Sometimes I have bad days. There’s rarely any particular reason why they’re so horrible, they just end up that way.
Today was one of those days. I woke up with a headache and willed my alarm clock to disappear into some kind of time warp that allowed me just five more minutes in bed. It didn’t work, so I reset the alarm for another five minutes. It’s funny how a few minutes seem so trivial in the living world, but in the dewy-eyed abyss of morning they can be pure bliss.
Fast forward to five minutes later, and the alarm started blaring some washed up 90’s band. It’s one of those days where I have absolutely nothing to look forward to. Everything I have to do is simply that, things I have to do.
So I slumped out of bed and reluctantly started this ghastly day. I dared to take an extra few minutes in the shower, but as always, regretted it half an hour later while I was running to catch the bus. I missed it, of course, but at least it allowed me time to go back to my apartment and do something with my hair, which by this point looked vaguely like a rat’s nest.
That’s how my day began. The rest of the day was a blur, unconsciously meandering from class to class, then running (again) to catch the bus home. When I arrived back at my apartment, my mind was stagnant. I couldn’t think, couldn’t concentrate and I couldn’t even muster up the energy to make myself something to eat.
Rather than pull myself out of this pit of unhappiness, I did what I usually do when I’m feeling down and TJ’s not around to knock some sense into me. I lowered the blinds, pulled my dark curtains together and put on my pajamas. I puttered around on my laptop for a while, catching up on the local gossip via Facebook and Twitter, then chastised myself for gluttonously wasting time.
I tried to sleep, but my mind kept racing with assignments I should have been doing, chapters I should have been reading and people I should have been calling. After rustling around the sheets for 15 minutes, I decided what I needed was cupcakes.
There’s something about carefully unwrapping a delicately topped cupcake out of its little paper home that reminds me of a simpler time, when my top priority of the day was envisioning an elaborate plot for my Barbie dolls, and my most pressing obligation was to brush my teeth.
Cupcakes don’t solve my problems or fix my incessant self-deprivation. They don’t scratch things off my schedule and they certainly aren’t good for my caloric intake. But they do, in their own little way, make me feel good.
small mixing bowl
medium mixing bowl
large mixing bowl
kettle or hot pot
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup boiling hot water
1 1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 ounces (four squares) unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Add the flour mixture to butter mixture and beat well. Add the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth.
Pour mixture into baking cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.
For fudge icing, melt chocolate on low heat in saucepan, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a medium bowl, beat butter for one minute. Add sugar and beat for another two minutes. Beat in vanilla, then add melted chocolate and beat on low speed until smooth and thickened.
Top on cooled cupcakes.