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Snowflake cupcakes and a bone to pick

Close-up of a cupcake with blue frosting and a snowflake decoration on top

The New Year is upon us.
How crazy is that?
2009 has brought me many blessings, many memories and many added pounds from all this damn baking!
If I could tell January 2009 self that the 20 pounds that I wanted to lose, would be 20 pounds gained I would probably not have baked and blogged so much, probably wouldn’t have sold so many cookies and cupcakes and probably wouldn’t have encountered so many awesome people in the blogging world. So, while January 2010 self has a bit of a weight battle, with each pound gained was an enjoyed moment…delicious buttercream, tasty truffles, oh-so-yummy cupcakes. So with the same verve I showed for butter and sugar concoctions I plan to limit myself. Notice how I said limit…
That said, please take a moment to listen to me rant.
See these snowflake cupcakes?
Well, I made them for a “Winter Fun Party” for a friend. She asked for a mix of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. No prob.
Here’s my mistake…I didn’t use my usual vanilla cake recipe, my tried and true (and delicious) recipe.
I do this sometimes…I finally figure out the perfect recipe for something, make it many times and then get a littIe bored. Assuming that there must still be something better out there. Am I the only one here?
So, since this was a friend, I decided to deviate from tried and true vanilla cupcake and re-try a recipe that I didn’t have such great luck with before.
I know, I know. Dumb.
I pulled out the Martha Stewart Cupcake book and gave the Yellow Buttermilk cupcakes a second chance. First time around, I ended up with good tasting, yet dry-ish, dense cupcakes.
Thinking that I must have made an error somewhere I tried again.
They came together nicely and baked great.
I assembled the cupcakes and delivered them.
Side-note: I had a little extra cake batter leftover while making these so I baked a small little cake to enjoy with the “extra” frosting I made. I always seem to have “extra” frosting, it’s one of those sneaky little tricks I play on myself when making buttercream…make a little extra, just in case. Hence the 20 extra pounds.
Back to the cake ~
First bite = disappointment. It was the same dense, dry-ish cake that it had been the first time around. Not my normal cupcake. I could kick myself for being so dumb.
Please explain this to me, all of you bakers out there…
The Martha issue.
How can someone so famous for being a baking/cooking extraordinaire be so off a good portion of the time?
I am not writing this in vain. I have tried many a Martha recipe, cupcakes included, where I was left feeling like I was missing something. Did I do this wrong, or is it just a bogus recipe?
I WILL say this, some of her cupcakes are phenomenal. Truly. But for a person who makes a gazillion dollars, don’t you think that her plain yellow cupcake, would be a good one? It’s a basic, right?
I have long been a Martha follower and understand that all recipes are not winners, or at the least “not my taste”. But we are talking yellow cake here, not some insane baking challenge. I know I am not alone on this. I have read about other Martha disasters, but I just expect more from a woman whose whole existence makes a good portion of us feel less-than-worthy. I watch her show sometimes and can feel the pretentiousness oozing through the screen. Maybe this is just her way, not her intention, but seriously…yellow cake. Come on!
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the worst cupcake ever, and it was my fault for making them when it counts. But I trusted Martha.
At least they were pretty.

Please don’t hate me for ranting, especially when the topic, I am assuming will be polarizing, I just had to get that off my chest.
Hope everyone has a safe New Year’s!

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29 comments on “Snowflake cupcakes and a bone to pick”

  1. Well now…
    Let me say…
    I did enjoy this post!
    For two reasons…
    I can relate to the fricking extra pounds due to baking…
    I have never been a Martha fan!
    Granted…she's talented…
    but I've just never meshed with Miss Martha.
    And you are absolutely right…her yellow cake mix…
    for crying out loud should be a for sure thing!
    All of that negative being said…those cupcakes are sooooooooo cute!
    They are oh so cute!
    The blue is perfect.
    Are they those little mini cupakes. Love your blog!
    And thanks for popping over to Bainbridge!
    DO come again!

  2. Hi, I just started reading your blog, but I love it! I'm kind of a wannabe cookie/cake decorator πŸ™‚

    I agree with you about the Martha recipes. I've tried several of her cake recipes that came out too dense and dry.

