11.08.2010

The pumpkin cupcakes that weren't

There are very few things in this world I consider myself "good" at. I'm basically your typical neurotic who spends the majority of the day worrying about all the different ways I could have completely and utterly devastated something. Sometimes I convince myself that I actually did bring down Rome - all by myself.

When it comes to baking pumpkin cupcakes, however, I haven't actually used a recipe in years.

I'm not exactly the Betty Crocker of the baking world or anything, but I've fielded the many bumps in the road when it comes to eggless, dairy-free baked goods.

I usually get weird looks from people when I discuss the next part, the part about my enjoying baking from scratch. It seems like my generation is wrapped up in anything convenient, even if it means sparing quality. Sure, fast food and prepackaged meals taste alright, but do they ever beat mom's homemade cooking? We've already started the trend with our daughter, considering we've traded in premade baby food for freshly blended veggies and fruits straight out of our kitchen.

I figure if we're planning on raising Pearyn as a vegan, we should probably get used to making anything and everything, right down to birthday cupcakes and Christmas cookies, or Buddha brownies (to appease daddy).

Considering the majority of boxed cake mixes and premade icings went out the window when gelatin and animal-goods became obsolete to my diet, I've fared pretty well when it comes to baking from scratch.

Until last night.

I'd been looking forward to this day forever. I'd been meaning to bake cupcakes for the last week, but somehow something kept coming up. I knew when I became a mommy my life would revolve quite a bit around my daughter, I just didn't realize how often I'd have to choose between what used to be basic, everyday things for me. Now my choices consist of whether to shower or sneak an extra 30 minutes of sleep in, whether to read or write and whether to catch up on work or the mile-long list of shows on my DVR.

Most of the time, sleep wins out.

Finally on Sunday I managed to finagle a few hours to devote to baking. I'm not sure where I stole them from, but I imagine I'll pay for it sometime this week. While I rolled up my sleeves, the rest of my family unbuttoned theirs and took a nice nap. Don't let looks deceive you, they just look calm and sweet because they're asleep.



These weren't going to be any typical cupcakes though. These were going to be the cupcakes I tested out my homemade butterscotch icing on. Side note - who knew that eliminating animal products from one's diet made it virtually impossible to find butterscotch anything? I used to think finding a good vegan cheese was hard, but when it came to butterscotch flavoring, I met my match.

I was finally able to locate some extract, which after a few trial runs (and several batches of too-strong, too thick icing), I found the right balance of fluffy and borderline nauseatingly sweet, the perfect blend if you ask me.

As for the cupcakes, I added the usual culprits - pumpkin, flaxseed, flour, sugar, applesauce, spices, baking powder and soda and the tiniest bit of vanilla extract, and began mixing to my hearts delight.

I knew the ingredients were well mixed just about the time my arm started to get the dull throb I get from stirring ridiculously heavy batter. I dispensed the goop into the proper bakeware, and counted down the minutes until my first pumpkin cupcakes of the season were ready for icing and decorating.

Unfortunately for me (and my perfect butterscotch icing), that moment never came.

Somewhere along the way my intuition led me astray. I'm still trying to dissect what exactly went wrong, but at the conclusion of my bakefest I ended up with 24 regular-sized and 48 mini cupcakes that were more pumpkin-pie like and less cake-like.

Operation pumpkin cupcakes = epic failure.

On a brighter note, I did succeed in reusing my failed cupcake attempt to make a pumpkin pie cookie. It sounds much fancier than it actually is. I took a basic sugar cookie recipe and added the warm, gooey remnants of my pumpkin cupcake fiasco and threw them in the oven.

They came out perfectly, and hit the fall-food craving I'd been having.



They didn't do much for my bruised, cupcake-goddess ego though.

You might not want to cry over spilled milk, but 72 barely recognizable cupcakes is a different story.

I can't be the only moody mommy out there ... what's the silliest thing you've cried over?

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