Day 162 of 366: Blog Challenge 2012

Hello all

Yesterday I slept in until 8am. This would have been ok but I was planning on surprising my daughter-in-law Belinda by baking some cupcakes and placing them together to form a cake.  

And an even bigger plan was to write her name in initials on the cupcakes. Remember it was her birthday yesterday (my blog

I knew her and Dan were calling in on their way to Surfers Paradise for a few days due to the lovely long weekend we are having thanks to Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday. This woman – Elizabeth II: Queen of Australia – does not actually have a birthday this weekend but hey, who cares when she has a birthday? It’s the holiday that counts isn’t it?

The perfect cupcakes like the ones in my head

And so my cupcake making was a little late in getting started but it did get done. Isn’t it interesting how you have this grand idea of surprising someone. You can SEE the finished product in your mind and that product is perfect. Every cupcake has a rounded top. The chocolate ganache on the top is smooth and tastes delectable. And as for those initials? They are perfectly written aren’t they? Of course.

You feel that you are an expert on writing on cakes with a little tube, one that shows the writing on the box as thick, glossy and written by a sign writer.

The only trouble is you have not written on any cakes for at least 30 years and you have never attempted it again because of ….? Because your efforts then for a child’s birthday were so terrible perhaps. REMEMBER?? So what has changed your mind NOW?

Age has given you a very bad memory that’s what has changed. It is so bad that you have now become bullet proof and can do anything … you think. And so the little project gets underway. All seems well until you look at the cakes in the oven cracking on the top as they rise and form a hollow in the centre of the cupcakes like a reverse volcano. So you can cope with that.

The ganache is made and is managing to fill up the hollow in  the centre. Okay all is going well then …  Now for the writing. Oh darn! This is harder than it looks but somehow you manage a letter on each cupcake: “B – E -L – I – N – D – A” in a scratchy chook-like scribble.

Oh No, the downward stroke going up …

You don’t even notice that you have written the ‘N’ with the downward stroke going upwards and wonder why later there are attempts from the family to try to put it up the right way (without success because it won’t be corrected) and then you realise why … and you all have a good laugh about it because it is rather funny isn’t it?

The Surprise!  Belinda was absolutely gobsmacked about her cupcake cake! She couldn’t have cared less about the backward ‘N’ or the imperfect cakes (that were a little dense and heavy). All that interested her was that I had gone to some trouble for her birthday and that made her feel good,  Amazing! It was reward enough for me.

The leftover cupcakes: the REAL ones!

I put it behind me and enjoyed the visit. My search for perfection was forgotten; the cupcakes I put out did not match the cupcakes in my head – but it was okay. I felt content. As Isaac helped us sing ‘Happy Birthday to Mummy’ and then blow out the two candles, it occurred to me that life is like that isn’t it?

The surprise you plan. The delicious meal you make for a special occasion. The restaurant you take someone to for a birthday. What you get isn’t always what you planned in your head. Sometimes there is disappointment. Once again, the “cupcakes” in your head do not match the cupcakes on the plate!

Today, I consulted a cupcake expert to help me perfect my cake making (they were called ‘patty cakes” in MY day) as yesterday was my first cupcake baking in at least 20 years. I consulted my daughter Maria, well-known to be THE expert cupcake maker of all time. A specialist in the family.

She informed me: “Mum, making cupcakes isn’t as easy as you think …” Well, she was right about that! She has given me a website with a link to a recipe to use in the future. It seems that cupcake making is an art. One which I gave no consideration to as I glibly prepared the ingredients and put on the mixer it seems.

I thought an old stalwart like me would manage something this simple in the cake making department, but like everything else that one ‘sees‘ in one’s head, the end result is usually nothing like it!  So folks, take a lesson from this. 

As I said to Maria on the phone today: why are we always aiming for perfection and when that perfection does not materialise we get all upset? Funny isn’t it? 

All people really want is someone to be thoughtful no matter what the end result. So don’t be stopped from doing something nice for someone. Just remember how things look in your head, go ahead and do it and enjoy the experience regardless of the outcome!

Take it from one who knows …