Hello there. You. Yes, you.
This journey started when I read Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes by Sue Watson. Who knew a fairy cake to rest of the world is a cupcake thingy in the United States? I decided I was going to give this baked good a try in my own kitchen, but first I had to prepare. I compared the recipes people around the world shared in the comments of my book review, but in the end I chose Mary Berry’s fairy cakes.
The whole situation started with problems. U.K. vs U.S. measurements. Different ovens. Ingredients not in my store. Weighing the pros and cons of buying a coffee grinder to make British sugar. I was overwhelmed, and I honest to goodness considered buying a cake mix and lying to you. Sorry, friends. That was cruel of me. Instead, I found a similar recipe that still has me starting from scratch. I mean, I would have to zest a lemon for the first time, hence I figured I was in fancy cake territory.
If you check it out, the recipe seems quite simple, but my journey was . . . different. Let me give you the recipe for baking fairy cakes my way.
Step 1: throw away all of your expired ingredients. This may include flour, baking powder, and soy sauce.
Step 2: wash all the dishes in the sink. They’ve been piling up and who knows what you’ll really need mid-recipe.
Step 3: go to the store and replace all the expired ingredients (except the soy sauce — none of that is needed here) and get all the missing ingredients, too.
Step 4: buy a new cupcake pan; yours is rusty.
Step 5: pre-heat the oven like the recipe says even though you know it will be forever until you stick anything in there. Consider the gas bill.
Step 6: fight to get cupcake papers open. Wish you had more delicate fingers to pull the individual papers apart to stick them in the pan holes.
Step 7: get out your best popcorn bowl and add in the regular sugar. Although you don’t want to add the eggs one at a time, the says recipe says you do. It makes little sense.
Step 8: add vanilla extract, the one ingredient that is not yet expired that you already had. #Winning
Step 9: find a separate bowl. Realize you’re a one-bowl kitchen. Pull out the giant salad bowl.
Step 10: zest your lemon with a cheese grater. Add dry ingredients and whisk. Why whisk? There are no wet ingredients, which I thought was the purpose of the whisk. Don’t forget to give your lemon a little bath. Everybody and their brother has touched that thing in the store.
Step 11: hold the hand mixer and turn it on low. Add dry ingredients to eggy ingredients. Also add tiny bit of milk. Instructions say split dry ingredients and tiny bit of milk into threes and add back and forth. Realize you need more arms. Realize tiny bit of milk doesn’t want to be split into threes — it’s a tiny amount.
Step 12: realize your popcorn bowl was not designed for pouring and use weird little scooper thing that came with your steamed rice machine. Fill cupcake papers.
Step 13: set time for 15 minutes, not the 17-20 recommended because your oven is a heat demon.
Step 14: realize the rice scooper thingy you used came out of the dirty dishwasher. Text husband about what the moral thing to do is.
Step 15: feel sad about naked post-zested lemon. Google “how to make lemonade for one lemon.” Taste lemonade.
Step 16: dump out lemonade.
Step 17: wash dishes. Again.
Step 18: use toothpick to determine if cupcakes are done. In lieu of putting cupcake pan on wire racks, leave cupcake pan where you set it.
Step 19: survey the damage so far.
Step 20: put Rebecca in the DVD player and sit quietly while you think about the frosting not yet made.
Step 21: now that you’ve got your daily dose of Alfred Hitchcock, return to the kitchen. Notice two sticks of butter sitting on the counter. There should only be one. You totally forgot to add butter to the cupcakes. Your fairy cakes are #FailureCakes
Step 22: make the frosting anyway.
Step 23: mess around with the food coloring until you get something fun looking.
Step 24: add the gummy bears. These are the fantastic Alabanese gummies, made in Indiana. They come in flavors like watermelon and blueberry.
Step 25: sample a cupcake. Realize it tastes like a sugary brick. Apologize to all the ingredients for wielding them so poorly, and also to the cat — because she’s staring at you and yowling.
Step 26: pick all the Albanese gummy bears off the cupcakes and eat them.
Step 27: throw cupcakes in trash
Step 28: as an extra kick in the teeth, realize that the sugar and flour bags got wet on the counter, which has stained the counter and made the ingredients in the bottoms of the bags rock hard.
Step 29: discover that your cupcakes WERE eaten, just not how you wanted them eaten…