Sunday, November 14, 2010

Martha Stewart: FAIL

Remember that post a while back when I was complaining about the scorching heat and wanting to bake delicious fall dainties? Well, I finally got around to attempting that Boston Scream cake. The result? Anna wins. Martha LOSES LIKE A BIG LOSER.

The plan: delicious chocolate pumpkin cake with cream filling and chocolate glaze for dessert at my family's weekly Saturday dinner.

The execution: So, realizing that I actually don't own round cake pans, I decided that I could probably successfully adjust the recipe in order to make cream filled cupcakes, Ming Makes Cupcakes style. I cut the cake batter recipe in half (since 12 cupcakes would be enough for my family), and adjusted cooking time. The cupcakes turned out fine. Nice and moist.

Then I moved on to the cream. It was supposed to be a spiced pastry cream. What it turned out to be was a lumpy, jiggly, disgusting mess. Twice. That's right, after the first failed attempt, I thought that perhaps I had measured the ingredients incorrectly, or perhaps I had neglected an important step in the cooking process, or maybe the heat was too high. Nope. After carefully measuring each ingredient and obeying each instruction AND turning the heat to low instead of the suggested medium, it still came out lumpy and gross, like someone had dropped some scrambled eggs into thick spiced milk. Not appetizing, and not something you want to put inside cupcakes. I abandoned the recipe and whipped up some spiced whipped cream instead.

"Perhaps someone wrote the recipe wrong on the site," I think to myself, and turn to begin Martha's recipe for the chocolate glaze. My theory, however, is revised shortly after. Once I realize that the proportions the recipe has called for are essentially just producing chocolate milk, I decide that Martha is trying to fool me into making a horrible baked monstrosity filled with evil and topped with soggy. She wants me to fail and to feel inferior and small. I say NO, dump out most of the milk, and continue on and make my own superior ganache, sans recipe.

I topped the cupcakes with the ganache, let it set a bit, and then put a dollop of the spiced whipped cream on top. Came out pretty tasty.

All this to say: I'm on to you, Martha.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Once Again

Why do I always think of so many things I would rather be doing than grading on the night when grades are due? I'm not in bad shape this time around (just 13 one-page essays to grade before midnight--easy peasy), but I still find myself looking around and thinking things like, boy, I should do the dishes. Or straighten up that corner. Or rearrange the library. Or bake pumpkin bread. It's like my brain is out to get me.

Is this some weird procrastination instinct left over from school? I could be done with these essays probably in about two hours, and then I would have the entire evening to myself, but my brain says "No....why would you want that? Don't you love the thrill of being down to the wire? Tired, half-crazed, caffeine making your heart race as you blast through the last few essays just as the clock strikes 12? Isn't pumpkin bread more important to you right now???" And I say to my brain, "No, not really. You don't know me at all." (But my brain is a little bit right. My brain and I have a rocky relationship sometimes.)

I think my responsibility organ might be growing a little, though. Because last time I posted about the things I was going to do, grading was not included among them, and I actually--get this--decided to grade instead of doing all of those other things. Who am I?

Apparently, I'm the girl who's going to finish her grading before seven tonight. That's who.