Lesson Learned: I Can’t Please Everyone

Yellow Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting

Yellow Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting

It’s hard being pulled in different directions; try to please everyone and usually wind up pleasing no one.

This past weekend my family finally celebrated my sister’s birthday (which was back in September) two days after my parents anniversary. Both occasions are ones I typically make a special treat for, but in this case I had to juggle conflicting taste preferences. Of course to explain this correctly I have to go back in time a bit.

Throughout most of my life, my dad and I always preferred rich, chocolaty desserts, while my mom and sister liked ice cream or vanilla-flavored confections. But a few years ago my mom changed her tune (you can figure out why, right?) and now only wants chocolate, the richer the better. My sister, on the other hand, could still live without it.

For family celebrations revolving around parents, chocolate cake-type desserts are typically requested (especially this cake I made for my dad’s birthday and again for father’s day). But this celebration was supposed to focus more on Marci, so I gave her the first choice for the dessert (although she did get banana bread on her actual birthday) and she asked for yellow cupcakes.

Huh? I certainly didn’t have a recipe for yellow cupcakes in my repertoire. After a bit of searching I found a recipe that looked promising. And, to appease my parents, I decided to top the yellow cupcakes with a fudge-like frosting.

In the end, this was not a great cupcake in either category. The cake was a bit dry and had a slightly odd texture. It was certainly edible, but not a dessert on which I wanted to be judged. And the frosting? Well, it was rich but could’ve used some tweaking.

So here I am, posting a story with no recipe to go with it. But I felt it was important to share with you the fact that even professionals don’t always get it right. The truth is that cooking and baking takes a lot of trial and error before finding the combination of flavors that’s just right. And you’ll know it when you get it because that’s when you and all your eager taste-testers swoon and ask for seconds.

So be brave in the kitchen. Be fearless (except with knives of course; a little fear there is a good thing). And have fun with whatever it is you create.

I’ll leave you with this last thought, a quote someone said to me not long ago attributed to Julia Child: “Never apologize for anything you make.”

  • Marci posted: 15 Nov at 4:45 pm

    I want you to know that I really appreciate the effort. I know it was hard going up against the parents. The cupcakes were good, just not great. I look forward to your next attempt at amazing yellow cupcakes :)

  • Meemz posted: 17 Nov at 2:19 am

    I also tried about 7 different recipes for a yellow cake/cupcake to please my cupcake fanatics at home and outside home and it was always either too dense or too eggy or too dry. Finally, they all like the cake recipe posted to Bakerella’s website. You might want to try that. They all agreed that they loved its fluffiness. She also shares a method for keeping the yellow cake dense by spraying it with a mixture of sugar and water syrup. I hope you find a great yellow cake recipe soon :)

  • Kristen posted: 17 Nov at 5:15 pm

    I have to say that your photo is gorgeous, even though the cupcakes didn’t meet your expectations :)

  • Ginny posted: 19 Nov at 1:06 am

    They look good! My mom has the best yellow cake with chocolate icing recipe. She always made them for half-birthdays…

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