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Cupcake fail

In college, I clearly remember my very first ‘failure’ in cooking like it was just yesterday. I’ll explain the ‘quotes’ on ‘failure’ later. It was right before Thanksgiving break, and my friends and I were making our own potluck Thanksgiving dinner right before break started. Well, I was in charge of the mashed potatoes. Simple, right?

I was ready to blow everyone away with these fantastic, mashed red skinned potatoes with butter, salt and pepper, topped with crumbled bacon bits and chopped scallions. A creative play on the classic baked potato, right??? So much better than just regular mashed russet potatoes, right?????


Nobody ate my potatoes. Because next to my gorgeous bowl of magnificence was a bowl of INSTANT MASHED POTATOES THAT CAME FROM A F****N BOX!!! Click on the link if you have no idea what I’m talking about. And be proud of yourself for never knowing what instant mashed potatoes from a box ever was. I’m ashamed such a thing came into existence. Who invented this stuff, AMERICANS?!? Next they’ll be inventing pizza in a box. OH WAIT, THEY DID!!!

So, why didn’t they eat my delicious mashed potatoey goodness? Reasons I overheard:

  1. I don’t like green stuff (they’re called scallions)
  2. I don’t like bacon (who doesn’t like bacon?!)
  3. I like instant mashed potatoes more.

Ok, #1 and #2 I can tolerate (barely), but #3 just pisses me off. Who likes instant when you can have the real thing? Am I crazy or something? Because when I tried instant mashed potatoes I felt like I was choking down a gloppy mix of thickened flour + water which produced a slightly gritty texture in my throat causing me to choke. That’s all.

After taking my bowl of mashed potatoes home, I considered myself a failure. I didn’t understand how I could be so bad of a cook. I also couldn’t understand how I was the only one who preferred real potatoes. Was I living in some kind of bizzaro food world where people grew up never knowing what an actual home cooked meal was? The answer was yes.

Years later, I realized that I didn’t really fail at all. My record was still clean. Because my college friends were all cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. Or as Chris says, “They’ve all gone fruit loops.”

But THIS, everyone, is an actual failure. Drink it alllllll in, cuz hopefully I won’t be doing it again.


I consider failure as something that is completely inedible.


First I’d like to say that I will not blame Chris. My dear husband picked up a bag of mini-chocolate chips because I wanted to make cupcakes with them. He didn’t realize that 90 degree weather + leaving chips in a car for 8 hours would melt the chips.

Who would’ve thought?

Chris: Um….Candy?

Candy: Yea?

Chris: Um…were you planning on making cupcakes with chocolate chips inside of them? Or chocolate flavored cupcakes?

Candy: Cupcakes with chocolate chips inside.

Chris: Oh. Ok. Well I can put the bag in the freezer and then smash it into little pieces with a hammer later.

Candy: huh?

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So being me, I changed the cupcake recipe a bit, being adventurous. I couldn’t wait to show you guys my fantastic recipe of using a bag of melted chocolate in cupcake batter. It was gonna be the next best thing to sliced bread. Or real mashed potatoes.

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Everything was going so well. The batter looked so good. It tasted good too.


They were puffing up so nicely in the oven, and the second I opened the oven door, they deflated like balloons.


These tasted like salty, vinegary, bitter I don’t know whats. No resemblance to a cupcake whatsoever. But I already took a lot of pictures of them, and figured I wouldn’t hide my disastrous FAIL. Instead, I’ll embrace it. Now that I know what the difference between a real failure and an instant boxed failure is.

19 thoughts on “Cupcake fail”

  • Ok, so I’ll admit that in college, I pretty much lived off of four foods: easy mac, baloney and cheese, fluffenutters…and instant mashed potatoes. Add a stick of butter, some salt and milk and it was ALMOST like the real thing to me. The shame.

    I have had NO success with any scratch made chocolate cupcakes, you can ask JB. They either overflow or don’t taste right. Plus, it seems that oven temp really has quite a bit to do with how they rise and opening the door too soon is a big no no…or so I’ve read.

    The melted chocolate technique looked really promising though! Maybe it was because they melted in the bag that gave them the weird taste??

  • I don’t know!!! I’m actually a really crappy baker. I’m not good at following rules, recipes, measurements. The only thing I’m good at baking is banana cupcakes. So I can’t figure out what I did wrong…probably a combination of things.
    I lived off ramen noodles, discovered spaghetti O’s, but for some reason could not understand instant potatoes. You said tasted ALMOST like the real thing, so at least you know the difference!

  • candy, i found your blog through tastespotting, you are amazing!! i am following you on twitter too, just thought i’d put that out there so i feel less creepy. i would have picked your mashed potatoes, for sure. i have a husband who would have picked the instant ones, though, i don’t understand either.

