"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Buttermilk Cupcakes Redux, or Melissa Gets Competitive at the Bake Sale

Believe it or not, last night was the first time in my life as a mother that I've contributed something to a bake sale. The first time, even, that I was asked. In high school we seemed to have bake sales everywhere, all the time, so maybe bake sales aren't so popular anymore, or maybe I've just been able to fly under the radar for 13 years.

Anyway, I agreed with enthusiasm to contribute something to the bake sale at the concession benefiting the RMS Drama Club last night, thinking I would whip up another batch of those Buttermilk Cupcakes, but this time using the chocolate and lemon cream cheese frosting that went with them.

I changed only one thing--I used cake flour as they ask instead of all-purpose, and yes the texture was finer, less dense and chewy.

As far as the recipe goes, the chocolate frosting was more spreadable than the lemon, which was kind of runny even after letting it set in the fridge for a while. I should have added more confectioner's sugar but, well, I didn't have any more.

I ended up with a nice foil lined cardboard box full of cupcakes, half lemon frosted, half chocolate frosted.

OK, it's not that I'm competitive, or a perfectionist. Oh all right, I AM both of those things but I try to keep it under a civil veneer. My cupcakes were little Plain Janes next to some of the fancy things on that bake sale table! Fancy piped frosting, rainbow sprinkles, things in decorated plastic bags...and the hot seller to the elementary set was candy, which they gobbled down so fast they almost choked themselves.

Yes, they sold, mostly. But I did spend some time thinking about how they could have LOOKED better. Sprinkles, obviously. Fresh fruit, a sliced strawberry or blueberry in the center?

I did have the nicest foil-lined box.

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