Sunday, March 22, 2009


The North Carolina Carleton Book Club met today.

We read a book called "Positivity."

The book was selected by a Carleton psychology professor who was supposed to come down and facilitate the discussion (why he didn't? that's a whole 'nuther story). The author of the book is also a Carleton grad and we had her join our book club which was neat.

Since I've been on a cupcake kick, I decided I would bring cupcakes to book club.

First Attempt: Saturday Night.

Diane directed me to a recipe on the side of some cocoa but I couldn't find it so I consulted my friend the internet (yes, even though Diane has a library of cookbooks). I actually Googled "really delicious vanilla cupcakes" and found a recipe by Amy Sedaris. I like David Sedaris books, so why wouldn't I like Amy Sedaris cupcakes (I know, the logic is flawed).

The first instruction was to put butter in the mixer. Diane has a really awesome mixer so I popped a stick of butter in there. I started to blend. The butter just got lodged in the mixing thing (I know these parts all have names. I just don't know them) and looked more like it was taking a ride in the blender than it was getting blended. Didn't seem right (but I found it kind of funny).

I realized the butter was too hard. So, I put it in the microwave which liquified it. Err, also didn't seem right.

So, I got out a fork and mashed at another stick and moved on.

I am amazed at the power of Diane's mixer and just to see what would happen, I cranked it up to ten. It mixed so fast there were bubbles. "Bubbles! Air!" I thought to myself "Air makes for light and fluffy cupcakes." Wrong again. At a later date, Diane taught me some baking chemistry.

I put them in the oven. They oozed. It was gross. When I tasted them I was convinced I had forgotten the sugar or used something else that I thought was sugar. They tasted more like cornbread or a muffin than they did a cupcake.

At this point I decided I was going to have to bring this nasty batch to Tobias's party as a gesture more than an actual dessert. I wanted to do Swedish flags but Diane suggested I layer on some fudge frosting to mask the taste of the cake part (Diane was out of town that weekend, but I caught her on IM during the "my cupcakes are pussing!" phase).

The next morning I successfully made the cupcakes Diane suggested. And, I did some decorating using the themes of the book as a guide. Diane has a toolbox for decoration and I had to chose from 48 different nozzles. This is the end result. The writing took a while to get the hang of but I worked it out and the author was thankful.

When Diane returned she did a cupcake autopsy. Her first reaction was "Did you use sugar?" She was going to do an experiment where she made the cupcakes and compared but when she gave the recipe a close look she concluded it was just a bad recipe. There's hope for me yet - hooray!

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