However, as I mentioned to Zetta what my baking plans were--spice cake with cream cheese frosting--she asked if I could squirrel away some of the batter and make two spice cupcakes with pear. Pear?? And where would I put this pear, I asked. Top, middle, or bottom? And Zetta said, "bottom."
And that got me thinking. What if I sliced the pear really thin and used it to line the cupcake molds?
So this is what I decided to do, because I am a freak:
- try this pear-lined cupcake idea out
- but use a cake mix and a tub o' frosting
- so that if it turns out sucky, I won't feel like I wasted my time or my precious ingredients
- and if it works out, make a *real* batch of pear-lined cupcakes for the potluck
- real meaning, from scratch
Name of cake: Late Night With Pear and Brains
Occasion: Potluck tomorrow
Constituents: Spice cupcakes (from a box) baked in giant muffin tins with D'Anjou pears lining the molds and frosted with "cream cheese" frosting (from a tub)
At 6 pm, I thought I had plenty of time to make a couple of batches of cupcakes or whatever.
Then I called The Brains to see if he wanted to grab a slice of pizza and go grocery shopping and then help out in The Experiment.
Somehow we spent forever at the Fred Meyer and by the time we got back to his place, it was like, 10 pm. Then Brains cleaned up his kitchen (which used to be my kitchen, before I moved out and he moved in) and so I didn't get to baking until 11ish. Oi!
It was kinda cool to be baking away in my old kitchen. Many memories of crazy middle of the night baking escapades came flooding back. Oh, the times I spent, sitting by the stove on my stepstool, half asleep and waiting for the cakes to finish baking...
Man, you gotta love cake from a box. Well, not love in a delicious kind of way, but love in a spontaneous, in twenty minutes we'll have cake kind of way. When I bust out a cake, its more like in an hour or so we'll have cake! And lots of dirty dishes! Hurrah!
Brains only had one of those mega-muffin tins, where you pour in about two cups of batter per mold and you make 6 at a time. At first I protested about the huge size these cupcakes would be, but as he pointed out, these were only prototypes so who cares?
Brains donated his nicely ripened pears, and I sliced them fairly thin. The first pear I tried to peel and core but I mainly just mangled it, so the rest of the pears kept their skin which really didn't make a big flavor difference. It took about a quarter of a pear per giant muffin cup; each of which I heavily buttered.
The mega-cupcakes took about 30 minutes to bake; and the pear-spice aroma was heavenly. After a ten-minute cool down, I ran a thin spatula between the molds and the pear-lined cupcakes, and turned them out of the pan. Wow! It worked!! They all unmolded easily and without fuss, and they all kept their little pear straitjackets on.
We realised that having the pears on the outside and bottom makes them hard to eat, as the pears are soft and slippery. We thought about pear-upside down cupcakes, but then I thought we could just level the tops of all the cupcakes and leave them pear side up. Which looked pretty cool, I must say.
But, the frosting! Where was it to go if we kept the pears on top? Brains said we could just frost over the pears, which we tried. It worked, but I think the tub frosting totally overpowered the pears. We decided a caramel drizzle would be a better embellishment.
By the way, that tub of cream cheese frosting? I looked at the ingredients, and there ISN'T ANY CREAM CHEESE in the cream cheese frosting! If that isn't a reason to learn how to do it better from scratch, I don't know what is.
So what am I baking up tomorrow morning for the potluck? Spice cake with cream cheese frosting. 100% real.