Thursday, July 8, 2010
Well, I just finished my work week and have a three-day weekend. Woot! But now, like a crazy person, I'm still awake. Transitioning to be awake during the days is kind of tough. I got a lot of cleaning done this morning, and played with the cat, and made some cupcakes. So I suppose I did well. AND I cleaned out my trusty (or not-so-trusty, depending on the day) Taurus, which will no longer be mine, as of tonight. That's right, I'm getting a new car! Or, a different car, more accurately. My graduation present from my grandma was her car, because she doesn't drive any more. It's got roughly 70,000 fewer miles than my car and in pristine condition. Minor detail, it's a stick shift. Guess I'll have to learn on the fly. I'm getting a little sentimental about parting with the Taurus, but it's definitely got it's issues. My favorite? Sometimes, when I turn the left blinker on, the windshield wipers turn on. But the brakes are going bad, as is all of the wiring, and the steering shaft makes weird noises, and the engine does too...it's time to retire that poor car. So I'm exchanging that car with my Dad today when I head to the lake, which I'm also excited about! No internet (except on my phone) and some downtime to just read and hang out. It's going to be nice. It's my belated Fourth of July, except without fireworks, which I don't like anyway, so it all works out.
I did my share of baking for the Fourth, including my very first semi-successful foray into cake pops. They might be the messiest things I've ever made. First, you bake a 13x9 cake, then crumble it up into a bowl, which isn't exactly clean. Then, you mix the cake with frosting, and the easiest way to do it is with (newly washed) hands. Then you roll the mix into little balls and stick a lollipop stick in. Then refrigerate and cover with candy melts. I had a few problems, mainly I've never worked with candy melts before and apparently you're not supposed to mix liquid (read: food coloring) in with them or it changes their consistency. Lesson learned. That, and next time I will make my pops smaller so they're easier to both decorate and eat. But I definitely need to practice them more, and it doesn't hurt that they taste so yummy too! :)
I made the pops for the actual Fourth of July, and then remembered I had Fourth of July cupcake liners that I had to use. After all, what good are fireworks liners after the holiday? At least, that was my reasoning :) First I made my good old faithful peanut butter brownie cups patriotism-style...meaning red and blue M&Ms with white sanding sugar. Seriously, if you ever need an easy dessert to make, these are it. Very little labor involved, and they're soooo yummy.
The other dessert I wanted to make was red white and blue cupcakes. I did something like that last year, but since then, I've gotten a lot better at baking...or so I thought. I tried a new white cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which is where my favorite yellow cake recipe is from. I tend to prefer yellow cake for some reason...plus, white cake confuses me. Why isn't it yellow? It had plenty of egg yolks in it! Anyway, I had no idea how many cupcakes this would make, so I made the batter, split it into three parts, made the other two red and blue and had Drew help me layer it in. Well, the cups were a little too full, and we overflowed a bit in the oven. Baking semi-fail.
Some were salvageable, though, so I did a fairly limited amount of icing compared with what I normally do, stuck some sprinkles and an M&M on top and called it a day. It's really interesting to see the middle of these, because they kind of reflect on how cake batter rises. If you're interested, we put red in first, then white, then blue, layered flat. Hm.
So I'd say it was a fairly successful holiday of baking. Now, to go get some sleep.