Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pirates of Penzance and Magnolia Cupcakes, Part 1

After waiting twenty minutes in line at the concert hall (all the musical theater season ticket holders had to exchange their tickets) Paul and I finally got up to the window and I told the guy that we wanted the best two cheap seats they had for Pirates of Penzance. He then stated, "We don't sell opera tickets here. There should be a sign but there isn't." Well ok, silly me thinking that I could buy theater tickets at a box office. We had to wander up to the second floor to the actual opera office where one of the employees said we had to go up to the third floor to actually buy tickets and he would take us himself. As we were getting in the elevator, the company director was exiting at the second floor and, in his thick Eastern Bloc accent gestured at the guy we were with to "come come come come come." Our new friend gave the opera director a look of exasperation, gestured toward us and condescendingly said, "Tickets!" then got in the elevator with us and confided, "Sometimes life is difficult."

We did get tickets and yes, they were cheap but we could see well. The opera was fun (of course it was it's Gilbert & Sullivan for goodness sake) and if it wasn't sold out was close to it. We saw all kinds of people: people in jeans, people in cocktail dresses and suits (like us), and one particularly interesting couple comprised of a female in a prom dress and tiara and a male in a SARS mask.

From contagious disease to baking...
I finally made the Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes I mentioned earlier. I thought it was pretty amazing that all of them came out of the oven with such flat tops. It makes icing them so much easier. The cake itself is really very good. The recipe is here, but I made a substitution. Instead of the 1 1/2 cups of self-rising flour, I used 1 1/2 cups cake flour + 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder + 3/4 t salt. I don't see any point in buying self-rising flour when I have salt and baking powder. Seems like one more thing to clutter up my pantry!
The cake flour substitution was for the texture of the cake. I had read comments that some people thought Magnolia cupcakes were too dry or too cornbread-y. I didn't find the ones I made to be dry in the least.

I did, however, have a slight problem with the buttercream. I don't think there was enough butter in it because it just tastes like sugar. I'm really glad I only made a quarter recipe because I need to find one that has more depth of flavor. I'll let you know when I find another one to try.

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