Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Great Cupcake Fiasco of '09

I must confess, I am a chocolate fiend. I have tried to deny my baser instincts when it comes to the sweet luscious darkness that lays wrapped beneath festive foil wrappers. Santas, Easter Bunnies, and Eggs - OH MY! Chocolate makes me weak. There I said it and I will be starting a twelve step program next week.

Due to my openly admitted weakness,I was delighted I received an e-mail from a friend with a recipe for chocolate cake. Not just any chocolate cake, a special chocolate cake made in a coffee cup and cooked in the microwave in 5 MINUTES! (I will not divulge the enabler's name. They know who they are.)

Now some of you know that I am an avid cook, especially of deserts. I am the person who reads a recipe, tries it, tweaks it, and tries it again. I will even go so far as to research the recipe, read blogs, etc. So the thought of a 5 minute microwave chocolate cake gave me shivers and I do not mean the good kind.

For months I have put off trying this recipe. My ESP told me that no good could come of such a union as chocolate cake and a coffee cup, but tonight I pushed aside my foodie instincts. No matter how loudly my culinary muse, Julian, yelled at me, I ignored him and forged ahead. (Yes, my culinary muse is a man. In fact all my muses are men.) I took the time and researched this recipe and read what everyone had to say about it. There were mixed reviews, but I am a professional. Where others have failed-I shall be triumphant! (Insert Julian, standing by with his arms crossed over his chest, shaking his head.)

So I measured and I mixed. Sure I was a little leery of the three tablespoons of oil required, but hey...who am I to mess with a recipe that was given five stars by someone whose screen name was dreadloxx? After all they heralded the little cakes as AWESOME when you have the munchies. What better endorsement does one need?

The batter was ready, the microwave was ready, and I was ready. My Julian however, was busy sulking in the corner and calling the other muses to come watch what he assured them was "Joan's greatest culinary failure since the Chinese incident of 2002."

I was fearless. I was undaunted. I was really, really stupid. Somewhere around minute two of the cooking cycle I thought "is cake supposed to smell like that?" Point # 1) If you question the smell of something you are cooking, that is NOT a good sign. Soon the microwave dinged and I eagerly retrieved my cup of chocolaty goodness. It was still hot and sizzling. Point # 2) Cakes should never, ever sizzle. If a cake sizzles, that is NOT a good sign. But I had come this far so why stop now?

I flipped the cup over and the cake plopped onto the saucer. As all good chefs do, I poked the CUPCAKE with a fork. The fork bounced back. Point # 3) Forks should not bounce off cakes. If a fork bounces off a cake, it is not a cake, it is a sponge. Point #4) If it looks like a sponge,take my word for it, it will taste like a sponge. (Of course I had to taste it. The muses dared me.)

So what have I learned from all this? Well two things #1) To never take cooking advice from anyone who calls themselves dreadloxx and #2) To never doubt my culinary Muse again. Well at least he has something new to talk about.

Originally written February 2009

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