Cupcake Wisdom

By on January 10th, 2008 . Filed under: Other .
If anyone has noticed, sadly, my contribution to this beautiful, delicious website community has been sparse here lately. This lack is due to the hardship my small family has been facing this harsh winter. Life has been difficult, to say the very least, almost unmanageable, almost but not quite, we’re still alive and kicking and I believe that is worth something (if not everything). My mother, in her infinite and dear wisdom, keeps reminding me that what doesn’t kill us will make us stronger, and I have chosen to believe her, I have chosen to keep going and not let the harshness of these gray months steal the joy my heart holds. It has been a task, let me tell you, and some days are better than others, those days are what keeps me going.
Today, however, has been one of those other days, one of those hard days. Last night was one of those hard nights. Last night was tears and questions of why, last night was a fitful sleep that carried into this morning, and this morning was waking up with a tremendous headache that made the world seems to bright and too dark at the same time. Then I had a notion, a small, almost flippant notion, almost but not quite. I decided to google the phrase ‘Happiness is a Cupcake’ and I found something! Something small, not unlike a cupcake, something delicious, quite like a cupcake. And so friends, I will post it here, for perhaps this wisdom is not only for me but for you as well, dear ones.

Originally posted by Metrospective, on 03 April, 2006:

Finding happiness in a cupcake

Recently, I’ve addressed an important question that’s been nagging at me for the past several weeks: how do bakeries make muffins with those beautiful, break-them-off muffin tops?

Perhaps a little background is necessary first.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been on a bit of a cupcake binge lately. However, my cupcakes are always so small and humble-looking. In the back of my mind, what I’m really thinking about are those behemoths that they sell at Starbucks. If I was truly a cupcake connoisseur, my creations would be just as glamorous looking. Besides, more cupcake is always better, right?

So, I was delighted when I found the answer last week: they make a special muffin pan for this task. The pans have an ordinary-sized receptacle for the paper liner, but the top quickly flares out allowing for muffin-top maximus.

The pans work as advertised, but I quickly discovered a problem.

Imagine a cupcake shaped like a portobello mushroom: it has a small base and a comically-large muffin top. In fact, the top is so large that the cupcake acts as a tiny pedestal for a lot of frosting. And then–just as quickly as you can say ‘Williams-Sonoma’ (professional 12-cup muffin pan, $17)–all of the balance that makes the cupcake so wonderful and so enticing disappears into a top-heavy, 500 calorie turd.

The cupcake–in its infinite wisdom–has taught me something about happiness: find satisfaction in your current abilities because more isn’t always better.

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3 Responses to Cupcake Wisdom

  1. Anonymous

    I’ve been wondering how you make the frosting so pretty. I made cupcakes tonight (I was feeling inspired by your blog), and they turned out nice, except for the icing part, which just looked sad. I was using out of the can cream cheese frosting for cakes, maybe that was it? -Kat

  2. Maggie Ann.

    Heya Kat. That is a really good question. I’ve always had trouble with icing from a can as well. It usually ends up looking all gloopy and whatnot. I think perhaps when using can frosting it may help to transfer it from the can to a small bowl and heat it in the microwave for a few moments. That will make spreading easier, smoother, and as it cools it will set up like regular icing. I’ve also had great luck with buying those little frosting cans that have have tips attached for easy decoration. I just put on a star tip and but a swirl on each cupcake. They look fancy but the icing part is super easy. AND no mess to clean up there, just rinse out the tip and store for the next round of decorating :)

  3. Anonymous

    I feel silly that I asked that question, now that I’ve read all of your blog.
    Alas, thankyou for the simple baking advice. Times are hard here too, but it’s nice to know that we can find pleasure in the small things.
    Yes, my cupcake was from a box, my icing from a can, but a cupcake is a cupcake, and even though it looked sad, it still made the evening memerable for my friend and I who baked them together ;)

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