Tag Archives: cupcakes

Like Eating Glass

Because Halloween is my favourite holiday (and yesterday was hell), I decided to not only go all out for my costume this year, but also make fantastic baked goods. I had seen a really awesome recipe in Martha Stewart Living and wanted to bake my own.

For the cupcakes I made a red velvet base and added some dark chocolate chips to the batter as well. I used a cream cheese frosting recipe, but any white frosting would do. You want the “blood” to show up on the glass/frosting, so the lighter the better.

The glass is incredibly easy to make:

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water

Combine in a saucepan and heat to a boil. As soon as it boils, reduce the heat to medium-high. Heat until the caramel reaches 300 F (150 C) and then pour immediately into a metal sheet pan that is sprayed with cooking spray. A metal sheet works best because it is flexible. Tilt the pan until the sugar mixture covers the bottom of the pan in a thin layer. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then break it with a spoon or the handle of a knife. I used a beat-up tray, so I didn’t feel bad twisting it and hitting it with utensils.

This was a lot of fun to make!

Then you take the glass, insert it (several pieces) into the top of the iced cupcake. The semi-finished product looks really fabulous:

Up close and personal with the cupcake

I ended up making 24 cupcakes, but four would not fit on the tray. I used the leftover “glass” to cover the bottom of the tray, to give them more “awesome points“:

I can't wait to see people's reactions to these!

Finally, you will need to drizzle “blood” over the glass for that super creepy effect:

Delicious blood (aka raspberry syrup)

20 cupcakes all in a row...

The syrup wasn’t as red as I was hoping for, but the overall effect is nice!

Also, this seems like an appropriate song for the post!

Happy Weekend Before Halloween!


Baking my way through medical school

Medical School: Learn to Live Like a Zombie

Medical school is stressful. Not the “busy schedule,” kind of stressful either. It’s the “life-consuming, soul-destroying, completely overwhelming,” kind of stressful. There were days when I just didn’t want to deal with life in general. In the mornings, my alarm would go off and I would plan my run. Part way through my run, I would consider not going back to my apartment and contemplate skipping my classes for the day. This happened every day for almost six years.

I had always attributed my lack of interest in medical school to my

My room was much less depressing....

parents. They had forced me to go to medical school, even though I told them I would be miserable. Of course I had been right, I disliked medicine intensely. It was easy enough, I found that I was good at it and I continued to drag myself to class everyday. By third year, I was so depressed that I had (what I would now classify as) a nervous breakdown. I stopped running, eating and only left the apartment for class. I spent an entire break from school in bed, leaving only to use the restroom or shower (sometimes). It was awful. I kept visualizing my life and in my head it was the most depressing future I could ever imagine. I pictured myself going to work everyday, dealing with patients and never being happy. It was too much to bear, so I just shut down.

At the end of several weeks, I finally decided enough was enough. I drove to see my parents, I was going to tell them I was done with

My grandmother is so much cuter

medical school once and for all. When I arrived home my grandmother was there. She was in the process of baking babka wielkanocna for the holiday so I asked if I could help while I waited for my parents to return. Perhaps it was speaking Polish with my grandmother or maybe it was licking delicious gooey batter off my fingers, but by the time my parents arrived home I had completely forgotten that I was there to tell them my life-changing news. Baking has always been an important aspect of my life, but at that moment I realized that I could take out my frustrations on cupcakes. It was a game changer.

I spent the weekend at my parents, planning my baking shopping list. My mind was finally off of medical school and instead it was thinking about how many Meyer lemon’s I needed for tarts. When I got back to the city I headed straight to the store, I bought over $300 worth of

The best kind of mess.

random ingredients and then stopped by a kitchen supply store for extra accessories. Back at my apartment, I baked for hours. My counters that had once been covered in nothing but medicine, were now covered in flour. I kneaded dough until my fingers cramped and rolled it until my arms were sore. It was wonderful. After I took the last cake out of the oven, exhaustion took hold and I slept for twelve hours straight. I woke up feeling oddly refreshed, went for a long run and then delivered the baked goods to my classmates.

For the rest of my time in medical school, I took plenty of time out to work in the kitchen. My friends and classmates loved it, so much so that they began to request certain recipes more than others. The favourite ended up being my Black Forest Cupcakes, which were requested on a weekly basis. It quite literally got me through medical school and made me realize that I would ultimately survive the experience.

It seems like a silly thing, to think that baking cupcakes could really have such a profound impact on a person. To me, it has always been the act of baking more than the finished product. Even though I enjoy tasting my creations, it is ultimately the pleasure they bring others that makes me so content. Once I found that I enjoyed baking, it became an outlet for my anxiety which helped me through medical school.

So, would I have still been a physician if I had not discovered my love of baking? Probably. My parents would have forced me to finish school and if I had decided to drop out, they would have pushed me toward engineering. Baking didn’t save medical school for me, but it did help me find some sort of balance in my hectic life. To this day I continue to bake for my family and friends. I think they are glad I had a nervous breakdown, because without it they never would have been able to taste what they consider “the most amazing cupcakes ever.”