Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ace of Cakes we ain't

We had NR's birthday bash on Sunday and it was a fine day for it. Sunny skies, warm but not too hot, tables in the shade and family willing to travel to our house in the hinterlands - good times. We chowed on rootbeer glazed ham, curried potato salad and baked beans. NR had chosen "ham on a ham bone" for his meal, so I finally found a ham shank that would fit the bill. Finding a ham that isn't pressed meat with water added is not as easy as you would think.

He also did a look-see through my copy of "Hello, Cupcake" (see the widget at the bottom for info on this fun cupcake book) and selected bowling pin cupcakes (of all things). I expected him to pick the sharks or the horses or even the big alligator, but nothing doing - it was bowling pins for the non-bowling kid. Alrighty, that was what he wanted, so that's what I was going to make for him.

Or make that "we" were going to make for him. Hubby stepped up to the challenge and almost single-handedly crafted these towers of cupcakes and donut holes. All would have been well if I hadn't made a mistake on the frosting side of it. Truth be told, I don't often do canned frosting because I don't care for the flavor. I have in the past used a canned cream cheese frosting that tastes pretty good so when the recipe suggested canned frosting, I went with my whipped cream cheese. Bad idea. The frosting needed to be warmed to a melty goo consistency so the cupcakes could be dipped (think chocolate dipped ice cream cones) and the bowling pins given their white veneer. Unfortunately, the whipped cream cheese frosting decompressed and turned a strange yellowy-white.

Never ones to be defeated by confectioners' sugar, we opted to merely frost the pins with the frosting and omit the dunking. The end result was a bit more impressionistic than we might have hoped but NR liked them just the same. As the birthday boy, he ate the one bowling ball that accompanied the pins.

Worry-wart that I am, I decided to make a back up dessert to the cupcakes. I just wasn't convinced that they would taste alright (they did). Our back up was a 7-UP cake - NR is a big fan of lemon/lime sodas. I had never made one before but the ingredients were fairly straightforward, if laden with butter. I mixed it up, plopped it in the bundt pan and hoped for the best.

I think, in the end, the cupcakes were favored more than the 7-UP cake. The cake was fine, if a bit dense like a pound cake, but it didn't have a big lemon/lime taste. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but if I made it again, I'd add some additional zing to the mix.

So, this is all a really long way of saying that hubby and I are not Aces of Cakes yet, but we gave a good attempt with those cupcakes. They were fun to make (when we weren't freaking out over yellow frosting) and how often do you get to debate the merits of carved donuts with your spouse?

If you are interested in the vintage 7-UP cake recipe, check out this one. I used a version from America's Lost Recipes, but this one is pretty close.


forsythia said...

It's the thought and the taste that counts, even if the cupcakes were a bit of a challenge. You're right about canned icing. It's icky, with a nasty after-taste.

Doralong said...

The boy had fun- that's the only things that actually matters.. And hey, there was a ham involved- how could this not be a good time???