Evolution of a Crochet Cupcake

In case anyone was wondering, cupcakes have still not lost their hypnotic appeal, and are as popular as ever. Even arts and crafts have become dedicated to whipping out these tasty-looking treats.

When I began (furiously) crocheting again, I came across several too cute patterns for cupcakes and had to replicate them immediately. However, crocheting amigurumi is a practice of patience and making things over and over again. In time, once you’ve mastered a few thousand stitches in different variations across different yarns, hook sizes, and stitches, you begin to understand which patterns will suit your crochet style in particular. The beauty of crochet is there appears to be endless ways to be creative with it.

One of the most crucial lessons I learned about myself with making something new, even if I’m really excited about it and am comfortable with all the types of stitches a pattern entails, is that I will typically need to do a practice run first.

Sometimes you get patterns that turn out to be easy peasy and your first attempt comes out perfectly–such is the case with the chocolate Easter bunny I just made.

But perfecting the crochet cupcake turned out to be something I had to make at least five times over before I executed it to my standards.

Here is how my first cupcake looked. It’s okay to giggle. (Click on the photos to enlarge.)

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It looks like a cinnamon muffin wearing a pink sombrero.

In this instance, I was quite glad I used leftover beige yarn to practice with, instead of going for the good stuff.

My next attempts looked like this. The frosting is slowly getting better but the cupcakes are leaning to one side and still kinda look like muffins.

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After a few of these, I grew frustrated and tried a different cupcake pattern altogether, just to see if I was a crappy crocheter or what. I made this little guy and added some frosting berries on top:

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Reassured, I tackled the cupcakes again and whatever “it” was finally clicked into place. I added some heavier filler to get it to stand up straight, didn’t overstuff it so it wouldn’t look like a muffin, and got the frosting to look good, as well. Lastly, I tried my hand at sewing on some beads for “sprinkles.” Voilà!

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After finally mastering this deceptively difficult pattern, my goal is to offer some of these for sale in the shop, so stay tuned! The best part about cupcakes is that you can mix and match all different “flavors” and colors, too, so I’m excited to see what I’ll end up with when I get a half dozen or so complete.

Just for emphasis, here’s a side-by-side shot of all the cupcakes from start to finish. It’s not easy to keep trying at something but when you finally succeed, it’s totally worth it.

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Cake-plosion

After dinner this evening, I was so excited. I was finally going to make Smitten Kitchen’s Spiced Applesauce Cake. After hearing rave reviews of it by my dear friend Meg, I made sure to have all the ingredients for it, rolled up my sleeves and got crackin’.

I got to use my new red mixer and everything!

It’s incredibly easy to put together. I didn’t have a square baking pan but I made sure to grease up my round cake pan, just in case.

The cake couldn’t have come out better. I was just waiting for it to cool the requisite 15 minutes before having to transfer it to a cooling rack, where I could frost it.

The aroma coming from my oven was absolutely heavenly. It’s how a kitchen should smell so close to Thanksgiving: apples, spices, sugar and anything else made from divinity.

When I pulled it from the oven, it couldn’t have been baked more perfectly:

Classic. Cake.

Sniff...so beautiful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the unthinkable happened.

After waiting for the cake to cool I went to transfer it from the pan to a cooling rack. It was firm but not jiggly and had very nicely pulled away from the edges of the pan. It was ready.

It’s almost unbearable. Just…look.

It disintegrated.

I shrieked. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I actually yelled this, no exaggeration.

I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t speak. (I could grab my camera, however.) Speechless, I reached out a shaking hand. Still steaming in the middle, my beauty of a cake lay helpless. Frosting it was a waste of time and effort.

Fortunately, it was still delicious as-is, but the joy of eating it (with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, no less) and then storing it for a day or two and enjoying it the rest of the weekend is gone.

I have more ingredients. I can try again. I just hate thinking that the only thing standing between me and a fully formed cake was parchment paper.

Sad and bewildered about why bad things happen to good people, I took to my computer to grieve.

To cheer me up, my dearest other half brought me the little Charlie Brown Skating Pond that is part of our holiday repertoire. You press Snoopy’s doghouse and it starts the little figures skating around the pond and it plays one of the tracks from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Anybody who regularly reads this blog is going to ask, “My God, how many references to Charlie Brown can one human possibly make?” The answer is: plenty.

Here’s a photo of the skating pond. It was taken through a Hipstamatic effect:

Isn’t that one of the cutest things you’ve ever seen? Because I am a huge dork, I may have also taken a video of it. It may or may not also be seen below.

So…the lesson is I will have to try making this spiced applesauce cake once more. Thankfully it’s a pinch to make. Once more into the breach, dear friends…and next time, there will be frosting.