Monday, October 28, 2013

UnRecipe: A Sweet Bon Voyage!

Cupcake Break. That's what my old workmates and I would declare after a particularly long, stressful, annoying day or week. One of us would to a nearby bakery and bring back some sweet treats. It would usually be multiple flavors, so we could cut them into smaller pieces and sample a little of everything, and just dwell in that drug-like haze of an extreme sugar high. At least before the crushing blow of Harsh Reality set in, and we'd have to get back to work. When Trophy Cupcakes first headed Eastside, to their spot at The Bravern, that became a regular on our Cupcake Break rotation. Which leads me to today's post -- sometimes you need not only a Cupcake Break, but a Real Break. So I'm having both!

Sometimes the day needs a chocolate cupcake. Likely more than one. - Photo by Wasabi Prime

I was really excited that Trophy Cupcakes put out a cookbook full of all their glorious cupcake recipes. Their s'more cupcake with the torched marshmallow topping is killer. The pink champagne cupcake recipe continues to call my name. It's all beautifully collected and bound in a lovely new book, which will likely be the demise of my thighs and the ability to fit into skinny jeans. But whatever. S'mores cupcake -- C'MON, SON. And it's not just sweets, there's some really cute party ideas, like DIY garlands, festive themes with adorable, twee favors -- the book is as precious as the whole concept behind Jennifer Shea's gorgeously-crafted cupcake empire. There's a reason cupcakes became such a fad -- the pioneers behind it did such a beautiful job crafting not just the cakes themselves, but the whole lifestyle behind them. We deserve little treats. We shouldn't ignore a yen for nostalgia, even for a childhood we never truly had, but wished we could somehow recapture. There's a whole generation of little kids that are having the most badass kids' parties as a result of this cupcake craze and I'm totally jealous of them!!

Who says you can't make your own happiness? - Photos by Wasabi Prime
I'm not jealous of their having cake. Thanks to this book, I can make my own cupcakes. Lots of them! I really wanted a chocolate cupcake and I was pleased to see how delightfully simple and wonderful the basic chocolate cupcake recipe was from Trophy. Sweet, but not too sweet, using boiling water to keep the batter fluid and easy to pour into the cupcake liners. I've clearly been making my cupcakes all wrong with too-thick batter that just gets everywhere when you're trying to distribute it into the tins. I was pleased with how fast and clean the batter transfer was. I used my own frosting -- I actually had some leftover milk chocolate frosting in the freezer (which had to be resurrected with some powdered sugar and a little milk, with the help of a whisk), and used that, plus some wayward autumnal sprinkles I had sitting in the pantry.

It was a sweet treat, to be sure. But I'll never stop going to bakeries and getting cupcakes -- there's something extra special about enjoying a treat someone else baked. Plus, let's be honest, they're going to decorate and fuss over it much more than you ever will. I was reminded of this as I was in such a hurry to frost the at-home cupcakes and totally dropped one, frosting side-down into a plate of sprinkles. It looked like hell. But it tasted fine.

Perfect Trophy cupcakes, imperfect at-home cake that fell into a plate of sprinkles - Photos by Wasabi Prime

Cupcake Break = Realized. Actual Break = In Progress. Today I'm packing my things and getting ready to depart on a journey, far, far away. Not for forever, but just long enough to just get away from Life As We Know It. A real vacation is upon me, and dammit, I'm excited because I need the break. I hope to return refreshed, renewed and somewhat ready to face the holiday season that's staring me right in the face. I hope to post some pics while I'm away, but I promise to share details when I'm back. Until then, don't deny yourself the sweet things in life now and then. And don't be shy about calling a Cupcake Break!

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