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Sweet! A Love Story Told in Sugar, chapter 1

Media: Fic, multichapter
Title: Sweet! A Love Story Told in Sugar, chapter 1
Author: OhQuixotica, with glitterwocky
Rating: PG-13 at this point, with the threat of NC-17 looming ahead in later chapters
Pairing: Kurt Hummel/Blaine Anderson
Spoilers: Some mention of events up through s3 ep14.  At least, let's say that to be safe.
Warnings: Brief mention of the death of an OC; reckless and slightly lascivious enjoyment of pastries.
Word Count: Roundabout 4400 (this chapter)
Summary: Future AU in which Kurt and Blaine did not meet in high school.  Kurt is a pastry chef who runs his own little West Village bakery called BUTTERLUSH.  Blaine is an accountant who stumbles--literally--upon the sweetest thing ever.
Author Notes: What?  I know I said I don't understand the whole AU thing because it's not really them anymore.  And I know I said I hate WIPs because they are torture for my impatient soul,  But it's hiatus, and it was recently glitterwocky 's birthday, and I've caught up a bit on my sleep, and we got to talking and decided to see what it would be like to make one (an AU and a WIP). And then this happened, a kind of birthday-present-joint-project.  The plot, the situation, the pastries, all of those belong to glitterwocky .  I'm just trying to set in motion with words the scenarios she requests.  And she and iamiamiam are having too good a time torturing me with dreamed-up cupcakes, bakery pictures and recipe possibilities; credit for deliciousness goes to them. And iamiamiam must get credit for her numerous Gay Bakery Puns (and the bakery name, too), which are all brilliant and most of which will be reproduced herein in this and subsequent chapters. 

A note on 'Trice.  Her name is short for Patrice, which she'll tell you later.  So it's pronounced like that, rhyming with "lease," not like it rhymes with "mice."  I don't know exactly why I'm fretting so hard over how you hear it in your head, but I am. 

We're going to include Kurt's recipes for you at the end of each chapter, which means a lot of heavy-hearted work our parts, baking and eating pastry in order to rework the recipes before they go to press.  I hope you understand the sacrifice we are making for you. (It also means that new chapters will be posted regularly, but infrequently enough to give us time to bake and eat things.  Let's say every Monday, with a high likelihood of Thursday updates most weeks.)

This chapter features a delightfully light and sunshiney variation on a chiffon cake (many thanks to chefreeni for setting us straight on the cake type!), featuring lemon and olive oil, topped with a ricotta-whipped cream frosting that has been infused with lemon and fresh basil.  Kurt's recipe is at the end of the chapter.  But you have to earn it.




::--::

This is not a story with a beautiful first line, or the perfect symmetry of a beginning and ending wrapped tightly together like a present from the Fates.  This is not a story about love at first sight; there will be no perfect first kiss, no white horse and sunset, no prince, no glass shoe.  In fact, in this story, nothing very important happens--it is a very small story about two very small people who find one another and, yes, there will be in this story some kisses, and also cupcakes and lost keys and other secretly-beautiful small things, but there will be nothing that will change the world or shift the ground under anyone's feet.


Except for this moment, on a winding side street in the West Village, on a slippery and too-chilly spring morning, soundtracked by the wet whoosh and spray of taxis hissing over damp pavement, when the woman with the red umbrella comes rushing out of a nail salon in a flap of still-sodden overcoat, cell phone and umbrella stem clamped precariously between cheek and shoulder, eyes trained on her wet painted nails, and bangs directly into Blaine Anderson.

Blaine, too, had been a dark flurry of wet trench and wool gabardine and barely-balanced coffee, newspaper clutched over his head in a vain attempt to prevent his hair from recoiling into ringlets around his face in the warningless spring rain.  He was late.  He was always late, because the hurry and the thinking forward--get there get there get there--stopped him from thinking too much about how miserable it was to actually be there once he was.  Gray wool and blue carpet and steel and linoleum and fluorescence and sticky notes and very sharp pencils and meetings in which too many men cleared too many throats and shuffled too many folders and nobody said anything that anyone--least of all Blaine--might care the least bit about.

