. . . Cupcakes.

I have unfortunately not had time for baking or cooking this week. I've managed to find plenty of good food though. No problem there. But right now I'm slogging through grad school applications . . . and being conquered. But, do not fear! Amongst my cake making last week, I somehow found time to make cupcakes!

So, with the way things have gone so far, you would never know that I make a lot of cupcakes. I've made them like . . . what, once in the past few months? Unfortunately, cupcakes (at least exciting ones) are not easy to make at school. And at holiday time, there are so many cookies and marshmallows and cakes and everything else both to make and sitting around waiting to be eaten, that cupcakes don't usually happen then either. So, that leaves summer.

But never fear! The cupcakes are here! Thank goodness for New Year's Parties. They provide a perfect opportunity for making cupcakes that will not be sitting around forever with the cake, cookies, etc.
So, the method behind my madness was the idea that I wanted to make tiramisu for a friend for Christmas. Because I have never eaten tiramisu, let alone made it, that sounded daunting. Enter the cupcakes.

I have Martha Stewart's cupcake cookbook, and it's a lovely cookbook, but most of the cupcakes are so fancy and involved that I haven't made any of them. If I'm going to decorate them (which I usually do . . . ) it takes long enough without having the cupcakes take forever. Plus, if you're making, say tiramisu cupcakes, there's no opportunity for decorating, because there's a understood way that tiramisu is topped.

Anyway, all that is to say this is what happened in my head: "I can't make tiramisu because I don't know what it is, let alone how to make it seem authentic. [Pause] Oh, I have a recipe for tiramisu cupcakes. Then it doesn't have to be authentic because they're cupcakes. Perfect!"

Yup. That's how it went. These are the most involved cupcakes I've ever made, at least cake-wise. Not frosting-wise. Definitely not. Honestly, they were more complicated than the cake I made in five installments.

They required sifting,

heating (just until bubble form around the edges, of course. Who really heats 1/4 cup of milk?),
heating over simmering water,

pouring back,
more beating,

more mixing,

some thickening.
And six eggs.
Then, instead of my usual time consuming way of filling cupcakes -- a spoon -- mom convinced me to try using a ziplock bag. Which is a hint I've heard a million times, but never tried. This batter was so thin that it did save time . . . but not cleanliness. It was pretty messy, but it was a lot faster!
Phew. I also used 2 tsp. of vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean. I couldn't find a vanilla bean at the grocery store.

The "very strong coffee" only came about because of dad's invented coffee maker.
Then, these became the second cakes in two days that I brushed with an alcoholic liquid. I very rarely cook like this, I promise. They also got very soggy. But they are still solid. According to Martha, it's the extra yolks.
Because of timing, I had to let them sit over night instead of her 30 minutes. Hopefully they will be ok.

The frosting, on the other hand, couldn't be much easier. Three ingredients combine to make fluffy wonderfulness. Oh my goodness. Yum. (Thanks for the picture mom!)
I also got to "dallop" frosting for the first time. It's pretty quick and easy. And forgiving.
With a little cocoa powder on top, it actually looks like tiramisu. Crazy.
Now, I get to smell some really yummy and gourmet (for my mom at least) lasagna. Yum.
It's amazing what a fine strainer and some cocoa powder will do. I had to have mom and dad test them, since I don't know what tiramisu is supposed to taste like. They said they might suffice. :)


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