So my friend Denise had a birthday. That's not so unusual. It happens about every year or so.
What was unusual this year was that right before her birthday, I got a Groupon offer for a half-price cupcake class in a former funeral home in the East Village.
We worried we'd get snowed out, as plenty of snow fell the night before, but by afternoon, the snow had transformed Manhattan into a city of slush, so getting to cupcake school was no problem.
We were assigned to mix up banana cupcakes with a couple from Fordham Law School. We learned how to scrape, how to pace adding in the flour, and how you want to add the banana at the opposite end of the process from the flour. We took home the valuable tip to use an ice cream scoop to measure the batter into the baking cups. Two other groups made vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. All of these went off to bake while we wrestled with cream cheese, butter, and sugar to create buttercream frosting.
The hard part was frosting the cupcakes. Here's how the professionals frost:
I guess it takes practice. Ours looked like this.
And at the end, after our group had frosted more than a hundred cupcakes, we each got to take nine cupcakes home.
Which sounds like more fun than it is. I shortly found myself staring at nine cupcakes and wondering what the hell to do with all of them. A few of them are still in the fridge at work.
Cupcake school was outstanding. I am not sure I retained all the info, but Denise and I had a fine afternoon. Later, her kid sat her down and told her that they were the best cupcakes she'd ever made.