novice baking

last year, as it happens every year, i've been longing for a mental challenge.  surely, with triplets, there are a myriad of trials to be had daily - some minor, some major, some new (which then winds up consuming a decent chunk of the little energy i have), and some repetitive.  yet, i yearned for a different kind of challenge, and definitely one that was not triplet-related.  i needed an outlet to my sanity, so i chose to bake. 

my decision arrived around the middle of 2009, when all i asked for my birthday was a $30 hand-held mixer.  a stand mixer is a true beauty that i've admired from afar for a long time, but i didn't deserve it yet.  i've never truly baked before.  i often invested in boxed cake and brownie mixes.  as for cookies, i hardly even settled for cookie dough and merely bought them already made and packaged.  pepperidge farm double-chocolate milanos are my favorite!  occasionally, though, i would crave for something really good, and hubby would be nice enough to oblige and pick up a slice or piece of something for me at a nearby bakery. 

i grew up adoring sweets and pastries.  my family often had get-togethers, and of course, there would always be dessert.  stand-alone bakeries were also prominent in hawaii - you'd pass by at least one wherever you headed.  however, i hadn't become interested in the act of baking and its art until i was in new york several years ago and introduced to specialty bakeries, like cupcakeries or french bakeries, which adorned beautiful little packages of sweets.  i wasn't crazy enough to jump into that kind of stuff, though.  the initial goal of my newly-claimed hobby was to learn how to make good and basic goodies such as cookies, brownies, muffins, and cupcakes.  i was also determined to make cupcakes for my sons' birthday a few months later.

the first cake recipe i tried was a semi-homemade cake one (boxed mix + other ingredients).  it was chocolate, my first pick in flavors.  it was simple, inexpensive, and unbelievably easy.   i found it on allrecipes, and i made it a handful of times experimenting with chocolate, yellow and butter-flavored mixes.  my family appreciated each version.  i chose to frost the cupcakes with one from a scratch recipe, and looking back, i could not believe i ever bought the ready-made frosting in the can.  i always considered them way too sugary, even for my sweet tooth!

certainly, i had already made up my mind from the get-go which flavor to make for my boys' birthday - chocolate.  my sons loved them, and the cupcakes were a hit with our guests.  to top it all off, i was rewarded with the gratification that i made them myself.

you can find the recipe here.  i baked my cupcakes for about 20 minutes.  enjoy!