Monday, 29 April 2013

Day 110 - Cupcake machine

20th April 2013

We occasionally make things at school with the kids. Gingerbread men, crispy cakes, fruit salad etc. When we make something that has to cook that means taking frequent trips to the kitchen to see how they're getting on, and it's not ideal.

I had a brainwave last week. We have a cupcake maker at the flat that just plugs into the wall, if I took that in we could make them and cook them in the room with us. Genius.

Except we'd never used the cupcake maker before, I had no idea how it handled...were the cupcakes any good? How long did they really take? I decided to take a test drive, and whilst I was at it try out some of my cake decorating bits.

Knowing it would be unlikely that we would make cupcake mix from scratch in school, I used a mix. I love Red Velvet cake and they have finally started selling a box for it, so I went for that. I've made a whole heap of mess making Red Velvet in the past, so I was hoping to avoid some. How naive of me. I decided to make my icing myself, so I felt a little better about using the mix. I'm so glad I didn't make all three, man alive.

So I was finally able to don my lovely apron, realise that I was surrounded by polka dots, and begin.

We realised recently that red with white polka dots is the uniform of the flat. I like to mix it up once in awhile and throw in some blue with red polka dots. I'm just that kind of out there maniac.

Making the cupcakes themselves was pretty easy, almost enjoyable. They took 10 minutes to cook in the maker, which makes 6 at a time. Yes, it was mildly aggravating to get up every 10 minutes to put another batch on, but they came out so beautifully fluffy and tidy that it was so worth it.

After they were all out and cooling I set to work on my icing. Oh my life. Why do I do it to myself? Rather than thinking "Hmm, I've never made fondant icing before, maybe I'll buy it ready made this time and work towards that for the next run" or "Well I'm making the fondant, so I'll buy some ready made icing", I of course decided I should make both of them. Sigh.

It wasn't necessarily difficult to make it just took so much effort to keep it from sticking to the mats, to colour, to roll out. Then once I finally had it ready to go, getting the plungers to do what they were supposed to was insanely difficult. I think it was worth it? Maybe? The bowl of decorations looks pretty.

The fondant ended up taking so long that it got to about 9pm and I realised I had to make the actual icing-y icing. I had of course found myself an interesting sounding concoction online, which meant that it had just those few extra steps that lead to regretting the whole escapade.

I chose to make a marshmallow icing, using marshmallow fluff. Now, I won't deny that the icing was tasty, it was awesome. But it took real arm work. Getting all the fluff out of the jar was insane effort. It was after this that I realised we didn't have our electric mixer anymore, and the 'beating until light' was going to have to be done by me. Then beating in the butter would have to be done by me. Then adding the icing sugar, slowly, a bit at a time, and folding in entirely...would be done by me. Good grief.

Curse you.
I had intended for the icing to be a lovely purple colour. Sadly my colouring just didn't match up. I have a lovely red gel colouring that makes things a beautiful deep red, and a green that makes things wonderfully emerald, just the way I like it. I had bought two small tubes of blue and yellow colouring, knowing they wouldn't be as good but reasoning that they were still gel colours and would hopefully provide me with the same vibrant shades I loved. Unfortunately I didn't have anywhere near enough blue to match up to the red, and there was no way I was doing more mixing once I realised this. Pink would have to do.

Icing eventually squeezed out and decorations put on, I turned around to see the world's biggest mess in the kitchen. Icing sugar all over me and the table, and so much washing up. By now it was past 10pm and I couldn't bear the thought. I piled everything into one place, soaked the things that needed it and, without even tasting a cake, went to bed.

 The next day I discovered icing sugar footprints in the carpet. I have such mad skills.




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