Move Over Betty Crocker

I’m entering unchartered territory as the girls get older…the obligatory birthday cupcakes. I made a batch of two dozen strawberry cupcakes with vanilla icing last week for Caitlin’s class in honor of her 4th birthday. A mixing bowl was unearthed from its dusty confines. Cupcake bling in cheery pastel colors was purchased. And although they weren’t from scratch, it did require some egg cracking and actual mixing with my electric mixer, which has been used as about as infrequently as Jessica Simpson’s brain cells. I’ve set the bar low all these years and headed straight to the baked goods aisle at the grocery. I mean why bake when you can buy? I’ll admit the kitchen is not really my comfort zone. The hubby? He loves to cook, although he’s definitely not a cookie baker, and can pan sear a mean tuna steak or whip up an incredible pasta dish from scratch. No recipe or cookbook guidance needed for him. Me? I need a little hand holding behind the stove.

Growing up, my mom always had a delicious homemade pie on the counter or banana or pumpkin bread. Of course if I did bake regularly I fear the scale factor. I’d probably weigh 300 pounds. I can’t resist Girl Scout cookies or crappy soft bake cookies from the vending machine, so homemade cookies, pie, or cake would send me into foodgasmic ecstasy. I’ll have to admit, though, that seeing Caitlin’s eyes sparkle as I pulled the piping hot cupcakes out of the oven filled me with pride and the sudden urge to wear a crisply starched apron and enroll in the next cake decorating class at Michaels. Caitlin helped decorate the icing (OK…OK, so the icing was straight from a can) with sprinkles. She was practically beaming when I carried the cupcakes into her classsroom in my mother’s Tupperware container (God I am such a mom now). Maybe I’ll relinquish the mixer from its banishment and whip up cupcakes a little more often, even if they are straight from a boxed mix.


  1. Colleen says:

    It’s the same in our household. My husband is the cook. I’m clueless in the kitchen. He calls me “Helen Keller of the Kitchen,” in fact.

    Your cupcakes sound divine. And, even if they were made from a mix, I bet they tasted much better than store-bought would have. They were made with love!

  2. mothergoosemouse says:

    I don’t cook, but I do bake. And I have to admit that I dig the compliments I get.

    You’re right – the look in our kids’ eyes when they see us making goodies especially for them is pretty awesome.

  3. Kristen says:

    I stick with mixes too. Actually, last Christmas I attempted to bake a cake from scratch. It was pretty good, but I couldn’t decide if it had been worth all the work.

  4. Liz says:

    Actually, I’ve read that even the most seasoned of bakers…use box cake.

    Kristen’s right, it’s not worth all the work – not with the likes of Betty Crocker and Pillsbury on the shelves!

    BTW – have you ever seen Food Network’s show, “Semi-Homemade?” If you can get passed her blonde thin-ness, Sandra Lee has some really great “quick and easy” recipes!

  5. Suburban Turmoil says:

    If you don’t like to bake, do yourself a favor and go to Ham & Goody’s. Best red velvet cake, strawberry cake and tea cakes I’ve ever had in my life. Hands down.

  6. mommyontheverge says:

    I just started to enjoy cooking and baking in the last 2 years, I caught Rachel Ray on Food Network, and that is where it all started!
    I saw this cupcake holder tray the other day, where it holds all your cupcakes like leaves on a tree. I know, that’s going a litte far, but hell, you worked hard on them, whey not display them!

  7. Shauna says:

    There’s a local author who has put out a book called The Cake Mix Doctor — I think she has also done a chocolate version and a cupcake version. Collections of fancified recipes using cake mixes for a base.

    On a related note, I think I could eat an entire bowl of buttercream frosting right now. Hmm.

  8. nancy says:

    I love to bake. But only when I have adequate time and energy to bake completely from scratch — so you can imagine how often THAT happens. 😉

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