We had another baking contest at work this spring. I have a long history with work baking contests. To make a long story short, I came in 2nd the first time I entered, and 5th the second time.
Now I'm not a professional baker by any means, but I am well known for making delicious treats from time to time. And, if you know anything about me, you know that I'm uber competitive and don't lose very well.
So, after the failure of the last baking contest still fresh in my mind, I set out to make something spectacular this year. I was perusing the internets when I stumbled across a recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Filling and Meringue Frosting. They sounded delightful. I had found my recipe! I also ordered beautiful black and white damask cupcake papers from ebay, and was sure these mini bundles of joy would catapult me to at least the top three.
I was tired and grumpy the night I had to bake my entry. I didn't want to even do it, but felt that I had made a commitment and was obligated to. So I cleaned my kitchen and began to bake. The batter was a cinch. My ancient Mixmaster didn't even smell like burning (like it sometimes does) as I whipped the ingredients together.
Next was the lemon filling. That was a little more labor intensive. I had to mix the ingredients in a metal bowl over a boiling pot of water. I didn't have a metal bowl, so I thought a glass bowl would suffice. Even with the substitute bowl, it came together quite nicely.
I then spooned a little batter into each cup. I had to make sure there was enough batter to cover the bottom, but not so much that it would rise too high and overflow. I then carefully and so lovingly spooned the filling into each one. After the filling was in place, I topped off each cupcake with a little more batter and put the bad boys in the oven to bake.
Up next was the meringue frosting. This seemed daunting, but I figured I was up for the challenge. I had to do the same bowl-over-boiling-water deal, so I washed my trusty glass bowl that had been a champ so far, and set everything up. I carefully divided the eggs, putting the whites into the bowl. I added the other ingredients as per the recipe and began to whip it all together when CRACK!!. The bowl split and my beautiful meringue fell into the boiling water. By this point I had been working on these cupcakes for over an hour. I was even more tired and more grumpy than when I had started. I was also suffering from an unfortunate syndrome that seems to afflict me on a monthly basis. Feeling like all my hopes and dreams of winning the contest fell into the boiling water with the meringue, I stood in the middle of the kitchen and just started crying.
My husband heard the kerfuffle and like a knight in shining armor ran to my rescue. He cleaned up the mess and gave me a big hug. We then checked on the cupcakes together, and in trying to make sure the lemon filling was fully covered, I had filled some of them too full and they had overflown. By this point I was ready to throw the whole lot out the window.
Once they had finished baking, I pulled them out and surveyed the damage. Only 5 were in decent shape.
Lowen and I ate the ugly ones for our snack, and they were actually really tasty. Although I was disappointed to see that the filling didn't remain separate from the batter, but had baked in with the cupcakes making them normal, but lemony, cupcakes.
I brought my 5 cupcakes to work, and my mom came to the rescue and brought a jar of vanilla icing. I iced the cupcakes, put a few curls of lemon zest on each one, and arranged them on a fun plate. I thought it would be enough to maybe get into the middle of the pack, or maybe even come in third!
|Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon "Filling" and "Meringue" Icing. |
(sorry for the poor quality picture - I took it with my phone)
Once the judges had done their judging, they announced the winners. Thankfully the guy who came in first last year with his Moist cake ("Moist" is the worst word in the English language, in my opinion) only came in second this year. But I didn't place at all. I snagged the judges score sheet and looked at the results. Fourth.... nope. Fifth.... nope. Sixth.... Seventh.... Eighth... yep. Eighth. Out of eight. Dead last.
That's it. I quit.
Here's where I filed the recipe: