What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger….stand a little taller…

by Shumaila

Yesterday was one of those days when I wish I could be a kid again. Life was full of hope and dreams and filled with all kinds of opportunities.

It was simpler.

It was uncomplicated.

The only real problems being homework and exams. And the occasional peeing in your bed.

I am a strong believer of whatever happens, happens for good and that has kept me sane through the past few years, but sometimes the wait gets to you and you end up writing a depressing post like this.

Now, I have written my share of optimistic posts (don’t believe me? check this out and this) and not that I don’t believe in all that I say in those posts, I do. But for today lets just give the silver lining a rest, can we?

Since I was at my low point, I decided to step into the kitchen and bake.

Baking has a therapeutic effect on me. It’s one thing I can, on most days, trust to get right, even when I take little risks.

I thought of making a simple vanilla cupcake but only for two.

What can I say- I just wasn’t in the mood of sharing.

Yes, I can be selfish that ways.

(Well, it was more a question of scarcity of ingredients rather than personal preferences but even so, I can be selfish!)

I remembered some of the ratios from the “Nutella mug cake” cake and had a rough idea of the proportions to use. With no plan, no particular recipe in hand, I set off baking vanilla cupcakes just for two.

I wish life could be like that, you know- where you can work your way with no plan in hand, go into the unknown and come out if it shining (I know the optimists would be screaming that you can make life like that, but, as I mentioned a few paragraphs before, I am a pessimist today.)

So there I was in the kitchen, a pyrex bowl in hand.

I decided to give the stand mixer a rest, letting a fork and my very own hands do the mixing. Today, I wanted to be in full control. Also, since I was baking for two, there was no point dirtying so many utensils.

In the background, I put on some music and made the cupcakes.

Here, I want to give a special thanks to Kelly Clarkson for telling me to be Stronger, to Bruno Mars for making me feel amazing just the way I am, and to One Republic for reaffirming that it is indeed a good life. These guys just knew the right things to say to me at the right time. For that, I thank them.

And after twenty minutes the cake was done. With domes and all.

And while the cake would have tasted great on an ordinary day just on its own and hit all the right notes, today was not an ordinary day.

A cake would not suffice.

Ice cream had to be there.

So I took out the chocolate ice cream that I made the other day, put the cake and the ice cream and some milk in the blender (I used 2 % milk just to make it a little less fatty, so that when I add the whipped cream on top, I won’t feel as guilty as I would, had I used whole milk) and I blended it all to make an ice cream cake shake.

Then, I took a spoon and dug in.

Put on some dancing tunes and did the Cristina Meredith dance. If ever you have seen Grey’s Anatomy then you will know what I’m talking about.

I had to burn those calories. Else the weight gain issues that I am already dealing with would double and I would be back to square one- a relapsed depressed soul. Its a vicious circle, you see.

While I know things could be worse, and I don’t have it one-hundredth as bad as some others, but yesterday was the day when the optimist in me decided to take a day off and I was left to deal with it.

Hopefully, tomorrow I won’t have to fall back to such resorts. Till then it’s Ice Cream Cake Shake to the rescue!

By the way, I also got domes. I never get domes, but these tips that I had read sometime back, helped with getting that domed top cupcakes.

Tips for Domed Cupcakes:

One, is to let your batter sit in the muffin pan for about 10-15 minutes before popping it in the oven. When I first read it, it sounded weird because I always remember cookbooks saying that you should immediately put in the cake batter in the oven, else it won’t rise enough since baking powder starts acting the moment it gets in contact with a liquid. Those cookbooks were right, but these days you get double action baking powder, once acting up when mixed with a liquid and then again when it is subjected to heat. Along with this tip and the second one that I am sharing I have been getting domed tops.

Two, is to preheat oven to 400 F and bake the cupcakes for 5 minutes and then decrease the temperature to 325F and continue baking for 15-20 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.

Hope these tips help you get that domed look on your cupcakes like they did for me!