The Harbinger Online

Baking Bad: Lavender Cupcakes

If I had to count how many times I swear to myself that “I will never bake again,” I would probably get really confused. And yet every time, without fail, I always end up baking for this godforsaken blog.

This may be a surprise to you, but last Friday was Valentine’s Day. As someone who’s known as “that girl who bakes,” I obviously had a lot of expectations to live up to. I started planning early in the week what I would end up baking; in the end I decided on raspberry brownies, strawberry cupcakes and acres upon acres of sugar cookies. While the story of my mild success but overall failure in that venture might be entertaining, that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

The time I spent baking for Valentine’s Day was grueling, but what made it even worse was realizing I couldn’t even use what I’d baked for my blogs. And yes, before you ask, I did forget to take pictures and document the 10+ hours I spent baking and decorating. When I sat down to write my blog I realized my folly, so I cried it out for a bit and tried to come up with a game plan. There was no way in hell I was going to bake another batch of 120 cookies, so I decided on something easy and not-at-all time-consuming: a single-serving cupcake.

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I’m actually pretty proud that I thought of this. I mean, who actually has time to bake multiple things? No one. Ever. And with that mindset, I set out to work.

After gathering what little ingredients I had, I painstakingly measured out everything by the tablespoon. The cupcake batter only took about 10 minutes to mix together, seeing as there was so little. To spice up the recipe, I decided to add some crushed lavender to the mixture, which also gave it a purple tint.

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Once I’d poured the batter into a single cupcake mold, I set it in the oven and gave it a little wave goodbye. It felt almost like leaving my child at pre-school for the first time, except I was forcing my child into an oven at 330 degrees. While my child baked, I set about making a tiny amount of icing. I decided to add a bit of lavender and some purple food coloring to the icing to go with whatever weird floral theme I’d decided on. Although I thought adding the purple food coloring would make the icing prettier, it ended up making it a trashy, neon color that looked like it was swatched from the “Bangerz” album cover.

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When the timer finally went off, I removed my little cupcake and threw him in the freezer to cool down. While he froze, I considered what to do next. Lavender is pretty light and delicate, so the cupcake needed another flavor to complement it. And then, like that time Harry cast “sectumsempra” on Draco, it hit me: lemon curd. Yes. Lemon is strong and powerful, and it doesn’t take any crap. Lemon is the Leslie Knope of flavors.

I grabbed the cupcake from my freezer and went about coring it. What I did next changed the history of cupcake-kind forever: I filled the middle of the cupcake with lemon curd. It was daring, indeed, but God willing it would work.

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After smoothing over the top with my neon-puke icing, I looked it over. He looked like the kind of trippy mushroom you only see in a Mario game, but he also looked delicious.

Upon the first bite, lemon exploded in my mouth. The lemon curd gave the cupcake a tart punch, but managed to not overpower the lavender. The icing, although a bit off-putting, also added to the cupcake’s floral flavor, but gave it a sweeter edge. After that first bite, I may or may not have shoved the whole thing in my mouth, Hannah Horvath-style. But I’ll keep that a secret between me and the cupcake.

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As much as I hate baking, I also really love baking. I constantly promise myself that I’ll never bake another morsel, while also breaking that promise on a weekly basis. Me and baking, we’ve got a love/hate relationship. A “hove” relationship, if you will. The small (literally) successes like a lavender cupcake make it worth it, even though the failures are more than discouraging. And if I’m going to make one last reference in this blog, let it be this: failures can get you down sometimes, but like Dory the fish said, you’ve just gotta keep swimming.

Or baking. Especially baking.

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