Chocolate cupcakes, as far as the eye can see…

I had overly ambitious plans for myself this weekend: chocolate cupcakes for an order for a Christmas party and to bring in to work, macarons, crème brûlée, and I really wanted to make an edible Christmas tree out of frosting.  Not a big one, maybe 5-6″ or so.  I know, pretty modest dreams, right?  

I intended to get a start on this Friday night and bake all the cupcakes, but I didn’t feel so hot and needed sleep.  Bright and early Saturday morning, I got up and cleared out the kitchen counters so I could make an even bigger mess.  I’ve learned several things from this weekend’s baking episode: 
1) My KitchenAid monster can handle over 3 batches of cake mix, which translates to approximately 5 dozen regular cupcakes and 10 dozen mini cupcakes; 
2) I’m completely in the zone when I’m baking. Don’t sneak up on me or I’ll have a heart attack.  I didn’t hear Vin behind me while I was measuring ingredients and when he said, “How’s it going?” I almost screamed/fainted/spilled milk everywhere; 
3) I’ve realized I get a little nervous and antsy when there is less than 3 pounds of butter in my fridge or freezer @ all times.  This worries me for some reason.  Luckily, Stop & Shop had butter on sale and I stocked up and the world is @ peace again… for now;
4) Now that I have all the basic supplies I need, I think I have this thing down to a science; trays went in and out of the oven in an efficient, orderly, military-like fashion and I’m so awesome @ filling cupcake liners now that not a smudge of batter dripped onto the cake trays.  None. Nada. Zip.  Those babies stayed spotless during my baking frenzy and as silly as it sounds, I’m damned proud about this feat because my equipment will stay nicer longer… plus, I don’t have to spend all this time cleaning and scraping the burnt crud off the trays.  haha 

So the request was for chocolate cupcakes with peppermint frosting and crushed candy cane topping.  I honestly was worried that the frosting would end up tasting like toothpaste (kinda gross to eat), but Mr. Taste Tester said it was fine.  I ended up baking exactly 128 mini and 60 regular chocolate cupcakes that were pretty darn light and fluffy.  My only concern was the food coloring; once I added the red (two containers worth), I noticed a tinge of bitterness, but eaten with the cake and peppermint candy… it came out all right.  Initially, these were going to be topped with chopped candy canes but I was worried they’d crack everyone’s teeth, so I took out the Ninja Master Prep Professional Blender, Chopper and Ice Crusher and processed the hard candies into a powdery dust.  These ended up tasting and looking pretty good!

Bringing these into the office…
I only needed about 3 dozen for the Christmas party order.  The reason I made so many extra ones?  I’m giving them out on Monday as “thank you” gifts for my co-workers.  I won’t get into specifics about my day job, but I kind of-sometimes-occasionally-possibly, um… harass people for reports and information all day.  And I’m actually a really sweet and funny girl, but when it comes to work, I will hound you down and call and email and bug you until the job’s done and done well, dammit.  These cupcakes are my way of saying “Thank you SO much for all the help you’ve given in the past year and hopefully I won’t be @ the top of your sh*tlist for 2011!”  As you can see, I’ve bugged a lot of people.  I may have to bring in more on Tuesday…  =P

I think the crème brûlée and macarons will have to wait for tomorrow… plus, on Wednesday I have to bake again for another Christmas order: Raspberry frosting-filled chocolate cupcakes!

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