Saturday, April 16, 2016

Tale of a Crazy Cupcake Maker


I work full-time by necessity. At night, I bake and write to my heart's content. 
Occasionally, I seem to forget I work 40+ hours a week and volunteer for a baking project. (smile) Yes, I took on a baking project for work.
Did I mention that I work at a rural, elementary school? No? Well, I do and I took on a now annual project. 
It's annual because this is the second time I have volunteered for this particular project. Yep, I know   c---r---a--z--y! 
Most school districts try to "pump up" the students about taking the annual spring assessment test for their state. 
Our school district also participates in this process to excite and enthuse the students about taking an hours long, computerized test. 
Last year"s theme for grades three to six was: "Superheros Fly Away With a Good Book."
My volunteer baking project was a trio of half sheet cakes decorated with superheroes and books. 
After baking, decorating, and transporting three half sheet cakes, I swore to NEVER take on three half sheet cakes again. 
Instead, a single half sheet cake with coordinated cupcakes would be MUCH better! Shaking your head and laughing at me aren't you? It's okay. I am doing the same thing, too. I'm enthusiastically c--r--a--z--y! 
Actually, my volunteer baking project turned into one hundred and fifty, ROCK the MAP! cupcakes.
Yes, I thought this all up on my own and the idea was enthusiastically received by my coworkers when I said I could this for......wait a minute.....drum roll please..... $50. 
The actual cost? $52.00 and 16+ hours of my evenings at home. 
Yep, c----r-----a----z---y! 
Anyway, my grand plan calls for:
  1. a cupcake to be placed into a 10 oz. party cup
  2. pipe orange frosting onto the cupcake
  3. place a fondant record decoration on top of the frosting
  4. slip the cup-ensconced treat into a clear treat bag. 
  5. THEN, decorate and close the bag with strands of yellow and black curling ribbon. 
  6. place the beribboned treat bag into a cardboard box
  7. deliver the cupcakes to work on the Friday before testing starts.
Piece of cake, right? Yep, this was going to be much easier that three, half sheet cakes.
Sunday evening from 6:00 P.M. to 6:30 P.M.
The grand plan begins with making three pounds of chocolate fondant and coloring it black. That should be enough for 150 - two inch disks wouldn't you think? 
Monday Morning from 4:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M.
I wake up at 4:00 wide awake and decide to roll out and cut the fondant records. After making a pot of coffee, I make 138 - two inch fondant disks. This uses all of the fondant that I made on Sunday. Time to dress for work and leave a note to myself, "Make more fondant! Need 12 more records.
Monday Evening from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
Time to make another pound and a half of chocolate fondant, color it black, roll it out, and cut 19 more two inch disks. Extra is a good thing!
Tuesday Evening
It was such a long day at work. I decide to hangout on the love seat with the hubby instead of decorating the 156 blank fondant records that are waiting for me. After all, I had until Friday morning.
Wednesday night from 6:00 P.M.- 10:00 P.M.
After supper, it is time to bake, package and box 150 cupcakes. After this task is done, I decide it's late and the frosting can be done on Thursday night. I also decide to wait until Thursday to make royal icing and decorate the blank fondant records.

Thursday Evening at 5:00 P.M.
I arrive home with 14 hours to finish this project! It's crunch time!
Immediately, I start mixing a large amount of yellow royal icing. It is time to pipe a circle and  "ROCK IT!"  on the 150 fondant records. 
At 6:00 P.M. my thoughtful, supportive husband announces he will buy and pick up a pizza for supper. He is a keeper!
Remember, I was supposed to have this done on Tuesday night, but didn't do it. 
Four hours later - at 9:00 P.M.
I finished adding a circle and 2-3 music notes on the last fondant record. 
I immediately make two double batches of orange frosting. My estimate said this amount will be enough for 150 cupcakes, and then the following process began:
  •  load up a 16 inch pastry bag with frosting
  • frost cupcakes until I have no more frosting in the piping bag
  •  add record toppers
  • place the completed cupcakes into a treat bag
  • put the bagged cupcakes back into a box - I have limited space in my kitchen.
Three hours later - at Midnight
I am beginning to wonder if I have enough butter cream frosting to complete my project. A quick check of the pantry reveals - No More Powdered Sugar
"I could be in big trouble!" runs through my tired brain. We live in rural Missouri and the nearest 24 hour Superstore is 20 miles away.
At 1:00 A.M. Friday Morning
I bow my head and pray to Jesus to extend my frosting. After praying, I realize I still have about two cups of yellow royal icing. I dump it into the orange butter cream frosting and stir the two together. 
There was just enough frosting to finish the last 26 cupcakes. I thank Jesus, make a pot of coffee and take a thirty minute break.
                                                 At 1:30 A.M. Friday Morning
It is time to start tying the lengths of black and yellow curling ribbon onto 150 bags. By now, I know it will take me at least 3 hours. I keep drinking coffee. 
                                                 At 5:00 A.M. Friday Morning
The last bagged cupcake receives it's ribbon and is placed back into the container. 
              Yep, I just pulled an all-nighter to make cupcakes. C--R--A--Z--Y! 
In spite of feeling like a crazy woman, I am also feeling a sense of accomplishment. After a quick sigh of relief, I start another pot of coffee, take a shower, dress for work, and fill my car with boxes of beautifully packaged cupcakes.

Moral  of the Story
 Thou shall not procrastinate to decorate!