  • Bonnie – thanks for coming outta the ‘creepy’ woodwork, haha! I sorta went crazy with all the tweeting today too, you picked a good day for following 😛

  • Oh jeeze. What nutters prefer that crud in a box to real mashed potatoes? For years I was convinced I hated them because all we’d ever had was the boxed stuff.

    THEN I had real mashed potatoes…my family nearly ruined a fabulous food for me, hahaa.

  • What did the cupcakes taste like? Sometimes my failures are failures cause there dont look good, but usually they can still be eaten!!! As for the potatoes, we call it Deb here in Australia and I didn’t mind it as a kid but now I much prefer the real stuff, although we have frozen mash, which is 10 time better than Deb, but still not as good as the real stuff. I just can’t stand canned potatoes! Who does that??

  • Your poor cupcakes! Few things upset me more in the culinary world than when my potentially brilliant plan fails. My poor husband chokes down anything I give him, but he always tells me whether it’s a recipe that should go back to the drawing board or be repeated. I like a man who pulls no punches when it comes to comida.

    By the way, I wonder how it would work if he did try to cool-off-&-hammer-into-bits method…

  • So, if it really WAS 90 degrees out when you baked, it’s possible your oven was too hot. This has happened to me when I bake in hot weather (we live in the PNW and there is no AC).

    It’s a very sad thing.

  • Your post made me laugh. I lived on crap in college, too. Then when I learned to make Korean marinated chicken, I started living on that with rice and kimchi until I resorted back to crap.

  • Kiara – like I said, bizzaro food world where everyone prefers pre-packaged crap to real, homemade stuff. what’s happened to the world?!

    Courtney – Cupcakes tastes BAD. I don’t know why they tasted so salty. Must’ve been a combo. of things I did wrong. I can understand canned veggies, maybe it’s hard to buy fresh produce in some places, but in the US we have an excess of fresh food yet most grocery stores sell more pre-packaged foods vs. fresh food for some reason. I won’t name names (walmart).

    Melanie – my husband tried to put the cupcakes BACK into the oven hoping they’ll rise up again! Didn’t work. No cupcakes for him 🙁

    Sandi – Good point. It has been really humid and hot in the apartment…and maybe the hot bag of melted chips were just too hot in the cupcake batter?

    Hummingbird – I lived on crap too, don’t get me wrong. The healthiest thing we made were probably tacos once a week. I’m not even nessessarily bashing boxed mashed potatoes, just the fact that people were so damn picky in college! No veggies, only certain meats cooked certain ways (deep fried) and a preference for pre-packaged. Ugh. I feel like doing a rant on cooking for people with food restrictions (not the allergy kind either).

  • Hi, I hope you will not be against it – just wanted to say that I used one of your photos from this post in my blog. Surely, author and link included!

    As my blog is not in English (Lithuanian, if being precise) I will just briefly mention that I am holding a contest on a biggest/most interesting/most shocking/etc. fail in the kitchen, so this post of yours fits very well as an example, inspiration, motivation and proof that fails CAN and SHOULD be demonstrated 🙂

    So, I have no bad intentions 🙂 Just wanted to tell and also say thanks for brilliant content and for sharing your fail 🙂

  • Hahaha!! The best fail ever! Tell Chris that Jared would have definitely tried to put the bag of melted chips in the freezer and smashed it to pieces later, too. For sure.

    Who on earth prefers instant potats? (Yes. Po-tats). With 5 kids my mom used to make them all the time. Ugh. One time my Aunt Vicky (you met her today) babysat us for a weekend while my parents were away and wanted to make us a Thanksgiving meal. We helped by showing her where the canned corn and instant potatoes were, to which she said “WHAT? I don’t use that crap! We’re makin’ the REAL DEAL!”. From then on I never ever liked instant, and I make some damn good mashed or smashed potats. All thanks to Vick!

    Good story, Kier. (Sorry, this was typed with one hand so ignore all typos or if it doesn’t make sense. I’m tired).

  • Kier – Crazies prefer instant potats, that’s who. Plus Aunt Vicky is awesome. Don’t you think real potatoes take the same amount of effort as instant? I don’t know, I’m assuming since you have to add water to the powdery stuff, and you also add water to boil real potatoes. Maybe it’s the timing that’s different? Or the laziness factor for mashing? Who knows.
    Next time Chris melts the chips I’ll let him smash them while they’re frozen.

  • Nora – Thanks for all the support! Usually all my fails are edible, except for this one. I thought it was funny that foodgawker.com actually posted the picture I sent them with the large word ‘FAIL’ on it! someone had a sense of humor! 😛

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