Monday, September 05, 2011

Relax, Cupcake!

Kirk's Cupcake
So, this is not actually a picture of my husband. It's not far off, though.

I know this will come as a shock to all of you, but Husband and I are pretty big in the Star Trek geek department. One of us writes fanfic, one of us plays STO, and between the both of us, we could tell you just about anything from TOS to the most recent movie.

There's nothing sexier than a big nerdy guy who's trained in take-down techniques and knows what you mean when you say your gaming group is going to be on an Akira-class ship in the new Trek campaign. Yeah, that's nerdiness to the nth degree, I tell you what.

My Cupcake
This is Husband. You'll note he's got more hair up top. I kinda miss the beard, which he has since shaved off. sigh What a handsome guy.

Anyway, enough of that nonsense. The stress that always comes this time of year when school starts and there are a hundred different things gearing up has finally begun to subside. It's also the middle of Birthdaypalooza here at the house, mine having just passed, the little one's being tomorrow, and the big man's coming up in October.

Making cake is fun and it's not often that I decide to really do it up bigtime. Really, Chekov/Sulu-related fic fests and Bubby's birthday are about it. Now, I'm not a gourmet cupcake-making person, I don't have much in the way of specialty equipment, but my artist's heart likes to come out and play with color, no matter what the medium may be.

We started with Pillsbury "Funfetti" cake batter because that's what she wanted and then dropped in some food coloring until it was just the right shade of pale blue-green. Now, I never can get quite two dozen out of a box mix and, being that there are 21 kids in her class and her teacher deserves a cupcake, too, I had to make the full two dozen. I ended up cracking open my trusty Joy of Cooking and flipped to a quickie cake recipe. In this case, "quickie" means that we used the 'lectric mixer. Y'know, like "quickie" mashed potatoes.

With food, it can be good or it can be fast. Rarely is it both.

Anyway, I whipped that up and voilá! More than enough batter! I actually made sixteen more cupcakes than were needed. They were slightly flatter than their box-cake counter parts, but that could have been easily fixed. I think I was a little batter-stingy toward the end, there. I'm particularly pleased that when I tried one of the surplus, it was soft and fluffy and cake-like where my previous homemade cake attempts had been...

...dense.

Birthday Cupcakes

Those are cupcake-flavored goldfish on the top and I was quite pleased how the combination of blue and green decorating spray made a lovely sea green/ocean blue. That stuff is amazing and I feel like a dang genius.

In the interest of full disclosure, Little Bit did most of the box-cake mixing and baking, reading the instructions, measuring, and putting the first batch in the oven. The only thing I did was mix while she very carefully added food coloring and measure out batter into cups. Bedtime came before decorating time, but she could have done all of this herself. I'm proud of how self-sufficient she is becoming and while baking cupcakes isn't an essential life skill, knowing how to read and interpret recipe directions (or any kind of directions) is. With these tools, I don't have to worry whether she'll be able to feed herself good food when she grows up. Whether she chooses to is another matter; at least she'll be able to.

Today has been quite relaxing, as was yesterday. I actually spent some time on the Echo Flowers shawl (which Little Bit is convinced is going to be hers) and carding and spinning some hand-dyed wool. It's beet/curry flavored, which makes for an exciting orangey color. I'm a little excited to try out some cream of tartar/alum mordant for my next batch involving some shriveled-up beets in my crisper. I had intended to try to make a further dent in the llama, but did this instead. I needed the break.

I needed the break from school and from all the responsibilities that seem to pile up quicker than compost at a commune and I had that opportunity today. I hope this will allow me to face the coming weeks with renewed strength. I think it will.
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