The day of 135 cupcakes
I wanted to make this post yesterday, sometime after finishing the job, but my brain stopped working for a few hours and sleep seemed much better than writing.
First off, I think it best to give some details of what yesterday involved:
- 100 cupcakes for a wedding-themed birthday celebration
- Baked for event: 100; Actually baked: 135
- Flavours: chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate icing; lemon cupcakes with vanilla bean, lemon icing
- Batches: 8 batches of cupcakes; 7 batches of icing
- Time: 7am – 2:30pm
- The post-bake mess: SO MANY DISHES and chocolate everywhere
- Casualties: 1 2.5kg bag of sugar, exploded on impact with my kitchen floor; 1 poached egg, unrelated to the baking, but the result of trying to make a poached egg breakfast while making cupcakes ( = bad idea)
I actually learned a lot while doing this job yesterday. Like I mentioned in my last post, planning a mass-production of cupcakes is actually quite involved. For example, I spent at least 2.5 hours on Friday night cutting 84 holes in 6 file-folder lids, so that the cupcakes (at least most of them) would have a safe place to rest for transportation to the event, which thankfully I didn’t have to arrange. Also, you need to make sure you have enough of all your ingredients. While this might seem kind of obvious, until you calculate everything you don’t really realize that the job will take 2 dozen eggs, 16 cups of flour, 18 cups of icing sugar, 12 lemons, etc…! The last thing you want to have to do when you’re baking this amount of anything, especially if you’re doing it alone, is have to run to the grocery. You also can’t forget about the cupcake liners, having enough baking trays and (if required for the particular event) how your creations are going to be presented.
I learned some more baking-related realities while doing this job, too. While some of these may seem more obvious to the more seasoned baker, they weren’t to me since I’ve only been making cupcakes for just over 1 month. When I was making my chocolate cupcakes, I thought it would be smart to open the oven and turn the pan 180 degrees, so as to ensure a more even baking. This apparently is a bad idea, probably combined with the fact that I didn’t move them gently, since it made some of my cupcakes rather sad-looking and caved in. It seemed better, if you’re going to turn the pan around, to wait until the cupcakes have an upwards puff from rising before turning the pan. I also learned, and perhaps this is the most important thing, that making icing isn’t so much, at least not as much as I thought, a follow-the-recipe-to-a-T-or-you-may-fail task. From what I can tell so far, and I hope I’m not wrong or there may be some icing disasters in my future, you can really experiment or tweak icing to your particular tastes. Too sugary? Add some butter. Too buttery? Add some sugar. Too thick? Add some liquid (milk, cream, or whatever you’re using). This seems obvious when you write it out, but I think that what I’m intending. Making icing isn’t really as big an undertaking as it seems. As long as you stick to your basic ingredients, logical wet-dry ratios and don’t go WILD with adding liquid, then you’ll be able to make an icing with which you’re happy! You can do it!
I really enjoyed this experience, despite the fact that it was absolutely exhausting to bake for 7.5 hours straight. It went off without a hitch and hopefully the birthday girl enjoyed them, too!
… To be honest, though, I’m looking forward to going a few weeks without baking cupcakes. There’s so many other recipes I want to try!