or cake decorating experience.  But what the hell, how hard can it be?

So my friend’s sister’s birthday party?  The one where she asked for my help with some cupcakes?  That was going to be the perfect debut for my budding cupcake empire.

I scoffed at the idea of baking from a (*gasp*) box.  I insisted on finding recipes and baking everything from scratch.  Then, I felt that a plain, iced cupcake was way too boring.  My cupcakes needed a filling.  I thought maybe a chocolate ganache or some caramel would be lovely.  I should mention that, quite often, my imagination completely takes over and execution and logistics can be damned.  I told my poor husband my plans, and he just looked at me sadly.  He’s a cook by profession and knew exactly what I was getting myself into.  He knows that I typically lose steam about halfway through the project (and certainly well before the big clean-up has to happen).  He also knew if he were to discourage me, my reaction would have been, shall we say, unpleasant.  The final thing he knew was, his day off?  It would be spent on his own with our two-year old twins because mommy would be busy destroying our already clusterfuck of a kitchen.  And then there would be the mess I’d inevitably leave behind…Oh, did I mention we don’t even have a dishwasher?

I woke up yesterday morning at 7 am, brimming with excitement to start my project.  The plan was for me to bake the cupcakes during the day while my friend was at work.  Then, I’d bring the cupcakes to her and we’d ice and decorate them together.   But I totally thought I’d be doing the decorating while she sat off to the side, awed by my creative genius.  I am so dumb.

So, I got back from the grocery store around 11 am (I’d forgotten some ingredients and gotten the wrong kind of butter) and got started.  Actually, I taped the recipes to the cabinets, then paced around my kitchen, wondering where to start.  I decided to do the chocolate cupcakes, because I had to pick something.

Five hours later, I had 95 cupcakes (I ate one) and about 24 minis.  Most of them had been filled with ganache, because the caramel had been a little messy.  I had washed the dishes, bowls, pans, spoons, spatulas, etc. at least forty separate times.  And there was still a sink full of dishes.   By the time I was supposed to be getting everything ready to decorate, I was completely disenchanted with the whole thing.  My cupcake empire was seeming more like, welljust look at the title of this post.

But I’d made a commitment, so instead of climbing into the shower and then flopping my ass on the couch for the rest of the evening, I changed into some comfy gym clothes and headed over to get started.  After some procrastination, a salad and some wine, I started making the icing.

Butter cream icing is the messiest, stickiest, most disgusting thing to be dealing with.  It’s somehow greasy and sticky at the same time.  Add food coloring to it and it’s even more difficult to clean up.  And it was everywhere.  We fell into a system where I iced and she decorated with the toppings (gold sugar and feathers – eww).  We were having a good time, but that kitchen had seen better days.  Sometime around midnight, the cupcakes were finally done and we wiped the last bit of powdered sugar off the black granite counter tops.

I was pleased with the finished product.  The cupcakes tasted good and she did a really nice job decorating them, though I personally wouldn’t have done feathers.  They looked cool, but I’m a firm believer in not using anything to decorate food that can’t actually be eaten.  Feathers are like bird hair, right?  That’s not appetizing to me.  But hey, it’s her party, so I do what I’m told.  As far as my future in the cupcake industry, let’s just say I have a ways to go before I’m offered a show on the Food Network.  Unless it’s a show about a completely disorganized ameteur who, after reading baking/cooking blogs, attempts to bake things way beyond her experience level and winds up making just okay cupcakes and a giant mess.  Is there a show like that?  Maybe there should be…hmm.  But as for my little business idea?  Um, no.  I could never do that every day.  I don’t think I even want to look at another cupcake for a very long time.


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