Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lessons Learned

Every once and a while, after eating one of my fresh baked muffins or cream filled cupcakes, a friend will ask, why don’t you start your own bakery or restaurant? It’s a difficult question to field because it’s one I haven’t always had a straight answer for. Clearly I love preparing food, and I spend a great deal of time focused on the subject, but there is something that has stopped me from pursuing a career in the kitchen. Well, getting prepared for the bake sale this past Saturday made it blatantly clear why it is I am not cut out for the food preparation industry.

Wednesday’s test run turned out beautifully, the cakes were as delicate as can be and the icing light and creamy. ‘Oh this is going to be a breeze’ I thought to myself. Foolish. In fact, I churned out those cupcakes with such ease, that I decided I could do all my baking – three-dozen cream filled cupcakes – Friday morning before work. Very very foolish!

Thursday I dropped off my graphics for some business cards I was having printed and swung by the baking shop to pick up some last minute supplies. Friday morning came, and I jumped out of bed excited to pump out some awesome little cakes. I started with the cakes and custards, both came out perfectly. I was way ahead of schedule! For the chocolate icing, I decided to make the butter cream I used for the Blissfully Banana Cupcakes. I tossed the butter, cream, sugar, and cocoa in the Cuisinart for 5 min, and then whipped it in the mixer for 10-15min. Here is where all the trouble began. The icing was runny! I don’t remember it being runny. Oh well, nothing a refrigerator can’t help, right? WRONG. Even after being in the fridge the icing was liquidly, and grainy, something was not right. I decided to ignore the problem for the moment and focus on the orange icing but sure enough it turned out just the same, runny and grainy!

It was while staring at my two failed and formless icings that reality brutally melted my carefully constructed sugar-coated fantasy. I was covered in batter, my hair was a wild mess, I was drenched in sweat (no air-conditioning), the kitchen was in shambles, I had no more butter, cream, or sugar in the house and, I needed to be at work in an hour and a half! This is, of course, when I received the delayed voice message, Hello Madeline, this is Joe from Village Copiers, while printing your cards I discovered what I believed to be a spelling error, unless you intended to spell the word 'gourmet', 'gouremt'… I hung up the phone, took a deep breath and tried hard to fight off the devastating desperation that welled up along side the tears in my eyes. I called my mom.

Hello mom

What’s wrong you sound stressed?

My icing. It’s all-wrong! It’s runny! It won’t set!

Well butter cream is very heat sensitive dear. Didn’t you know that? (NO!)

Well I have no more time left. I am going to have to wake up early. What should I do, what would you do?

Well, honey I wouldn’t have made cupcakes in the first place. Not in this in this heat…

I cried. At this point, the hurricane in my mind quieted. With all the madness around me I could think of only one thing, my answer to the question: This! This is why I don’t open a damned bakery! Of course the cupcakes came out fine in the end. I woke up at 8am after closing at work the night before and made fresh icing - this time using a more heat stable recipe (more sugar, less butter, no cream.) And, though I only sold three of them at the bake sale, my co-workers happily devoured every last one of them that evening. At least my little cupcakes fulfilled there destiny.

What were the lessons learned?

1.) Next time you participate in a charity bake sale in the middle of a heat wave, don't make
2.) Never open a bakery, unless you like crying all the time!!
3.) Use spell check!!!


Vivian said...

LOL, you learned a lesson the painful way but you know that is the way things sink in to the core of our being.At least the cupcakes were put to good use.

Horvendile said...

Aewsome post!

And the lemon cupcake was deliciuos!