Imagine you're living in Texas, in August, during an overly-whined-about but no less brutal summer of nearly 110-degree days. You're bored. You go into your marginally air-conditioned kitchen and think, hey! I should bake cupcakes!
This is how that story ends. Well, if you're me. Well, if you're the me that hadn't yet learned the lessons from this month's Cake of the Month challenge.
I planned to make these Monster Cupcakes. Aren't they cute? Of course I didn't bother actually reading those nice directions. How hard could it be to make piles of monster fur, really?
To save time, I skipped my usual hunt for the perfect recipe and used a box mix with some canned frosting. The Hello, Cupcake! book recommended using canned frosting, and I figured it would be less likely to melt in the heat than my homemade buttercream. Wrong-O.
1. Making cake balls! I thought they would be perfect for the eyes. It was a super sticky great big mess, and the chocolate never hardened (did I mention the kitchen was hot?), but if you were the kind of kid who loved playing in the mud after it rained...cake balls are for you.
2. Working with melty frosting. Its behavior was quite different from properly fluffy frosting. See that purple monster? I only piped fur down to the top edge of that cupcake. It melted down the sides all by itself. This was unexpected and rather unpleasant, but it made me laugh.
3. Not having to stick to one design. I made three monsters, which wound up looking like goopy ice cream sundaes, and that was quite enough; so I tried some other, simple designs on the remaining cupcakes.
1. The...dough?...you use to create cake balls really does shape easily, and is good for building dimension onto a cake. I used some to build up the tops of the monster cupcakes so my monsters wouldn't have flat heads.
2. I probably should have made the monsters first, THEN made their eyes. I made the eyes way too big. It probably would have been good to attach them with sticks instead of expecting them to balance in place by themselves.
3. NO MORE DECORATING IN A HOT KITCHEN. You may remember that this was a problem last time as well. Next time I'm going to turn down the a/c an hour before starting, and I'm going to take breaks if necessary to let the frosting firm up in the fridge.
September is still going to be pretty hot, and I'm feeling defiant. Let's make an ice cream cake for the next challenge, what do you say?