Those of you that I am friends with on Facebook are familiar with my weekly cupcake posts. I guess that I should apologize to those that do get to see them & don’t get one and also to those that don’t get to see them & do want one. I am sorry, I wish that I could mail them to you all (Gina, you especially.)
Some people have asked why I do this. Here is that story.
I don’t really have too many hobbies. I crochet a little, but not well. I write a little, but not too often. I love to read, but never seem to have the time to sit for long periods of time. I play roller hockey, but that is only once a week. Ed has things that he enjoys and I was feeling a little like I needed something.
Not long before this, I discovered the wonderful time-suck that is Pinterest. (I love Pinterest!) There was a pin floating around that had the alleged “33 Best Cupcake Recipes.” About three years prior, I had taken some cake decorating classes with my friend, Jill. After four months of cake decorating, I realized that the decorating was fine, but I enjoyed making a good tasting cake (Fondant really is no fun, I assure you.)
So, I scrolled through the “33 Best Cupcake Recipes” and found that they all seemed easy enough. I printed out the recipes and made week 1 (Espresso Fudge Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.) They were pretty good, not too difficult and I had fun. That first week, I think that I shared them with my nieces, Ed and maybe two or three people at work.
In the mean time, I found other cupcake pins on Pinterest. Here is where my OCD comes into play. 33-weeks was not even, it was an arbitrary number. And there were lots of good ideas out there, so why not 52-weeks?
I sat down planned out the full 52-weeks so that no two flavors were too close together, time wise. And the project began.
I looked at it as a challenge a la Julie & Julia. I am not ambitious enough to conquer Mastering the Art of French Cooking (nor do aspics sound remotely appealing) but this would be fun. The rules were that I could not rearrange the schedule, and I had to stick to the recipes no matter what. That meant purchasing some alcohol that I don’t normally drink, and ordering some ingredients online. Mango pulp is not readily available where I shop.
I started taking some to work. My following there went from the people in my aisle to most of my department. Then my friends at hockey got wind of the weekly cupcakes and wanted in. Now, most weeks I am doubling the recipes. There are some people in my office that are at my desk first thing every Tuesday morning. I am more than happy to oblige. (This means you, Kara!)
The first year’s worth of cupcakes began in early March 2012 and other than a brief break over Christmas, ended in late March 2013. By that time I was ready for a little break and the project to be done (at least for a while.)
In the mean time, I had many friends send me new recipes and I was collecting some on my own, as well. I had accumulated five new cupcake cookbooks. My Pinterest cupcake board currently has 224 pins pinned. I also have a binder full of at least 200 other recipes. This seems to be ever-growing.
In late May of this year, my nieces started asking when I was going to make cupcakes again. I had just made some for Niece #3’s birthday, and they were missing them. So the three of us sat down and planned out the next year’s worth of cupcakes. In early June 2013 the Cupcake Project 2.0 began. I think that this is week 9 of the current project. And at this rate I could do this for years to come.
To answer a few of my most frequently asked questions:
-Do I want to open a cupcake shop? NO WAY IN HELL!!! I like doing it once a week but do not want to ever do it full-time.
-You must eat a lot of cupcakes. I, myself, usually only get one cupcake a week, at times two. I am not a skinny girl, I do not need too many more than that.
-Which has been the most popular? Port Wine & Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting. I have now made this one at least four times, and it is requested for people’s birthdays at work a lot.
-Have any recipes not turned out? There has only really been one week that was a complete fail. But I am not cocky enough to say that this may never happen again. If they don’t work out, I will admit it. I am not a professional, people.
-Ed must love this project. He is fine with it, but to quote my wonderful husband, “I am a pie person.” I am not exactly sure what that is supposed to mean. Honey, I am not doing a 52-week Pie Project, so do not ask!
-Which one was your favorite? That is a tough one. But I think that it was Cherry-Almond Vanilla Cupcakes with Cherry-Almond Buttercream Frosting. But then again….
-Were there any that you did not like? YES! The Flourless Beet Cupcake was not good at all.
This go-round I am trying some wilder flavor combinations (Wasabi anyone?) I have also been making more bonus batches for people’s birthdays etc. But the most important thing is that I am still enjoying this hobby. Niece #1 & #3 like to help out, and I love the time with them, as always. They love getting the flavor of the week, particularly during school when it is their Monday afterschool snack. I will never make cupcakes from a box again. Making them from scratch it not difficult and they taste so much better. I can now make buttercream and cream cheese frosting generally without a recipe. And again, will never buy grocery store frosting again.
I don’t plan to make this a baker’s blog. I don’t generally focus on presentation. My cupcakes are pretty but not cooking blog worthy. This is something about me that I enjoy and wanted to share. I think I will perhaps do another post listing the full 52 weeks of The Cupcake Project 1.0. If you are on Pinterest, you can find most of the recipes.
So if you ever find yourself without a hobby, go and find yourself a challenge. And go eat a cupcake.
Elsewhere, I am pretty sure that my dog, Oscar, thinks that the entrance to Narnia is secretly housed in our downstairs bathroom. Any time I go in there he is quick to make sure that he comes along. In the rare event that I am allowed to go in alone, he sits outside the door barking until I come out. The only conclusion that I have come to is that he believes that I am not coming back out and secretly escaping.
Silly dog. Doesn’t he know that I would rather go to Wonderland than Narnia. And of course I would take him with me. He can protect me from those snarky talking flowers. I would definitely be safer in Wonderland with my 11-lb bodyguard.
Alas, there is just a laundry room through the bathroom. No entrance to Narnia or Wonderland. Then again, maybe that is were all the missing socks go….