Don’t you think that makes more sense? Who really cares that he lives on Drury Lane? Come to think of it, I had the hardest time trying to figure out which Lane the Muffin Man lived on, because how many young children first learning their nursery rhymes and children’s songs have ever heard of “Drury” anyway? Not to mention it’s not exactly a word that’s easy to pronounce. For the longest time, I swear I thought the Muffin Man lived on Jury Lane.
I actually wasn’t going to start off with that. The title just came to me and inspired my spontaneous little rant about the Muffin Man. This post was really to tell you how to turn cupcakes… into pound cake. Sort of.
This was easily the worst baking venture I have ever undertaken. Let me tell you why.
I like my food tasty, but I also like my recipes to be easy. I like my cupcakes plain and I like the chocolate chip cookies that have the most “cookie” and the least “chip”. I like my oatmeal raisin cookies without the raisins, and my brownies without the icing.
After spending a grueling Saturday in the lab treating cells and running my experiments, I came home starving and craving cupcakes. This was supposed to be a basic cupcake recipe – minimal ingredients, and minimal effort. The last time I’d used it was quite a while ago. But I remember that they tasted great.
So what went wrong?
I couldn’t find my muffin pans.
Recalling another recipe for “plain white cake” that could be used to bake a cake or separated and bake plain cupcakes, I figured, why not? I hadn’t yet tried the cake recipe, but if it could be used to bake cupcakes, why cant this recipe be used to bake a (cup)cake? So I dumped the batter into a pan and stuck it in the oven.
When it was done, it really didn’t look too bad. Just like cake. And of course, I didn’t have cake icing so I used cookie icing. See how my letters got nicer as I went? 😉
But it just didn’t seem quite right. A little too resilient when springing back to a touch. Smells a little different. And just a little too heavy coming out of the pan.
Have you ever had those plain Asian-style cakes from Asian supermarkets or Asian bakeries? They’re usually called “honey cakes” or something of that ilk, and taste somewhat sweet, but are kind of dense and dry. This reminds me that Asian cake, except a lot denser. It doesn’t have a normal cake-like sponginess, but it’s not as hard as fudge. It’s not as moist as a muffin, but not as dry as a cookie. My roommate commented that it tasted “very neutral”. The only thing we could think of to describe it as is pound cake. And neither of us have ever had pound cake, to our knowledge, anyway. It just sounded right for such a heavy, dense… whatever this is supposed to be.
This is reminiscent of breakfast, not dessert.
My roommate also asked if I had put almonds in it. I think it was because I’d used olive oil in lieu of the “melted fat or salad oil” that the recipe called for. Not very specific – it could mean any number of things. And I use olive oil to cook, so it was the healthier alternative to melting butter. I think. But the last time I made these cupcakes, I definitely hadn’t made the transition to olive oil yet. I can’t remember if I used butter or if I used sunflower/corn oil. I will have to try this again and see.
So, lesson learned: cupcake recipes don’t make good cakes. Or big cupcakes. Or at least this recipe doesn’t.
I’m not a regular baker. I use the stove more often than not (okay pretty much every meal), and growing up in a Chinese household that didn’t even have an operational oven until about a year or two ago, I’d never had any self-baked goods until I decided to try my hand at cookies and cupcakes back in highschool. I used to have to bake using our toaster oven! My mother doesn’t know how to bake. It’s just not a big part of Asian cuisine. But she cooks a mean Chinese feast.
I know that people who bake regularly can approximate or even compile and make up new recipes as they go. That’s how I am when I cook with a pan-fry or stir-fry, so I wouldn’t be surprised if bakers do it too. So, any bakers who can dissect this mess?
I really should be putting this into a “Not-So-Yummies” category. But it’s edible, and definitely healthy-tasting. Like one of those low-calorie, sugar-free, fat-free, low-carb, half the amount of sodium type cakes.
Don’t think I’ll be trying this again.