Wow, 300 posts in just under a year? I never thought I’d write that much.
Anyway, today was cold, wet, and dark, and Aaron has been very busy with final rehearsals for MacBeth this week (tonight is opening night), so I was on my own with Cordy for today and tonight. Finding ourselves trapped inside and running out of ideas, I called my friend L., she brought her son over, and we baked cupcakes.
Yeah – baked cupcakes. Did I ever mention I’m rather domestically challenged? But I got these great Fun Shapes baking tins (more on that can be found here), and I was dying to try them out. Warm chocolate cupcakes on a cold day sounded like the perfect remedy for the blahs.
First came buying the cake mix. I took Cordy to the grocery, where she became very attached to the box of cake mix. Seriously, when I tried to check out, and had to pry the box out of her hands, the entire store could hear her wailing, “Nooooooo!! Caaaaaake!!! Caaaaaakke!” Of course, knowing little about baking, it wasn’t until the checkout line when I glanced at the back of the box and realized I needed eggs for the mix. What? This isn’t a complete mix? So I trudged to the back of the store again and got a six pack.
Once home, we got to work. Dumped the mix into a bowl, along with eggs, water, and oil. My friend L. then asked, “Do you have a mixer?” Uh, no, I don’t think so. “A whisk?” Nope. But I did have a wooden spoon, so I started stirring the mix (after picking out some egg shell that got into the bowl…sigh).
After several minutes of stirring, it still looked pretty lumpy. “Let me see if I have something else to stir with,” I said, looking in my cabinets for some miracle. And just then, the miracle appeared: I looked in one cabinet, and suddenly noticed an electric hand mixer. Where did that come from? I don’t remember ever purchasing a mixer, or ever putting it in that cabinet. But there it was, just begging to be used. It was still sealed in the box, too.
So I pulled out the mixer, which made the job much easier.
After the mix was smooth, we scooped the mixture into the cups. I had no idea how full to fill them, but figured there was probably going to be some expansion, so settled on about half-full. We used three of the heart shapes, and 17 ghost shapes, since Halloween is just around the corner. Once filled, into the oven.
When the timer went off, L. asked if I had any toothpicks to check if they were done. Toothpicks? She apparently thinks I keep a stocked kitchen or something. I dug through a drawer and found a pair of bamboo chopsticks. Close enough, I thought. They were done, and so we took them out to cool, while fighting back two toddlers who wanted to see what we were spending so much time on. (And two toddlers who don’t yet understand “No! Hot!”)
Frosting was next. Again, I’m clearly no Martha Stewart here, because they didn’t look like anything I’d seen in pictures. But they were white ghosts. However, without any facial features, they sorta looked like white blobs.
L. asked, “Do you have any cake decorating supplies? Or candies we could cut up and use as eyes?” I laughed. If I didn’t have toothpicks, I sure as hell didn’t have cake decorating supplies. But digging through my tiny stash of baking supplies (a bottle of vegetable oil, some now-solid brown sugar, baking soda, and some dried herbs) I found my mom had also at some point brought up some of her old cookie-making supplies. (Maybe she snuck in the mixer, too?) I found some sprinkles (not useful), colored sugar (still not helpful), and an old set of food coloring.
Now, when I say old, I mean old, as in, I think we used it to make the icing for cookies when I was a kid. The text on the box was faded, and it had one of the old-style price stickers on it. But hey, red dye #4 never goes bad, right? I tried applying the dye directly to a cupcake to make eyes, but that resulted in a giant red blob.
So I grabbed that bamboo chopstick again, poured a little red coloring in a small dish, dipped the chopstick in the dye, and then used it to make little ghost eyes and a mouth. Success!