Martha Stewart has managed to market herself as the standard by which all things "proper" are measured. We have begun to measure ourselves against this unrealistic expectation that she's created.
Why can't I create 30 adorable crafts out of toilet paper tubes and glitter in under hour for my child's preschool class?
When I plant Martha Stewart flower seeds in my garden, why they don't produce wedding worthy bouquets like it shows on the package?
Why is it that I can't complete even the simplest Martha Stewart project without a minimum of 7 trips to Home Depot and spending at least three times over the estimated cost?
Why does her "chrysanthemum" paint color look absolutely stunning on the can and like a sunburnt pumpkin on my dining room walls? (Wish I was kidding.)
Why does every Martha Stewart recipe that I try to make, have 25 steps and a list of ingredients that I've never even heard of?
How did I break my Kitchen Aid mixer and end up covered in white goo when I tried to make her homemade marshmallows? (Most expensive marshmallows EVER.)
I think you get the point. My intent is not to discredit Martha Stewart because clearly, she's an expert on a lot of different things. I'm simply saying that even though she tries to convince us otherwise, we are not all going to have perfectly decorated homes and become expert souffle baking, crafting, painters and sewing, gardeners who can accomplish anything while looking flawless and un-stressed. Quite the opposite really. I can tell you that after I've conquered ANY Martha Stewart project, I look like I've been through the battlefield.
I can appreciate her ideas but sometimes her execution is slightly unrealistic for the average person. Maybe if I had her team of specialist working alongside me, my cupcakes would come out looking like they should be on the cover of her magazine. Then again - even that might not be enough help.
So why am I droning on and on about Martha Stewart? I've decided to make a conscious effort to stop using Martha Stewart as the standard by which I judge my baking. I am going to stop comparing my desserts to hers. Even when I follow a Martha Stewart recipe, I'm going to expect my finished product to look entirely different than the one shown in the professional photograph.
The Devils Food Cupcake recipe that I found on Martha's website is a perfect example. Her cupcake looked absolutely amazing but were not realistic for the average baker like myself.
I made a few modifications to her recipe and added my own frosting but you really can't even tell that these 2 cupcakes came from the same recipe. See what I mean about unrealistic expectations?
Devils Food Cupcakes Chocolate Frosting
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 2 cups butter, softened
3/4 cup hot water 5 cups powdered sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda 8 ounces chocolate, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
Melt butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat.
Whisk together water and cocoa until smooth.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Scoop batter into prepared pan and bake 23 minutes. (I made 18 jumbo cupcakes.)