30 Days of Creativity: Day 8


Today is a little deviation on the creativity theme.  Instead of pictures being the focus of today’s blog, it’s actually the cupcakes.  (The pictures are rather terrible and I’m not editing them.)  One might argue that there isn’t much creativity in these cupcakes, since I succumbed to using a box cake mix.  Honestly, I was more interested in trying to imagine how the flavors would come together than in making a cake from scratch.  Besides, I wanted chocolate cake, and it’s so difficult to find a good chocolate cake recipe that doesn’t involve actually melting chocolate.  If anyone is willing to share a chocolate cake recipe, I would be grateful!

Mistake #1: I used a sugar free cake mix.  I’ve made some great cakes that are reduced sugar and the mix itself isn’t bad, but wasn’t going to work for this application.  I blindly grabbed the sugar free mix while strolling down the market isle because I hadn’t put the forethought into how the texture would relate to my idea of putting pudding in the middle of the cupcake.  Basically, this mix is too dry, despite the use of oil, so it crumbles very easily.

Mistake #2: I also used sugar free instant pudding.  All of this sugar-free starting material with a sugar-full frosting makes the ensemble taste lopsided.  I’m also wondering in retrospect, if instant pudding is the right way to go.  It doesn’t have the same texture as cooked pudding.  I wonder if a pudding cup would have worked better.  Some of those don’t even need to be refrigerated.

Mistake #3: In making the buttercream frosting, I used a variation of the Wilton icing recipe, which uses mostly butter but a bit of shortening to keep form.  This would be fine normally, because the shortening helps to retain the frosting shape at room temperature.  But these are cupcakes with pudding inside, so they need to be refrigerated.  The shortening solidifies too much and when you bite into a cupcake, all the frosting comes off in one piece.

Mistake #4: There’s no real flavor to the frosting other than the standard amount of vanilla used.  I did this intentionally because I didn’t want the frosting flavor to overpower the pudding.  Unfortunately, neither tasted very vanilla-y and they didn’t go together really well. 😦

Well, there’s some lessons learned in this process, but overall, I still think I had a creative starting idea.  I did manage to actually get filling into the cupcakes, which didn’t happen last time I tried filling cupcakes.  So I am going to give myself a couple of points in creativity for attempting such a project.  I sure have a long way to go before I enter Cupcake Wars! 😉

My version of a buttercream icing piped onto cupcakes


Vanilla pudding filling

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Remodeling: Day 1

I had pre-remodeling jitters all day yesterday.  I was going to write but ended up making cupcakes instead.  (Yes! I can do this now with a minimal amount of assistance! It was only a 1/2 batch anyway.) Baking is soothing to me.  It’s not stressful like cooking.  It is precise and straightforward, you get to take a break while the stuff is in the oven, and there’s something yummy with sugar when you are done.  It might even look pretty too.

One of my first attempts at piped frosting

It wasn’t as relaxing as usual because I couldn’t find my regular recipe book so I had to pull a new recipe off the internet, which I then proceeded to screw up by creaming the sugar with the butter instead of creaming the butter alone first.  Furthermore, I put in both eggs instead of one at a time, but this really isn’t such a big deal I don’t think.  The vanilla went in at the wrong time too.  When the batter was done, it was way too thick, so I thinned it out a bit with extra milk.  Finally, it only made a dozen cupcakes so I had to cut the frosting recipe in half.  I put too much almond extract into the frosting and it’s overwhelming.  I think the cake is a little too dense and a touch dry – maybe overdone a little by a minute or two.  It still hits the sweet spot craving.

So anyway, we decided that we can’t decide between the door pulls and we aren’t 100% convinced on the tile.  It’s easier to match tile to the countertop than vice-versa since the countertops with be concrete and a one-of-a-kind type of thing.  Since they were closed today, we have to go tomorrow to look at the tile shop. The one tile I had posted in Estimate is nice but there is something about the combination that is just a little bit “off”.  I can’t put my finger on it but it’s there.  Do you know what I mean?

Today, the contractors were running a bit late because their previous job ran over, but this trip didn’t last long.  They tried taking out the tile and it was so stuck to the sheetrock that it started coming off too!  So they can’t remove the old tile like normal.  The tile guys have to come in and cut out the sheetrock with the tile stuck to it then re-sheetrock the entire area.  Just a quick shot to show you all the fun:

Tiles reluctant to leave

No remodel without stumbling blocks, right?  Well, we got all excited to do the fireplace too except that estimate came in at $656.  If we tile the face of the fireplace instead of concreting it, then we can knock about $100-$120 off that price.  Basically, I’m waiting for the lighting parts estimate so I can figure our totals.   I might just have them do the cheaper tile option.  I hate to leave the fireplace looking so crappy when everything else will look so nice.  (Of course, the cabinets in the kitchen are still going to look crappy too, but they will cost us ~$2500-$3000 to have redone so not happening now.)  Everything adds up so quickly!!!

My head is spinning.  I can’t even begin to think of all the other things I need to be doing!  I just want to eat Nutella out of the jar and watch TV the rest of the day.  I really wish I could have a few rounds of tequila, but I can’t.  Klonopin is not enough today.  😦