I've always felt like a bit of recipe blogger impostor. While I am confident in my cooking and baking and eating skills -- especially when it comes to quinoa and cookies -- I don't seem to have that same kitchen stamina that many of my counterparts possess.
If I'm ever starting to feel cocky about something -- making pretzel rolls from scratch or successfully poaching an egg -- I only need to click over to TasteSpotting or check out the goods that the amazing Eat My Blog bakers contribute to our bake sales to bring myself down to earth again.
I am continuously floored my what my contemporaries pull together for Eat My Blog. This past June, I was in awe of Pardon My Crumbs' pristinely-frosted cupcakes that came complete with evenly distributed sprinkles and crafty signs. My raspberry white chocolate macadamia nut blondies, while tasty, looked decidedly "home-sewn" in comparison.
So when Pastry Chef Kristin Feuer the oven mitts behind Bakelab, a Los Angeles-based retail and wholesale bakeshop, gave me one of her holiday cupcake kits to use for my own cupcake-decorating pleasure, I was a bit terrified.
"Oh my gosh, I would love to do that!" I'd responded when she'd asked me if I'd be interesting in using one on my site for a giveaway. She didn't know that I was secretly thinking, "Oh my gosh, I am totally going to screw this up."
As much as I enjoyed scrap booking for the three months I did it the summer between freshman and sophomore year of college, since then, I haven't attempted anything particularly crafty. When I've frosted cupcakes in the past, I usually go for the smear tactic, which results in what I refer to as a "lovable heap" of frosting. A good thing for the taste buds, but not necessarily good for aesthetics.
Even so, I'm always up for a kitchen challenge and was excited at the prospect of using the kit to accessorize the applesauce cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting that I was making for yesterday's Eat My Blog. It was the perfect time to stretch my baking limits.
Despite my desire to for once be the crafty genius behind the impeccably-presented treats, I still couldn't help slathering the robustly-sized and robustly-spiced cupcakes with the tangy frosting like I always do. I love a hefty cupcake with an equally hefty amount of frosting, and wasn't about to sacrifice the taste just so they could look neat and sophisticated.
In my mind, however, it was still the perfect blank canvas for the items in Bakelab's holiday cupcake kit that includes 24 cupcake liners (12 green + white carnival stripe and 12 silver foil), blue sanding sugar, white snowflake sprinkles, 6 old-school plastic reindeer, and 6 hand-tied ribbon flags, and 6 hand-stamped sugar buttons.
Once I was over that initial terror that I was going to mess up my sloppily-applied blank canvasses, I was excited by the prospect of using the cutesy, thoughtfully-selected items to jazz up my mini cakes. I felt like a kid in art class and relished the creative freedom that each frosted-top presented me.
Of course, the best feeling came yesterday at Eat My Blog, when Lesley Balla of Chow Balla declared my reindeer-topped cupcake "cute!" and snapped a picture of it on her camera. I couldn't have been more delighted.
I'm equally delighted to announce that Kristin was generous enough to give me two extra holiday cupcake decorating kits to give to two of my readers. To enter the contest, simply leave a comment telling me what kind of cupcake you would make with the kit by this Friday, December 10th at 5 pm. I'll stick everyone's name into a hat and pick two winners that night.
If you are interested in purchasing one of the kits as a gift or are too anxious to get your hands on those reindeer to wait until Friday, Bakelab is selling them for $12.95 on their website.