I’m just going to come out and say it.
I’m not a baker. I am a cook. I love to cook things. I do not like to bake things. I do, however, love baked things. And sadly, sometimes the only way to get quality baked things is to bake them yourself. So I do. But deep down I rebel against it and would rather be grilling a pizza.
There’s another thing I’m not. And that’s an artist. My mother, sister and cousin and grandmother are excellent artists. I did not get that gene. I got every artistic gene but that one. So why I thought I could pull this off, I have no idea.
I blame Josh. For insisting that some day I’m going to be one of those moms who make little artistic culinary renditions for her kids’ birthday parties. And I blame Bakerella, for making me want to be one of those moms. And I blame the Ann Arbor library, for carrying the book Hello Cupcake!, which I inadvertently came across last week and which briefly convinced me that I, too, could create irresistible, playful creations. Damn you, cupcake book. Damn you.
So I took the book home and of course, I was immediately enthralled by penguin cupcakes and panda cupcakes and alien cupcakes and adorable little sunflower cupcakes and even a giant crocodile made out of cupcakes. And the book promised step by step instructions and no artistic talent needed–just used a box mix and some frosting and some edible candy toppings and voila! Martha Stewart you are. So I went through the book and made a list of all the cupcake creations I wanted to conquer (ha!)–there’s about 15–and figured I’d work my way slowly through all of them and then one day, I’d be that awesome mom who made adorable little food things for classroom parties—you know, once I mastered the art of cupcakes and uh…well, had kids. One thing at a time.
So I picked what looked like the easiest ones: the sunflowers. Okay, maybe not the easiest but I figured, hey I could do that. I have a cake decorating set that Josh bought me (he’s a terrible influence, you can see, encouraging me to go after my hobbies and dreams and whatnot) and free time and I can buy a box of oreos. Totally I can do this.
Anyway, this was my first try. The cupcakes themselves are delicious–thank you, Duncan Hines. (Hey, I wasn’t going to waste the effort of a homemade batch of batter for experimental cupcakes.) The idea gets across, I think…but clearly my execution of creating “petals” needs serious work. I think this in part to my frosting being too soft and in part to my v-shaped tip being too large for this particular project. I wanted to do yellow sunflowers but of course, I couldn’t get the yellow food coloring bottle open. I know, it’s a sign. I ignored that sign. I went ahead and made pink flowers instead. Because I could. Because what else was I going to do?
There’s no particular recipe; here’s what I did.
1 box Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix (I just wanted chocolate cupcakes; my “for real” batch will be vanilla cake that I will tint green)
cupcake wrappers (green ones if you can find them…I could not)
1 canister white frosting
green and red (or whatever color for petals) food coloring
I made the cupcakes according to package instructions, and then set aside half of the frosting. I colored that half green and frosted the tops of all the cupcakes. The other half of the frosting I tinted red (well, pinkish). Then, using my piping set, I piped “petals” around the edges of the oreo cookies and pressed them into the middle of the cupcakes. I did 7 flower ones total; five are pictured above, 2 were eaten.
And were delicious.
Josh loved them, of course. He’s a terrible influence, that one. Anyway, stay tuned…I’m sure more will come.