If you knew Blaine Anderson in high school--bright boy with a bright smile and flickering eyes and doglike energy, the boy who hollered and leapt his way through solos in show choir and had so many friends and so much waterfall energy and saw his future opening up before him like a stage curtain pulling back, saw his future like that spot of light into which he was always about to step, a boy sparkling and muscle-ready and about to burst open--if you knew that boy in high school, you would ask him how it was that he ended up this way, gray and hushed and soft as wet flannel.  But most people are too bored or too polite to ask such questions of men like him: one CPA among a team of CPAs in a big department on a single floor of an overgrown company in a plate glass building on a crowded block in a city so large and harried and full of everything under the sun that nothing--certainly not he--was remarkable enough to stop any of its bluster for even one quiet second to tell the story.  It's not that nobody cared about him, for Blaine still had loving parents, good friends, familiar and welcoming faces at his regular haunts (coffee, laundry, Chinese take-out).  It's simply that everyone, including Blaine, was in such a rush, with so many errands to run and so many important things to think about, and the story wasn't much to tell.  It was a slow slipping down into this.  Like being very gently crushed under a quietly-building avalanche of nods and agreements and the gradual understanding, finally, after many discussions, of the difference between what was fun and what was practical and what it meant to grow up and take care of yourself.

But all of this is an untold story, and will stay that way, and that is for the best, because all of this would soon change, and because it will interest neither you, nor I, nor Blaine himself, whose only thought in this moment was that he must get there get there get there until the crash with the wet-nailed woman knocked that out of him, knocked him flat back onto the watery concrete with a small, surprised oof!  He almost laughed out loud at the ridiculousness of the sound he made, like the butt of a slapstick stunt in a Stooges movie.  His coffee splashed up and was gone, the paper cup skittering into the gutter and rolling under a parked car, his shirtfront a clinging Rorschach blot he could only read as ruin and wreck of a morning.

"Damn! I am so sorry!" the wet-nailed woman said as her umbrella flipped past them both and went skipping down the sidewalk, cheerfully leaving her behind to soak in the rain.  She extended her hand and, when Blaine, still spinning and stunned, didn't take it, she grabbed his collar and pulled him to his feet.  She dusted his shoulders, then laughed at herself, pushing back the wet hair that flopped in her eyes.  "Well, that's useless!  I'm so, so sorry.  Are you okay?"

Blaine nodded.  The cold and wet had soaked through the seat of his trousers, soaked through his underwear, was soaking into the muscles of his thighs in a way that made his whole body ache.

"God, look at you! I really messed you up!  You're wearing your coffee, too!"  She smiled at him, a very white smile, a very straight smile, and Blaine tried to grin back, but her hands were clutching his shoulders and the rain was starting to slide down the collar of his shirt like little slivers of ice.

"It's really fine," he said, forcing on his show smile.  "Are you okay?"

"I'm an idiot," the woman said, pushing her hair back again and letting her hand drop to his bicep.  "And I'm buying you a new coffee."  Blaine opened his mouth to protest, but the woman tightened her grip on his arm and pulled him into the doorway of a little shop.  In gold letters above her head on the glass of the door, in a very simple font, it said, without explanation, BUTTERLUSH.  She turned toward him, raised her eyebrows, and threw herself back against the door so it shuddered open, so the little bells that hung above the door shimmered a silvery tingle down his spine.  She nodded once, and yanked Blaine into the warm, sugary air of the bakery.

"Sit," she told him, and shoved him onto a stool.  "How do you take it?"

"What?" Blaine said.

"Hey, Irene," said the bored girl behind the counter.  "Back already?"  She was dreadlocked, and pierced in a number of places, with black tattoos curling over every free inch of her skin.

"I," Irene said, making a grand gesture toward Blaine, "just accidentally slammed into this gentleman here, and ruined his morning, and I am buying him a new coffee.  And I'm late, so I'm running."  She slapped a wad of cash onto the counter.  "Whatever he wants.  The rest for you, sweetie, for the tip cup."  She turned to Blaine and squeezed his arm again.  "Tell 'Trice your coffee order.  She looks like she might bite, but she never has, not once.  Here's my card, so that you can call me and we can have a drink sometime, and someday we'll tell all our friends about our perfectly adorable romcom first encounter, when we met cute and then I bought you a coffee and you couldn't stop thinking about me and asked me out and then the rest is history, but I've got to be rude and run right now because I am extremely late!"  She shouted the last words over her shoulder as she whipped out the door with a shiver of bells and cold air.

