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No ‘easy’ bake

Bethany J. Royer

January 2, 2014

I may be the only person on earth who can make soup dry or burn water, but I can bake. Such as making from scratch a long held secret recipe for coffee cake —coffee being a key ingredient— that sent one sheriff’s department into a frenzy for more over Thanksgiving.


So when one Ms. Wee Emma approached with a request for baked treats for her holiday school party I said, no problem, I can bake! Complete with hand on hip and one finger pointed to the sky before I realized children and coffee do not mix. Unless I want to draw the ire of an entire elementary school staff for all eternity.


Scrap went the fail-safe coffee cake followed by my shudder at the thought of attempting something new from scratch. That could be disastrous cause while I can bake, I cannot perform miracles, and feeding 30 mouths was not a time for experimentation. However, as motherhood requires a passive-aggressive competitive spirit I could not bring myself to buy anything pre-packaged either, that’s just lame. So I met the problem in the middle — three boxes of chocolate cupcakes that required nothing more than the addition of milk, eggs, water, oil and some heat.


Then it came time to bake and I’ll be honest, I just wasn’t in the mood. Perhaps it was fighting the makings of a cold on top of being really cranky? Cause who wants to bake three dozen cupcakes when in a sour mood and performing Hazmat duty … and did I mention being cranky?


But lo and behold, three hours of baking —some slamming of cabinet doors and more later— I had a dozen Hershey chocolate cupcakes and two dozen Smore cupcakes. Sure, there would be kids fighting over who would get chocolate and who would get Smores but that was a risk I was willing to take. Cause those cupcakes required a whole heck of a lot more than simply adding eggs, water, oil and some heat, let me tell you. There was melting butter, making a graham crust, taking the batter and putting only so much into the muffin liners cause one had to squeeze sticky marshmallow (or syrupy chocolate) into each, followed by more batter. This required math (And you know how I feel about that subject) along with 30 minutes of baking only a dozen cupcakes at a turn cause, apparently, I have something against owning more than one muffin pan at a time.


Then there was cooling which proved to be a precarious balancing act. The zombie family was a little spoiled at their former gig having come from a rather large kitchen to one about the size of a closet. Before the evening was done there were cupcakes cooling all over the place, hanging on window ledges and off book shelves.


Then —when all was said and done— Emma looked upon the chocolate-swirled tops and asked, “Where’s all the sprinkles?” Which sounded suspiciously like, “Where’s Martha Stewart and her confectionery works of art?”


Of course, the fun had only just begun as the following morning one Miss Wee Emma and yours truly walked up to Fort Knox, I mean, school. I was laden with three Tupperware containers of cupcakes with mini-me at my side as we approached the front doors where the bouncer wanted to know our business.


“Cupcake delivery?” I answered only to be asked the name of Emma’s teacher which was greeted with nothing more than crickets chirping merrily in my head.


I looked down to one Miss Wee Emma for help, a hint, something and got zip, forcing me to ask in front of the bouncer, “What’s your teacher’s name?”


“Baker.”


The irony mixed with the bouncer’s smirk and possibly an eye roll was more than words can express here but we were allowed passage. And you know, I’ve never been so happy to remove chocolate from my presence. In fact, I did a little jig on my way out the school door, after bee-lining the bouncer, of course.


Bethany J. Royer is the mother of two munchkins and has a serious case of psychology student senior-itis. She can be reached at bethanyroyer@yahoo.com.