Incredibly, snow could be on the horizon for the San Francisco bay area. Unlike dentists reviewing toothpaste, it seems all of the weathermen and women are in agreement that snow is just about guaranteed in the higher elevations and very likely at sea-level. This is newsworthy stuff, because if this region sees snow, it will be the first time since 1976. In preparation, I’ve been looking at old photos of the last momentous occasion and digging out my fluffiest, most hibernation-worthy sweaters.
I also decided to bake snowball cupcakes (the perfect possible-snowy-day treat), which seemed like a good idea (and simple enough) but didn’t go quite as I had planned. Maybe I should have made a To-Do list beforehand.
To give you an idea, this was my process:
- Look up recipe for White Cake in Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book. (I cannot stress this enough–you absolutely must use white cake. The point of a snowball cupcake is that it looks like a snowball: white cake, white frosting, a dusting of coconut.)
- The recipe is pretty straight forward and calls for flour, baking powder, salt, butter, sugar, vanilla, egg whites, and buttermilk or sour milk. Just thinking about these made-from-scratch treats is exciting. Get out all necessary ingredients and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Decide to reach for the stars and do laundry while baking. Congratulate self on ability to multi-task and similarity to glamorous 50’s housewife.
- Put load of laundry in and notice that stomach is growling. Decide that making delicious cupcakes while hungry would be cruel and just plain silly. Decide to eat lunch while baking cupcakes while doing laundry. Heat up unidentifiable leftovers and reassure stomach that yummy cupcakes are coming.
- Phone rings. Answer it and discover that it’s a good buddy. She’s bored and wants to discuss her cute new coworker. Give her the go ahead to describe his eyelashes in exquisite detail but warn her that baking/eating/laundry is in progress and nothing will deter the determination swirling in the kitchen.
- Cute Coworker’s eyelashes prove to be a heavy conversation topic. Must sit down and devote full mental energy to good buddy.
- Dogs scratch on back door, want out. Get up, open door, sit down. Dogs scratch on back door, want in. Get up, open door, only one pup comes in. Interrupt good buddy to call dogs. Yell names. Clap hands. Promise dog treats. Finally, dogs come in. Go to cupboard to get promised treats for spoiled dogs.
- Find Trader Joe’s Yellow Cake Mix in cupboard. Feel like Eve, tempted by the easy cake-in-a-box. Good buddy senses distraction and serious moral dilemma in the air, says goodbye. Hang up phone and contemplate the good and evil of Trader Joes.
- Decide cupcakes don’t have to be made from white cake. Decide that using extra white frosting will cover the yellow. Decide to go with Joe.
- Trader Joe’s Yellow Cake Mix only calls for 3 eggs, 1 cup melted butter, and milk. Get out butter, look at handy marking on butter wrapper. Markings say that one cup of butter = 2 sticks. Call wrapper a liar and proceed to measure melted butter. Realize wrapper was correct and mentally apologize to butter wrapper makers everywhere.
- Whip up easy Trader Joe’s cupcakes, push down guilt over original cupcakes-from-scratch plan. Decide to make spectacular, EPIC frosting. Use cream cheese, whipping cream, vanilla, tons of powdered sugar. Mix. Taste. Mix. Taste. Mix…Taste. Taste. Taste.
- Take cupcakes out of dinging oven. Overcompensate for box-cake mix by plopping ginormous spoonfuls of frosting on cupcakes and swirling with knife into dreamy, sugary cloud. Pour coconut in bowl and twirl cupcakes, upside down, in flakes.
- Pause to ooh and aah over pretty snowball effect. Accidentally-on-purpose push thumb into one cupcake. Proclaim that it’s unfit for public viewing and eat it. Inform the dogs that Trader Joe’s mix is darn good stuff.
- Remember laundry that’s been done for at least 45 minutes.
- Think about sticking thumb in another cupcake.
- Do it.
- Decide that no matter what the chance of snow is, there’s at least a 10% chance that all snowball cupcakes will be eaten by the time the flurries fall.