I offered to make cupcakes for a co-worker's birthday, and she requested chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing. Can do!! But chocolate cake can be kind of blah, so I decided to make a batch of the perennial favorite, yellow cake with chocolate icing, as well.
Made a double-batch of chocolate buttercream, and it was a moderate fail on several different levels. First, I finished off my bottle of McCormick's vanilla extract, and started on the bottle of Organic Vanilla Extract that I'd picked up on sale. Organic has to be good, right? Not so much. It had almost no vanilla flavor. I had to add more of it, and still, it just didn't flavor the icing as much as I wanted. So I added more cocoa powder to bring the flavor up a little. It's extra fudgey icing! I'm not going to finish the bottle... must get a different kind STAT. So that was moderate fail #1.
Moderate fail #2 was the decorating bag. I used a 16" disposable bag with 1M tip, and the icing was a little stiff because of the extra cocoa powder (sifted, of course, per Alice's instructions!), which isn't necessarily a bad thing; stiffer icing makes prettier swirls.
Stiffer icing also requires more hand strength to pipe out. And hand strength isn't my strength, if you'll pardon the pun! Not only that, but the bag seam split a little. <sigh> So I cut off the end of the bag, dropped the tip into a 12" bag, and squeezed the icing from the big bag into the little bag. Cut the end off the new bag and we're off to the races.
Only, there's another fail. I didn't push the tip down far enough, and when I squeezed the bag, the tip came out. Bag #3, coming right up. Finally finished the chocolate cupcakes, only to have a batch of yellow cupcakes waiting cheerfully for their icing. Naptime.
After a brief nap, I came back downstairs to find that my house elves had NOT finished the icing job. So I loaded my bag again and hit the second batch of cupcakes. They're pretty standard, not worth taking pictures of. Not to mention I'm pretty tired of looking at cupcakes.
My hand is sore, my shoulder is aching, and I've got way too many cupcakes in the house. I sent some home with a friend, will take a dozen to the birthday girl, and another dozen for the folks at my day job (who are all on Weight Watchers, so they won't get eaten), and another bunch will go to VOICEcorps tomorrow afternoon.
Too many lessons learned today! Stick with the vanilla you know, or find one that has been reviewed well. Don't overload the piping bag, and don't forget the details when reloading bags. Most of all, only make ONE batch of cupcakes at a time until the hand strength is better. And you know what? I don't think I like Betty Crocker cake mix. Too crumbly.