Monday, June 02, 2008

The Chen-Yen Effect Meets Betty Crocker

A couple weekends ago Alex's professor hosted a potluck, so I offered to help him make the cupcakes he signed up to bring. It was nearly 8 by the time my doppelganger and I made it to Safeway, so despite our collective health consciousness and foodingness, it was with some hesitation that we opted for Betty Crocker all the way, right down to the tub frosting.

We did have something of a moral debate in the baking aisle though - yes, but think about all the trans fats in that tub ... we could definitely make it ourselves ... do you know what's in frosting? Not really, but I have a good idea ... followed by rationalizations: well, nobody's going to have more than one cupcake, right? And if you spread it all out, it can't be that bad, can it?

In the end, expediency won [that, and the fact that neither one of us are night owls ... anymore].

It started out innocently enough. OK, maybe he did specify chocolate cupcakes, but aren't swirls fun?
And then we started in on the frosting. Never one for the simple, let me tell you - that would make my life too easy! But man-oh-man, when you get the two of us together [my doppelganger and I], the Chen-Yen Effect is unstoppable.

Purty, no? Except for the fried eggs floating around out there [Alex works in a salmonella lab ... we thought it would be funny*], each one is unique. There's the "clouds floating above hills"; the "Aquafresh cupcake"; stripes and spikes [for those punk pipetters] and swirls, yinyang and modern art and plenty of Blue & Gold pride to go around.
Ah, but there's more.

WAY more. Inbetween fits of laughter and oooohs and aaaaaahs over each other's artistic-ness [the girl was an architecture major and she has the artistic flair to prove it!], we decided, in honor of the bottomless tub of frosting, to make one final, towering, tottering cupcake of Frosting Amazingness.
Best of all, you can see the progression as we worked our way up. We froze our monster of madness in between layers, and I think I count 9 or 10 layers before we finally got rid of the last of the frosting.
We debated for a long time whether I should bring the monster of madness to the potluck, or if we should slice it open and admire the layers [like a geologist!] as we'd originally intended. This was the first time I would meet his lab, of course, so there was the crucial question - does Alex's professor have a sense of humor? Just because we couldn't stop laughing over the result didn't mean anybody else wouldn't think I was off my rocker.
In the end we opted for the safer [and funner] route of slice-and-dice since, as Alex pointed out the next morning, people at the party might well force ME to eat the monster of madness. But overall the cupcakes went over swimmingly, and that was, quite literally, the best $4.50 I've ever spent in my life.
To the Chen-Yen Effect. *mwah* doppelganger!
*When Alex presented his prof with one of the fried eggs, she laughed and said, "And if you had sprinkles, then that would be the salmonella." She has quite the sense of humor, maybe next time I will bring a monster of madness ... or whatever the Chen-Yen Effect can come up with next ...

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