Doug's birthday was last week. We went out for dinner to a fancy-schmantzy place inside the perimeter (I had a gift certificate). Since we left the girls with my mom, Annika and I made cupcakes the next day to celebrate the birthday with the family.
Because a cake mix makes a million cupcakes and I'm not a terrible baker, Annika and I decided to make the cupcakes from scratch, using the Small Batch Baking cookbook. We made the fudgy chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing. As the cupcakes finished baking, I tested them with a toothpick to be sure they were done. No problem until the cupcake deflated as I removed the pan from the oven. That has never happened to me before, so I crossed my fingers and hoped that I could just take the ugly one. Nope. Soon enough, all four cupcakes deflated, leaving a crunchy burned rim around the top of the pan and sunken centers (like the craters of volcanos). Crossing my fingers, I whipped up the peanut butter frosting. It tasted lovely, but my spatula broke off in it. Sigh. I frosted as best I could and you can see the results. Annika had one cupcake and enjoyed it, but the others were a loss. Doug didn't even taste them. I spent two days beating myself up about not being exact enough to bake in small batches before tasting (in a fit of hormone weakness) the monstrosities and realizing that they were AWESOME. Doug missed out.
A week prior to this event, we went to a bring-the-kids party at which I was to bring dessert. After contemplating the chocolate flan cake and nixing it as too "flan-ish," I consulted with Tara (who suggested some lovely desserts) and Anna (who suggested a red velvet cheesecake and a three-layer cheesecake). Since it was a party, I went with the festive cheesecake. It wasn't a difficult recipe and turned out very nicely with delicious topping, but no one at the party touched it. No one, until I begged for opinions (and then only two of us tried it). Let that be a lesson - at a party where people are chasing kids, finger food is better. Then, we dropped the remainder of the cake on the neighbor's driveway on the way home. Oops. Hope that it didn't stain.
This past Sunday, I went to a work party. Mindful of the untouchable cheesecake, I planned my dessert selection around what the other dessert-bringer was doing (Buche de Noel from Gabriel's). Thinking that something simple would make a good foil for the cake, I baked banana bread with peanut butter chips and walnuts and pumpkin bread and paired them with chocolate chip cookies and some leftover oatmeal cookies. No dice. My desserts tasted and looked pretty marvelous (if you ask me), but no takers. Everyone ate the cake (except for Steph, who doesn't like cake) and left the breads and cookies.
I was only able to run 2 miles yesterday (sore knee) and today's cold/low-grade fever are making my appointment with the Billy Blanks CD unlikely. So, I've wasted two 18 packs of eggs and a lot of effort in the last two weeks for nothing except to expand my own waistline. I love the holidays.