Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Flirting with disaster (of the baking kind)

I decided that The Boss should have something fun to eat on her birthday, the day we temporarily lift the sugar ban and let her go crazy with a piece of cake. Because all this hullabaloo is really all about her parents and what they like, I decided to go with carrot cake, something I've been wanting to make since Thanksgiving. This was my way of saying, "sure, you can have cake, but damnit, you're still going to get your vegetables. " I'm mean that way.

Do you think I could find my trusty carrot cake recipe when I needed it? Of course not. So I went through my files and came up with one that I had been saving from the food section of the Post Gazette. Reviews included descriptions like "the most killer carrot cake ever" and "devoured in one hour at the office". Hey, I've seen what can happen in an office kitchen when there is good cake. This had to turn out well.

I wanted to do something cutesy as my inner Martha had been hibernating for a while. I took into account The Boss and her recent fascination with animals. She's a bear freak. She also delights in dogs, cats, monkeys, you name it. I've been thinking how fun it will be to go to the zoo this summer since she'll be a squealing fool for the animals and will probably try to kiss everything with four legs. Since our zoo has the coolest polar bear exhibit, they were my inspiration for decorating. I know, you can't see what's coming, just wait a bit.

I popped the cupcakes into the oven and couldn't wait to sample one shortly after they were done. That's what good bakers do, they test everything just to be sure. It was smelling so good in the house, then I pulled these out and wanted to cry. Killer recipe? The only thing this recipe killed was my baking ego. There were no rounded cupcakes coming out of my oven, that's for sure.

See how they ran over top of the pan and fused together? According to my husband, that was the best thing to happen. He's a fan of crispy edges and he declared those crispy edges amazing as we chiseled them off. I'm more of a middle kind of gal. I guess that's why our marriage works. Anyway, back to the um, masterpieces. As with most baking snafus the obvious fix is to slather with icing. Cream cheese icing in this case. And man did it work.

The polar bears were born into our zoo. Okay, I know what you are thinking. I am giving my kid a polar bear head to eat. Yeah, it's weird, but frankly, there was no energy left to sculpt or form any kind of body at that point and really, is that much better? I thought they were were adorable. The Boss thought so, let out a shriek and immediately picked off the nose and eyes and ate them.

Of course she did, they were chocolate.
Good girl. Then she picked off the ears (smooshed mini marshmallows) and pretty much gave the rest back to me. I think she smelled a carrot or two. Fortunately Grandma and Grandpa came to visit and brought brownies so I gave her half a brownie and some more marshmallows and she was much happier.

She's wearing the bib I made her that has an embossed one on it. The picture doesn't really pick it up like this one does.

So, lesson learned. Always go with chocolate. Even the tiniest palettes would agree.


Anna said...

The cupcakes, the bib, the baby, they are all very dear!

Beth Sprague said...

How cute are those cupcakes?!?! You made me crack up with this post though. And darling baby bibs!

jen said...

The bib is brilliant, the bears are darling, and her desire for chocolate ganache, totally understandable (although I'm sure she'll learn to appreciate a good carrot cake in time). My husband is also a fanatic for things crispy - weirdos.