    In fact I've had trouble finding any cake recipes that I think are great. That's why I'm kind of embarrassed to admit I use cake mixes a lot – they're just do good…

  3. Yes, yes, once i find a perfect recipe i deviate too and am always sorry!!!! How did u make the snowflakes? royal icing? sooo cute!!!!

  4. I've made my fair share of MS recipes and while I like her, I don't think all of her recipes work. They have flaws and the recipes in her books that are online on her website, even though thtey're the same title and picture are not the same. How does that happen?

    I know how that happens, she hires people to do this all day long and she doesn't taste or tes them herself. How can you put your name on something like that? The last two MS recipes I made were duds- brownies and crumb cake. The brownies were okay just not my tate, but the crumb cake was awful- over 4 sticks of butter went in the trash!

    On that note, happy new year!presed

  5. betchacanteatjustone

    I have found a lot of Martha's recipes to be a bit on the bland kinda blahish side which is why I haven't purchased her cupcakes book but I've also made some really tasty Martha recipes as well! Your snowflake cupcakes are gorgeous though! Happy New Year!

  6. Thank you for sharing your frustrating Martha experience . . . I too have had trouble with several of her cake recipes turning out dry. I thought I was doing something wrong, and figured it couldn't possibly be a faulty recipe if it was from Martha! Now I'm seeing the light . . .

    Anyway, the cupcakes are really cute, and I'm sure your friend was grateful for them no matter what recipe you used!

  7. Sorry you had such a disappointing experience with Martha's recipe. I have not bought any of her cookbooks for that very reason, her recipes seem to be wonderful or awful. Your cupcakes are beautiful, though!!!

    And I hear you about making extra buttercream…just in case…LOL!

  8. bridget {bake at 350}

    I'm with ya on several counts…I have gained 10 pounds since I started my blog. πŸ™ Could it be that when I'm not taste-testing, I'm sitting on front of the computer editing pictures and reading baking blogs?!?!? πŸ˜‰

    2nd…I do the SAME thing. Get bored with a perfectly good recipe thinking there is something "better" out there. This drives my husband crazy.

    3rd…I've heard this from lots of bloggers about MS…I'm almost afraid to write it! It makes me nervous every time I open one of her cookbooks. I've had pretty good luck so far, but I know my time is coming! πŸ™‚

  9. Well, you are right, they ARE beautiful cupcakes! I have had the same experience with a couple of "Martha" recipes too! You are not alone:) Love your blog! Happy New Year!

  10. I do the same thing with recipes. Try a million to find the PERFECT one and then later think "Hey, maybe this one would be better."

    I have read enough complaints about Martha recipes on reviews of her books to make me steer clear. I just don't trust her.

    The snowflake cupcakes are gorgeous!

  11. i had the same experience with her yellow cake. not good. I LOVE her white cake recipe though.

    and i hear you on the 20 extra pounds!! why can't sugar and butter make you LOSE weight instead of gaining?

  12. Thanks for stopping by to comment on my Hunks of Gingerbread. I love your snowflake cups. So pretty. Have a wonderful new year. πŸ™‚

  13. Jenn @ BentoForKidlet

    I feel better hearing you say that because while I love Martha, some of her cupcake recipes have let me down as well. I tried a boston cream pie one that I thought would be amazing and it just wasn't…it wasn't nasty but it was not the caliber I was expecting! I think when you are following a Martha recipe you're expecting it to me something phenomenal!

  14. SprinkleBakes

    Cute cupcakes, but yes, the Martha thing. I have a theory that she relies on her battery of art/cooking/baking slaves (er, employees I mean) to come up with recipes and crafts that she probably does not test herself.

  15. High Heels and Aprons

    I couldn't agree with you more! Before I say this, let me say that my Martha books are always my "go to" books. That said… I have run into the same problems, (Basic Yellow Cake 101 comes to mind) I wonder if she leaves something out to make us feel like we can't do it like her! Just a thought. Your cupcakes turned out beautiful! Happy New Year!!!

    Ally @ High Heels & Aprons

  16. I agree. I made Martha's coconut cake (a very long process) for my sister-in-law's birthday and it was dry. I can't ever recall making a successful Martha recipe — oh yeah – one – the 40 crepe hazelnut cake – that was good.

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