Cupcake Catastrophe

This post by Jennifer Flaten

While we were at the grocery store, my daughter asked if she could make cupcakes to take to her drama class. I said it was okay and she ran off to find a box mix.

Later when it came time to make the cupcakes I found her pouring over a cookbook. I asked her why and she told me she didn’t want to take just the box mix cupcakes, because then they weren’t homemade.

Personally, I thought it was silly to make a batch of box mix and a batch of from scratch, but either way I got a cupcake so who was I to argue.

She settled on the boxed chocolate cupcakes and a from scratch yellow cupcake. Halfway through making the yellow cupcakes, she realized she needed sour cream. That is something I don’t keep on hand, so the mixing stopped and we made a special trip to the corner market.

Now my kid loves to talk while she bakes, I see a future for her as a cooking show host, because she can measure and mix while keeping up a running patter. She mixed and chatted her way through the recipe. Finally, she popped both batches in the oven.

2014-01-29 00.53.45When the time rang she eagerly opened the oven door and took out her cupcakes. The chocolate box mix batch looked picture perfect. The from scratch batch, not so much. They didn’t look “cupcakey enough” according to the baker.


We tried them, and discovered they weren’t cupcakey enough for everyone. Instead of cakey, they were muffiny. After talking about what could possibly have gone wrong we figured out she didn’t add enough sugar. She tried to salvage it by adding some into the remaining batter, but didn’t help.


She was extremely disappointed. The only thing that prevented her from making another batch was lack of time. She frosted the chocolate cupcakes but ultimately they didn’t go to drama class because there were not enough, so the family got to eat them.


The moral of the story is measure out your ingredients first!


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9 thoughts on “Cupcake Catastrophe

  1. I’m with Abbie. I just buy the cupcakes or big cakes from the store. They taste fine to my taste buds. To be honest, though, my mouth still waters when I think back to the days when my Grandmother Mid baked cakes. That Great Depression generation… they sure knew how to cook.


  2. What a great learning experience for your daughter. Even though she was disappointed, she persevered and, even though things didn’t go as expected, took the time to figure out what might have gone wrong. The best thing is the whole family got to eat the “mistake”. Yay!


  3. Your daughter was wise to look back over the ingredients. I had a great Betty Crocker cookbook for children–with a girl AND boy on the cover. I made gingerbread often, but one day it turned out flat and rubbery. Every time I made it–and I kept trying–the result was the same. I’ve since decided the baking soda must have gone flat, if it does that, but I was ten and assumed paranormal causes, I guess.


  4. I’ve rarely found a disaster in any bought ‘box’ mix so I personally think there must be added ingredients for success that they don’t declare on the side beyond the ‘preservatives’ listed! I also agree totally with Kathy that if your ingredients, especially the raising agents, aren’t fresh then your results might be ‘lack lustre’. I think it’s fantastic that your daughter is quite critical of her baking since it sounds like the way to perfection. (so long as she doesn’t get really downhearted) The bonus of eating must save the day! 😉


  5. Sorry things didn’t turn out well for the drama class, but I am glad the family got to enjoy the cupcakes. I wouldn’t have even attempted making them from scratch. So thumbs up to your daughter for giving it a try.


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