Monday, August 9, 2010

Cupcake Disaster

Ready?

(Cue stabbing music from the Psycho soundtrack.)



I don't know what happened. They just EXPLODED in the oven.

"I think it was the baking soda," said my son. "That's what makes science experiment volcanoes explode."

He just might be right. I was laughing too hard to answer him.

"How can you laugh at something like this?" he asked. "It was a total fail!"

"Because it's funny!" I squawked, and laughed all the harder.

Margot Fonteyn was right: "The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous."

There are some recipes that continue to elude me. Chocolate chip cookies like the ones sold in David's Cookies shops in New York before they all closed. Perfect parmesan-truffle fries. Great pan de sal and salsa monja, two favorites from home. And dark chocolate-raspberry cupcakes like the ones I had at a friend's wedding.

But I won't give up. Better luck next time!

11 comments:

Elaine Fine said...

I have had this happen too. I think it comes from spacing out and adding twice as much milk to the recipe! It looks particularly dramatic in chocolate. Thanks for sharing!

Eric, AKA The Pragmatic Caregiver said...

Oven temp off? Dutch vs. natural cocoa powder? I'm a hardcore baker, but the pics don't show up for me.

Tell me about your Proustian ideal of a chocolate chip cookie, and I'll point you in a couple of my favorite directions.

T. said...

I think it was a combination of too much dairy plus too much baking soda, and maybe the cocoa powder was the wrong type...

Eric: my CCC ideal is and always will be David's - NOT the mail order junk we get these days but the boutique variety, fresh from the oven, with aromas wafting down the street pulling you inexorably toward the shop. The true David's Cookies cookie was a very pale shade of gold, very flat and soft and almost lacy, with little bubble-like markings on the surface (maybe due to an extra egg white?), and with a melty chocolate chunk right in the center that was like biting into bliss itself. I can't describe the taste except that no CCC before or since has tasted quite like it. Sweet but not cloying. Vanilla-y but not "flavored" tasting. Soft even after hours of sitting around (I'm not into crunchy CCC's). It was DREAMY.

Eric, AKA The Pragmatic Caregiver said...

Have you tried the CCCs from Jacques Torres? They're *thick*, but very chewy...they're also hugely laced with chocolate, due in large part to the use of flat discs rather than taller drops or morsels.

I'd actually suspect that the lacy appearance is due to a relatively high fat level and perhaps a use of the dreaded hydrogenated soybean oil shortening, combined with a relatively *low* moisture system, and a fair amount of white sugar as opposed to the more-strongly-hygroscopic brown.

I use cider vinegar to cut the sweetness, and there's a hefty dose of salt in my CCCs, both in the dough and sprinkled over the top (Maldon or something similar).

David's I don't know; unfortunately, I didn't start doing NYC in a serious way until the mid-late 90s, so I'm at a bit of a loss here for the archetype.

Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...

Wow what a mess. Bet it still tasted good....

T. said...

Peggy - the taste was pretty good, though of course I still think it needed some tweaking.

Eric - I think I saw an article about the Jacques Torres cookies. NYT, maybe? Checked out the recipe and photos on Martha Stewart for those - they seem yummy indeed, though as you note, thicker than boutique David's. I'm determined to work on a copycat recipe for the latter! It shall be mine! :)

Varsha said...

And I though I am the only one who is disaster prone in the kitchen

Kyla said...

Oh no! What a mess. I liked your son's hypothesis, though.

Anali said...

Oh noooooooo! : )
This is quite interesting, because I had a cupcake disaster on Friday. I put 1 tablespoon baking powder instead of 1 teaspoon. They looked fine, but tasted dreadful. I had to throw them all away. I couldn't believe it! Must be something in the air!

Kathleen said...

I had some implode http://responsibleone.blogspot.com/2007/07/cupcake-flop-again.html

and some explode http://responsibleone.blogspot.com/2007/07/cupcake-flop-again.html

Don't know what is worse.

I just chalked it up to baking fail...

The Bus Driver said...

HA! this is funny! Its like night of the living dead cupcake pan!

Hey at least i bet the chocolate tasted fine!