The Adventures of an Internet Baker

The finished product.

In a very much random kind of thinking, the urge to bake erupted.

It came out of the blue, but the drive was strong. During the course of the ride home my stylist’s assistant offered me, I suddenly told her to drop me off to the nearest grocery in the neighbourhood instead of going straight home. As soon as I got inside, my mind started working. I began walking around from aisle to aisle — grabbing things here and there while bearing one thing in mind: I want to bake.

This is my first legit attempt to bake. I wouldn’t consider my middle school Foods & Nutrition class as my first baking session (it was group cooking, and I only washed the dishes), but it did give me an idea on what I’m going to get into and what I have to do to get it. This wasn’t my first time using the oven — I’ve used it a ton of times. I’ve baked different kinds of things — except for pastries. With the whole measuring, mixing, icing, and all that stuff — I became pretty nervous.

Mixing the batter. Took me a while to get used to the mixer — that thing is a monster. I did not splatter though, so bonus points for me!

I’ll be honest — I used cake mix (Betty Crocker is my hero). Before you purists flip out on me, I wanted to play safe on my first attempt in my baking career. I feel like if I get the hang of using the mixer, getting an idea of how thick the batter consistency should be, and all that stuff — I’ll get the idea of it and try doing it from scratch. The whole process was 75% internet-taught, because there were some things I wasn’t really sure about and I wanted to make sure that I get things done right. I had a vision in my head — I wanted it to come true.

“…scraping the bowl occasionally.” Wat.

Terminologies like “scraping the bowl”, “beat for two minutes” and etc. were COMPLETELY foreign to me. I had to Google up most of them — powered by the undeniable paranoia that haunted me. I felt like a complete noob, a noob with a goal.

Youtube is awesome, I know what “scraping the bowl” means now.

I did what the box told me — cake wise — but there are just some things in which where you are on your own. Things like batter consistency, how much batter should be in each cup, and blah blah blah. So in a way, I wasn’t really cheating — for you would even fail with a cake mix if you had absolutely no idea what you’re doing. I did, in a way — but I was quite paranoid with my technique. This was probably one of the only things the Internet did not teach me — I had to use my own judgement.

My aim was to make lemon cupcakes (the mother rejects chocolate and it would be unfortunate if the father is the only one eating it), it’s a very light and endearing flavour — citrus goodness in such a fluffy pastry! To accomplish that, I’ve double-checked and assured that the batter was ready for pouring. Though I was scared, I was also really and intensely excited. I cook, not bake — this was a huge step for me.

Pouring it in…

Pouring batter on cupcake cups is a VERY messy process. Cake batter is thick, and therefore you get some of it in the most random spots across the tray. I tried my best getting most of it tamed by the spatula, and luckily — it cut me some slack.

Messy, messy, messy.

Launch!

The mother’s cupcake pan only satisfies 12 cupcake hopefuls, while my batter fits about 24. So while those babies were baking, I refrigerated the remaining for later (says Google) and began the countdown.

Batch #1 is done!

15-20 minutes later (with the help of the toothpick test), the cupcakes were done and ready to be out of the oven. I was extremely delighted on how well they turned out, and not the burnt nightmare that I was expecting. While I left them out to sit, I started on the the icing.

Cupcake cups, plain icing, and a lemon.

This baking session was pretty much pre-made (since I have the essentials sort of laid out and ready), but as always, I decided to create a twist on the original kick. With a little sorcery, I abused the icing to a flavour I wanted it to be and so far so good. As for the lemon, I skinned it off for it’s zest — now it’s sitting naked in my fridge. This part was my own creation.

Cupcakes, icing, and lemon zest. The lighting in the dining room is outrageously horrible — how do I manage to eat in this setting? Crazy.

As the second batch of cupcakes went in, I decided to start dressing these babies the way they’re supposed to look like according to the vision in my head.

Finished product.

The toppings were pretty much icing with lemon zest garnish. I’d love to pipe the icing, but unfortunately I don’t have the materials. I have a strong pet peeve with icing that’s just spread on  like butter on bread — it just… It must look pretty. That’s something I find extremely important — food wise, and everything-wise. It should look good and taste good — and it did! It also received some compliments from the mother (who is a woman that is very hard to please), which gave me some confidence in terms of my baking career.

Just to note: I had no set recipe for the cupcake — it something that just came on it’s own along the way. I mostly searched up techniques to not screw up the cake part, everything else was winged. I know I still have TONS to learn in this department, and I’m very excited to what else I can make!

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