Grab a cup of coffee, and sit right down as I tell you about the epic snickerdoodle cupcake fail and the important life lessons it taught me.
So, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I tend to procrastinate…bad! Planning to do a dessert post for Tuesday? Sure, Alex, go ahead and make that dessert Monday night at 10 pm, so if it fails, you’ll be up all night and scrambling all day Tuesday. Anyone else do this? I thought so.
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So what happened was…
I was flipping through Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes recipe book when I came across the recipe for snickerdoodle cupcakes. Now, I love snickerdoodle cookies, so I figured it was a no brainer that I would love these, too. Being a good girl, I checked the ingredients and added the items needed to my shopping list. I ran to the store, bought everything I needed, and was home before the boys got home from school. I even bought a handy-dandy scoop to make filling the cupcake pans easier. Right about now, I’m feeling accomplished and think I’ll go home and get these cupcakes baked, decorated and have pictures taken before the Red Wings game comes on at 7:00 pm. I should have known that things never go according to plan.
The boys get home and chaos ensues
I’m not really sure why I thought things would be different from any other day, when the boys got home. It never fails. Within five minutes of getting home, they’re already fighting. Then I’m bombarded with no less than 57,000 questions. Which, by the way, happened at the same time. Next thing I know,I look at the clock and it’s 4:30 pm, the neighbor boy is here, and another kid is on his way. I don’t have enough to make dinner for the extra kids, so I feed them a snack and decide to pick up McDonald’s and start the cupcakes after the kids leave and before the game starts. Everett’s friend was getting picked up at 6:45, so that gave me 15 minutes to pick up the food, mix the cupcakes and get them in the oven. Apparently I thought I could fly to McDonald’s. That’s the only possible explanation to why I thought I could get that done in 15 minutes.
At this point, I’m sure you’ve already figured out that I didn’t get the cupcakes in the oven before 7:00 pm. Apparently the universe decided to punish me, because the Red Wings game came on and then it cut out saying that we didn’t get that channel. Either that or Direct TV sucks. I’m pretty sure it’s the second one, but we’re going to act like it was divine intervention. No Wings game? Might as well go ahead and make the cupcakes.
The great snickerdoodle fiasco
I had remembered to get my ingredients out, and bring them to room temperature, I had sifted the two different kinds of flour (really Martha?), along with the baking powder, salt and cinnamon together, creamed the butter and sugar, and finally mixed it all together. Things were going great! And then it happened. Well, the first of many mistakes, for the night, happened. Remember that handy-dandy scoop I mentioned above? The one I thought would make filling the cupcakes easier? Well, it did do that, but apparently I filled them a little too much. I don’t know what it is, but I have the worst time filling cupcakes the right amount. I always either over or under fill them. I thought this scoop was going to be the answer to my problems. Well, apparently I bought a scoop that was too big, because when I went to rotate the cupcakes, they were overflowing. It was a complete disaster.
But wait…there’s more
It seems the heavens were smiling down on me, because in all that mess, there was one perfect cupcake. I could make one cupcake work! I just needed to make the frosting. No problem. I had all my ingredients and I was ready to go. Except, apparently, not only should you read the ingredient list, it’s probably a good idea to read the actual directions, too. Upon reading the directions, I came across the part that said to clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. A candy thermometer?? Why would I need one of those? I’m making frosting, not candy. I have made it a point, in my 32 years, to never make candy that required a candy thermometer. So, guess what I didn’t have? That’s right. A candy thermometer. No big deal, I’ll just wing it. You know, because I have some internal sense that will tell me when the sugar/corn syrup/water mixture will reach exactly 230 degrees. Only problem was, apparently it was on the fritz today, because it didn’t work. This was evident by the runny mixture, I ended up with, that was no where close to a frosting. I mean, it tasted good, but I wasn’t going to be able to pipe it on top of a cupcake.
What’s a girl to do?
Obviously the frosting that was supposed to go on the cupcakes didn’t work out, but the cupcake itself was delicious. There was no way I was going to let these cupcakes go to waste. I put on my big girl panties, pulled out more ingredients and made a Swiss Meringue Buttercream at 1:30 am. When I say the cupcakes are delicious, I mean it. They taste exactly like a snickerdoodle. I was event tempted to make more batter, just so I could eat it. But that doesn’t exactly fall in line with my April goals, so I restrained myself.
Life lessons learned while making snickerdoodle cupcakes
- Things usually don’t go according to plan. When plan A doesn’t work, move on to plan B.
- Thinking you can accomplish anything, in a reasonable amount of time, with kids at home, is a joke. Take it in stride because they will only be little for so long. This is definitely something I am constantly trying to remember.
- Read all the directions. It will save you time in the long run.
- Procrastination rarely pays off.
- Ugly cupcakes still taste good!
- When all else fails, sometimes you just have to laugh.
SNICKERDOODLE CUPCAKE RECIPE
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk
Seven-Minute Frosting (recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserting in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
- To finish, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (Ateco #809 or Wilton #1A), pipe frosting on each cupcake: Hold bag over cupcake with tip just above top, and squeeze to create a dome of frosting, then release pressure and pull up to form a peak. Using a small, fine sieve, dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites, room temperature
- Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.
- As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.
As I mentioned above, I did not use the Seven-Minute Frosting, because I royally screwed it up. I ended up using the same frosting I used on the Pina Colada cake, but substituted the rum extract for vanilla extract.
Have you ever had an epic fail in the kitchen? If so, let me know about it below, so I don’t feel all alone!