Monday, March 28, 2011

Erin's birthday cupcakes: a story

The cupcakes formerly known as black and tans
Since Erin turned me on to the recipe for salted oatmeal cookies which, in fact, significantly improved my life, I thought she deserved a nice treat for her birthday.

And I came up with the perfect thing: black and tan cupcakes. Cupcakes made with Guinness. How excellent!

Now, take a look at that photo. Black, yes, but not too much tan, you might notice.

Sometimes, even the best-laid plans of a ninja go awry.

The cupcakes themselves emerged from the oven perfect: the Guinness made the chocolate taste richer, more chocolatey and dense. And perfectly black. I was halfway to birthday perfection.

Then I hit the wall: frosting. The tan of black and tan.

Believe it or not, I have never made frosting before. Anyone who has followed my posts knows that I'm more savory than sweet (on so many levels, really), so my baked goods are generally unfrosted.

But hell, you can't have an unfrosted cupcake. That's just a muffin.

So, an hour before I was to leave on my journey to transport these cupcakes across state lines for a board meeting at which said cupcakes would be presented and eaten, I started the frosting.

The directions were simple enough: combine confectioners sugar, more Guinness and butter and blend until thick enough to spread.

Yeah, right.

What I got instead was a gritty, soupy mess. All I can say for it was that it was indeed tan. Spreadable, no, but tan, yes.

What happened next continues to amaze me, even four days later: I remained calm.

Yes. Calm. Like a good ninja should be this ninja rarely ever does.

I put on my coat, grabbed my keys and drove to the grocery store. I bought the biggest can of whipped frosting that I could find, plus some of those neat spray-can frosting flower-maker-thingies and I frosted the bejesus out of those cupcakes.

Erin's birthday cupcakes. The cupcakes formerly known as black and tans.


  1. Seriously, who would eat a cupcake with tan frosting anyway?! Those look lovely--just eat then by candlelight and voila, they're tan. So proud that you didn't freak out, though.

  2. I'm with Achmed. The tan frosting sounds kind of gross. As much as I love homemade baked goods, I'm a sucker for store-bought frosting (just don't read the ingredients on the can!). :-)

  3. Peanut butter might be the secret to tan frosting, but who cares? These look beautiful and I bet they were delicious.

  4. Mmmm....peanut butter....I'm drooling.