My gym bag was literally the epitome of Sometimes Healthy Living this morning:
Yep, that would be homemade cupcakes (and a can of buttercream frosting) right next to my gym shoes. I toyed with the idea of carrying yet another bag, but I didn’t feel like enduring numerous eye rolls on the subway yet again as I smacked people unknowingly with my 50 million bags. Besides, the cupcakes fit so perfectly in the nook of my gym bag. And, promise they were covered very tightly.
Please don’t think I would ever infuse my cupcakes with gym shoe flavor. That would be taking healthy living wayyy too far. And it would also be pretty gross. My coworkers would no longer L-U-V me.
I’m an avid reader of Carrots n’ Cake, as I’m sure most of you are. One of my favorite themes on Tina’s blog is Cookie Friday. Many times on her blog, she’ll share a cookie recipe and also enjoy one herself as a celebration for a week’s worth of hard work. As she writes, it’s a “mini celebration with a sweet reward.”
I always liked the thinking behind this theme post. We all celebrate in our own ways at the end of the week, whether it’s a glass of wine with friends a happy hour, a marathon of Jersey Shore/Bachelor Pad, a giant bowl of self-serve frozen yogurt topped with weird things like gummy bears and frosted animal crackers or of course, a cookie.
But, what about the beginning of the week? Who jumps of bed bright and early Monday morning morning with a smile on her face and says, “I can’t wait to work 50 hours this week, try to squeeze in some workouts, fight through hoards of pushy people on my commute, oh, and of course, try to sleep?”
Yeah, that doesn’t happen.
So, last night, I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea: Cupcake Mondays! In my opinion, nothing on this earth has the ability to bring smiles to faces like a cupcake. Cakes are delicious. Cookies are ooey, gooey, warm and scrumptious. Ice cream is the perfect summer treat. BUT, nothing has the power to bring laughter and cheer out of even the biggest Monday hater like a moist, flavor-packed adorable cupcake.
Sunday Night Baking – Adventures in Stuffing
As you all know, I often try out my latest healthified cupcake recipes on my
guinea pigs coworkers. It’s a win-win celebration for all. I get to try out my weird ideas on my willing subjects friends, and they get to enjoy a mid-day snack that’s not quite as sinful as a regular cupcake. Plus, it’s free food. Who doesn’t like free food?
I decided the healthified part is essential to Cupcake Monday’s success. After all, no one wants to start their week off on an UNhealthy foot, so with my healthified treats, they can start it out in a Sometimes Healthy way 😉
So, with the Monday Cupcake Cheer theory in mind, I set out to do a little baking last night. I could have stuck with the ever-popular chocolate cake + apple sauce duo, but then I thought to myself, “Gee Jamie, at some point, you really need to think outside of the cake box.”
No no, I didn’t do anything too drastic – like attempt to make them from scratch. That’s way too far out of the box for a girl that wakes up at 5:30 AM Monday mornings.
Instead, I felt inspired by back-to back episodes of Cupcake Wars to stuff my cupcakes.
Inspired yes. Ambitious, not-so-much.
I could have read up online about how to properly “stuff one’s cupcake” and the proper cupcake fillings, but a) I find that to be a huge timesuck and b) I always worry I’ll accidentally copy someone’s brilliant idea.
So, instead, I sought creative consultation from my best friend, Emily.
She suggested pudding for a Boston Cream Pie cupcake. I took it a step further and added in some crushed pretzels that I needed to quickly get rid of before devouring the whole bag.
And then I spotted some of that delicious Marshmallow Fluff (which helped me get through Irene) at the grocery store. So, I figured I might as well stuff half of my cupcakes with some of that gooey deliciousness.
There wasn’t much method to my madness.
I filled 12 tins halfway, plopped in about a tablespoon of filling and topped them off with the rest of the cupcake mix.
In to the oven they went at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.
When all was said and done, I had 12 ugly cupcakes that I imagined would get even uglier on the commute into work. BUT, I tasted the choco-marshmallow cake and decided it definitely passed the taste test. The filling aspect kind of disappeared as the marshmallow melted into the chocolate, but it gave it kind of a yummy s’mores kind of taste. Just what I wanted.
A Frosting Back-Up Plan
I’ll just admit it. I didn’t have the utmost confidence in these cupcakes. The fillings just didn’t look quite right, they weren’t the most attractive things on the block, and even with my trusty gym bag carrying approach, they were slightly smushed.
So, just in case, I brought a can of frosting, figuring those who didn’t like the actual cupcake could just “elevate” the taste with a bit of frosting and sprinkles. Everything’s better with frosting and sprinkles – even healthified cupcakes gone awry.
I also filled the candy dish to provide an alternative for the cupcakes…clearly these weren’t exactly what I envisioned last night.
Needless to say, I did have my usual happy customers.
Good ol’ Anjelica. She always convinces me that my baking tastes better than it actually does ;-).
So, the hours ticked by and before I knew it, it was 7:30 and 5 cupcakes remained. uh oh. 5/11 – not a good sign. Usually cupcakes are gone at 60 seconds at my workplace.
Around 7:45, I got desperate. I just can’t bear to see my cupcakes uneaten. So, I wandered around to see which of the late night warriors hadn’t eaten dinner yet. “They’re hungry – they’ll eat anything,” I thought to myself.
And I was right. A small crew gathered at my desk, eager to polish off the remainders from Cupcake Monday.
Amidst the laughter and gossip, I noticed they sure were adding a lot of frosting to their cupcakes.
Apparently, working late at the office also eliminates people’s inherent ability to lie to your face. Here was the feedback on today’s cupcakes:
- “Jame – I love you…but, I don’t know if I like this cupcake
- “If it has lots of frosting, it’s good.”
- “It crumbles in a…weird way.
- “What exactly is inside? Why is it mushy?”
- “It wasn’t that bad…”
- “The frosting’s REALLY good.”
So, the general consensus on today’s cupcakes: good enough to eat with a giant mound of frosting.
However, I’m not one to be easily defeated. I consulted with the our office’s resident baker, aka the one that makes the best-tasting cake pops I’ve ever had in my life
.She doesn’t healthify, but her stuff tastes good. I mean REAL good. She always wanted to start a bakery, and she probably should.
Anyway, she informed me that when I want to put fillings in my cupcakes, I should just remove the center after they’re baked and fill ‘er up. That way the filling won’t melt into my cupcakes and make it gooey and crumbly. However, she said, if I want to put things like candy bars or pretzels in my cupcakes, THEN I can use the method from above.
Good thing she’s around. Lesson learned: next time I’ll do a little research before I go outside of the cake box.
But like I always say, “You can’t home runs every time.” I still achieved my goal of bringing smiles and laughter on a Monday at work through cupcakes…even if it was mostly laughter AT my awkward cupcakes ;-). I’ll make up for it next Monday.
Off to bed – physical therapy bright and early! COMEBACK here I come!
Putting my desire for injury recovery before the nagging desire to see who won the Bachelor Pad. I deserve a medal already.
How do you stuff your cupcakes?
What’s your fave cupcake filling?
What’s the funniest comment you’ve ever received on your baked goods gone bad?