Sunday, September 4, 2011

It's Martha, Bitch! Vol. 4, 5, and 6!

So ZOMG. It has been such a long time. Like, 3 or 4 whole weeks. Or so. But I PROMISE you, it were not my fault.
The past few weeks have been pretty crazy in relationship to baking. I have hit some all time lows, and ended with a wonderful high (which I will discuss further down!) I betrayed Martha, and I came running back to her like a dog with fondant between his legs. Well, let's get to it.

1. Martha Blondies!
So. Martha spoke to me in a dream, and coming off of the high of my fabulous Back To Blackcakes, I was happy to oblige. I wanted to do a tribute to Lucille Ball, being that it would have been her one hundredth birthday recently. I wanted to do something yummy and vanilla based, so I flipped to Martha's Blondies recipe. I wanted to do these polka-dot blue and white cups with fiery orange 7-Minute Buttercream icing. The buttercream came out a little weird, I guess. I have never made one before, so I didn't really know what to expect. It just felt and tasted much more buttery/oily than I expected. It was light, but just sort of...slick. I dunno. The color was really great though. Unfortunately, I didn't get to use it.

The cupcakes came out of the oven, and the decorative cups I had baked them in had all turned brown and ugly. I threw them in the fridge to cool them off...and well, I left them in for about 30 minutes. BAD IDEA! They were hard as rocks when I took them out, and the wrappers were all stuck firmly to the cakes. AAARGh! I poped them in the oven, which was off but still pretty warm inside. After about 10 minutes of that, I pulled them back out and let them cool on the stove. I think I was trying to cool them quickly so that I could ice them, and take them to a friend. That didn't really work out.

Having been re-warmed and cooled again properly, they returned to their appropriate texture and softness. These things had butterscotch pieces in them, along with something else I can't seem to remember...and they were TERRIBLY SWEET. I mean, they were delicious! But after one half of one, my teeth jumped out and ran away. There was NO WAY I was adding the super sweet buttercream icing to that. I resigned to make a different, plain ol' vanilla cupcake. I thought that maybe trying a different recipe source would be a good idea, as Martha didn't seem to have anything just plain ol' plain. Duhn - dun- duuuunnnn!

2. The Betrayal - Plain Ol' Vanilla Cupcakes!
I found Amy Sedaris' recipe for vanilla cupcakes online through a Google search. I though, WEll, Amy Sedaris is sort of the anti-Martha, so this all works great. Let me tell you, I LOVE Amy Sedaris. If you havent seen THIS yet, you need to watch!

She is just amazing when it comes to being tacky as hell and incredibly entertaining at the same time. Unfortunately, I got her recipe wrong. I wanted to try adding vanilla pudding to the recipe ( I heard it would make them moist and yummy!) and I may have added too much. They came out fine, but were sort of bland altogether, and a little dense. We ate them for breakfast, but no decorating occurred.

3. Judas Strikes Again! - Chocolate Banana Heaven or The Oven Killer
Once again, thinking that Martha's recipes were just too much for me, I strayed and found this recipe for Chocolate Banana cupcakes, for which I had planned to make a Nutella buttercream frosting. Amazing, right? Besides, how would Martha know? I had some old bananas that needed to be used, and didn't feel like making bread again, so this was a great alternative.
Well, I got the recipe mixed, filled my cups, and noticed that THIS WAS THE BEST I HAD EVER MADE SO FAR!! I also noticed the strong distinctive smell of gas. Lots of gas. Trey noticed it in the living room too. This was while I was preheating the over, so I let it go for another couple of minutes (thinking that it was just paranoia) and the smell continued.
Trying DESPERATELY to get these bitches cooked, I threw them in the oven, and after 10 minutes turned it off with them in it. I was sort of hoping it would stay hot enough inside to bake, without causing our death from a gas leak.
WHY WOULD I BE SO RISKY you ask!? I wanted my damn cupcakes!! Also, there was a gas leak. SO I was probably just going crazy.

Needless to say, the cakes only baked halfway by the time I had called the gas company and we had evacuated the house. I nearly cried! They looked like they were going to really be perfect. Into the garbage they went, however. The gas guy came and turned off the gas to the stove and said it needed to be checked out. Urrgh.

4. Redemption - Martha's Chocolate Cupcakes
During the couple of weeks of waiting for stove repair/replacement, I received several gumpaste tools from Amazon and picked up a few more from Michael's. I think I am REALLY getting the hang of this junk! I got a nice mat for rolling stuff and I have ordered a Silpat for trying sugar and chocolate work. I saw recently that some people are JUST cake decorators, which is great. They don't have to know all the baking stuff as much. I though that maybe I was more destined for that, but truly, I want to do it all. I want to be good at baking as well as decorating. Mind you, my degree is in Design, so food science is not really second nature for me yet. I just have a joy for it, I suppose.

Trey's parents came to visit this weekend, and I had promised them cupcakes a while back. I flipped around in Martha's book and found a good old chocolate recipe. The decor called from gumdrops, but I was like "Martha, please." The cakes came out WONDERFUL (Did you know that you have to use different tools for measuring liquid and dry goods? Apparently a lot of people don't. Or Trey was trying not to shame me for not knowing.) I think this may be the reason that all my cakes have been...well, off. I call these Demon Cakes, for Northwestern State University of course!

SO my oven was working again, my cupcakes were moist and delicious (lol!), and no one suffered from permanent brain damage. I really plan to do something with that raspberry-rosewater junk I made again...i think it really will be excellent. We will see where Martha takes me next. Meanwhile, OMG check her out!! Supa-flyyyyyy!!

"Mothaaah," BIIITCH!!

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