Dear readers, I am in a pickle. As a nascent baker, I have encountered a problem I've never had before: I have made a batch of markedly mediocre cupcakes, and I have no idea what to do with them. Just yesterday afternoon, when I carefully chose my recipe, full of hope and anticipation, I had been planning on giving them to my friend Elissa as a belated birthday present. They were going to be Red Velvet Cupcakes of Atonement!
The blog I got them from seemed so confident-- they were going to be bright red and full of real delicious chocolate flavor. They were going to be decadent and magical. One commenter described them as "dense and cakey" and so I imagined them dense and smooth and, you know, velvety. But readers, I was led astray!! Although I'm sure our $13.98 Proctor-Silex hand-mixer (the "low" setting on which whirs away fast enough to chop off fingers) can't have helped matters, I'm confident the recipe is largely to blame.
There were so many problems with it that, looking back now, I almost feel ashamed I didn't know IMMEDIATELY this would go poorly. For starters, the recipe had been HALVED, a clear sign of idiocy. I mean really-- what person in their right mind would want to make TWELVE cupcakes when they could have 24??? That way lies madness!! The new proportions threw me off and kept me from realizing that the recipe was all wrong. Not enough egg, butter, and other fattening things to make it awesome. Nothing to give it levity or richness. There wasn't even enough food coloring to make it truly RED, the true goal of a red velvet cupcake. There was only enough to make it a pallid and unappetizing mauve, a color which matched the cupcakes' leaden consistency. Their flavor was good enough, and they made acceptable vehicles for my cream cheese frosting but over all they were such sad, disappointing little things. A cupcake isn't supposed to be the kind of thing that sits around until, with a shrug, you say "Well, I guess I'll have one." They are things of dreams and happiness, of light and adorableness. If they don't fill you with longing, if they are anything less than tantalizing, then they can hardly be TRUE cupcakes.
These Cupcakes of Disappointment were no ones' dream. I couldn't bring them to Elissa, that much was clear. She deserves better than pallid Cupcakes of Disappointment. No more could I bring them into work to get rid of them, for fear of making my new coworkers think I was a terrible, terrible baker. I couldn't even bring them into my old work-- it would be like going out see an ex-boyfriend in sweats and unwashed hair. They may not be your boyfriend anymore, but you never want to think "Man, she sure has let herself go. What did I ever see in her anyways?" Only, you know, with baked goods rather than hotness. I couldn't give them away to someone I liked, because I hated them myself, and I didn't want to give them to someone I didn't like, for fear that they would come to expect cupcakes in the future. So they just sat about, Disappointing me like it was their job. Thankfully, before they could become fossilized emblems of my failure, Bruce the roommate manned up and ate them all. But it's certainly not a recipe I'll be returning to any time soon.