The Great Cupcake Experiment.
Lately I've been getting the craziest urges to bake something. I'm not really sure why, but it's been gnawing at the back of my brain for the past week. While Lauren and I were out at the gas station picking up a bag of sugar, we spotted a box of cake mix sitting nonchalantly on the shelf nearby. Being the wonderful sister she is, Lauren graciously got me a box of this cake mix. Sadly, we are poor college students newly moved into an apartment, so we're currently lacking in the necessary ingredients to bake things from scratch. Boxed cake mix it would be.

Smart as I am, I didn't look at the extra needed ingredients until we had walked home; we didn't have any oil, and we were down two eggs. Having baked plenty of things in the past, I knew that baking was an exact science; however, last night I was feeling daring, so I threw caution to the wind and substituted the oil for butter. Who cares if I only had one egg? This was an experiment.

Upon throwing everything together, I noticed the back of the box instructed me to beat the mixture for about two minutes before baking. I usually take a rustic approach to baking, so I rarely use a mixer; we currently had no mixer in the apartment, so I took the experiment a bit further: the blender! It's basically the same principle, right? Just mixing a bunch of stuff together. Feeling pretty clever, I dumped the clumpy batter into the blender and hit Liquefy. The blender made quite a racket, but I noticed there wasn't much blending going on. What I neglected to realize is that things put into a blender are traditionally not as thick as batter; indeed, the cake batter was so thick it refused to whirlpool down toward the blades. While the bottom of the mixture blended nicely, the top remained a clumpy mess.

No prob, I thought. I can work around this. I dumped the batter back into the mixing bowl and poured a little into the blender. I blended it, poured the mixture into a muffin tin, blended some more, rinse, repeat. Pretty soon I had a full muffin tin, which I chucked into the preheated stove, set the timer for eighteen minutes, and waited. Ding--nope, still gooey inside. I'll set it for two more minutes. Ding--no, still kind of gooey. Two more. Ding--wow, now that was interesting.

The two center cupcakes ended up kind of exploding over eachother like a pair of cake batter volcanoes creating a new cupcake landscape, usurping my precious discount muffin tin. Unable to control the chaos, I allowed the volcanic warfare to continue until the cupcakes were completely baked. Burning my hand on the oven (again), I pulled the rogue cupcakes out and plopped them onto the stove. In spite of the explodie cupcakes, the majority of the luscious baked goods looked fine. I had cheated the baking gods and improvised a recipe! I was feeling pretty good--until I tried to take them out.

The first cupcake came out nice and clean, if a little hot. Poking the second one free with a fork, I lifted it out--and found the bottom of the cupcake still clinging to the muffin tin. Even with the skill of a surgeon, most of the cupcakes only came out halfway. I cursed the blue bottle of spray butter sitting innocently in my fridge for not doing its job. What I had was essentially muffin top.

Defeated, I scooped the forlorn cupcake bottoms out of the tin and piled them up in the center of the cooling pan (which also doubles as the pizza pan as its day job). It might have been a tricky job, but I had successfully baked cupcakes with a third of the ingredients missing. Now, all that was left was tasting.

Damn, are those things good. What were those other two eggs for, anyway? The cupcakes turned out moist, light, and fluffy--pretty much how they were supposed to be. I oughta follow my baking instincts more often, I think.

So, now I have twelve little golden muffin tops waiting for me at home, well protected from wandering kitty paws in their sturdy plastic bag. I look forward to feasting on them heartily after dinner tonight. Heck, I think I'll have one when I get home.
Unknown at 6:09 PM

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