As you stare at the picture above in admiration and awe, I can only sit here and tell you that I am doing the same. I wish I could tell you that I had made that tasty masterpiece all on my own, I wish I could give you the recipe – but I didn’t and I can’t. What I can tell you about that scrumptious piece of art is that it was for an event that was two weeks ago. I’m fully embarrassed to admit that I am completely and totally guilty for the crime of utter procrastination and shameful negligence. Yes, this update should have been for Mother’s Day. Shoot me now.
Just kidding, please don’t. Instead, let’s talk a little bit more about these cupcakes and then about my own.
So as I was saying, the cupcakes.
The restaurant that I am currently employed at did a Mother’s Day event which included a “Cupcake Studio,” boasting my co-worker’s brilliant baking skills. Pretty nifty, huh? We turned our off-the-menu/a la carte restaurant into a fast-paced brunch buffet that included a ginormous mountain of strawberry specked, vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with bowls and bowls of rainbow colored sprinkles, candies and toppings. The kids had a blast making cupcakes for their moms and I’m sure the dads that forgot to get their wives gifts (tsk tsk) also felt indeed relieved at the site of a potentially heart-warming gift. You know how they say you can win a man’s heart through his stomach? As in, with amazing food? Well, I’m going to reveal the truth about women here so listen up fellas: you can win a woman’s heart through their sweet tooth. There, I said it. A little present in apology for my absence, one of the missing puzzle pieces to the ever-so-complex and perplexing woman psyche.
Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to project my art skills to make my mom a spectacularly decorated cupcake. I usually opt for the breakfast-in-bed deal, but my parents reside in Korea and I am far away stranded on an island. Luckily for me, I have the greatest friends and for the most part, I love their parents. This means that I not only have a mom in Korea I need to think about on Mother’s Day, but also a couple more that are stranded on this island with me. This compels me to…No, not be psycho and show up at my friends’ moms’ beds with a tray full of delectable breakfast foods. It evokes this fervent desire to bake and bake furiously.
Hence, that I did. Even amidst the academic madness of final exams and papers, I took hours away from studying to make these cupcakes for the moms I love here. This perhaps poor choice led me to my first kitchen meltdown. Ever watch Julie & Julia?
If not, please do! It is such an awe-inspiring movie that further convinced me to start up this blog, which I’m sure millions of other movie-fans have done as well. Anyway, in this movie Julie, in attempt to try every recipe of Julia Child and blog about it has several kitchen meltdowns. These meltdowns, for both her and I, are caused by culinary disasters. In my case, it was a dessert disaster – one of exaggerated magnitude.
The cupcakes came out perfectly, but the icing just wouldn’t peak. No matter how hard I mixed and whipped, I kept getting a soggy goop. This is probably due to the fact that I do not have a stand mixer, but even so. I had to remake it 3 times only to arrive at the same conclusion. Finally, with the overwhelming weight of school frustrations and cupcake chaos, I gave up and used the goop as a glaze. To my grateful amazement, it still tasted fine and the moms still loved it.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Earl Grey Icing/Glaze
Adapted from Food Network
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cupcake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
2 bags Earl Grey tea
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 24-cup mini muffin pans or two large 6-cup pan with paper liners. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Whisk until smooth. Boil saucepan of water and keep the water simmering in the saucepan. In another bowl, whisk the sugar, flour and salt; mix into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs, one at a time, then whisk in the vanilla until smooth.
Divide the batter among the prepared cups, filling each three-quarters of the way. Bake until the cakes spring back when touched, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool on a rack.
Meanwhile, make the icing: Whisk the sugar, egg whites, lemon juice and salt by hand in the bowl of a stand mixer. Empty the tea bags and add the loose tea to the bowl, then set the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and whisk until the mixture is hot and the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and beat with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until the mixture holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag, snip the corner and pipe the icing onto the cupcakes.
Hopefully, you have better luck in succeeding to make the icing peak. However, don’t break down if it doesn’t. Just use it as a glaze. It’s important to transcend such troublesome experiences and improvise with what you have whenever you can!