"So that was Hurricane Irene," the girl said, smiling at Blaine.  "I think she likes you, because she never, ever tips.  She was trying to impress you.  You'll have pretty babies with pretty eyes."

"I don't..." Blaine started to say, but the girl raised her hand, laughing at him.

"I totally know.  I live in Chelsea.  I work in a pastry shop.  My boss wears neckerchiefs, and my best friend breeds teacup Dobermans.  But Irene usually can't tell the difference between a man and a fire hydrant, let alone pick up on the subtleties of homosexual semaphore.  She has no idea.  Nor does she probably care," she added with a smirk, flipping a large paper cup in the air and catching it with a flourish.  "How do you take it?"

"What?" Blaine asked again.

"Your coffee," the girl said, enunciating slowly.  "What are you drinking?"  Blaine felt dumb and cold and still as a stone.  Why couldn't he catch up?  Everything seemed to be moving so fast around him, everyone talking at high speed, but the warm air smelled like cinnamon and had wound itself around his neck and cheeks like a scarf and he simply wanted to sit and breathe it in.

"Black, please, just plain coffee," he told her.  He was slowly thawing out.  The stools and the counters were old softened wood, dry and warm; jewel-toned fruits and mounds of frothy pastel sugar glinted from the display cases in the dim light--the entire shop front, he noticed now, was lit mostly by daylight from the large plate glass window, aided by a few old lamps with heavy velvet shades that drooped with ornate tassled trim.  Strings of colors glass beads criss-crossed overhead, glittering and shaking slightly with faint vibration.  Some of the wooden stools were topped loosely with well-worn velvet cushions, and the walls were hung with gauzy fabrics in rich, delicious colors: fuchsia, pumpkin, vermillion.  No fluorescents anywhere.  It was cozy, and even romantic, and he wanted to linger here, snug in the glittering semi-dark all day.

"Black, please," he said again, more sure of himself.

"You got it, sailor," the girl said, flipping the cup again.  She turned her back and filled the cup, then slid it toward him across the counter, along with a stack of napkins.  "Here, dry off."

"Thank you," he said, but she was already gone, the door at the back of the room still swinging in her wake.

Blaine sat on a stool and placed the coffee carefully on the table in front of him.  He began to pat himself with the napkins, first drying his face and neck, and then attempting to clean the brown blotch on his shirt.

"You're just rubbing it in," said the girl.  She'd returned, and was leaning against the counter, staring at him with widened brown eyes.  "Just let it be.  It's already gone.  That shirt is a done deal, my friend."  She whistled and swept her hand through the air like a plane taking a nose dive.

Blaine grimaced at her and continued to blot.  It was a good shirt.  Was.

"Here," she said, "a consolation prize."  In front of her on the counter was a petite, perfectly pale yellow cupcake topped with a swoop of the lightest-looking white frosting.  A little bramble of shredded basil and thin twist of sugared lemon rind curled across the top.  She pushed the little cake toward him with her finger.

"No," Blaine said.  "Thanks.  But it's too early for that much--"

"It is never too early for something this good.  This is sunshine and fluffy clouds and bunnies and happiness for your mouth," the girl said seriously.  "Well, maybe not the bunnies, because, well, gross.  But, you know..."

Blaine looked dubious, but he did stop blotting.

"Meyer lemon and olive oil cupcake.  Whipped cream and ricotta frosting.  A little basil in there.  Didn't even put them in the case yet.  Totally fresh.  My boss might be uptight and totally crazy and use enough hairspray to punch a Cleveland-sized hole in the ozone, but he is a genius with food.  You will never taste anything more beautiful.  On the house.  Seriously.  Eeeeeeaaaaaaat," she wheedled, poking the cupcake forward.

Blaine had to laugh, because a girl of whom, under other circumstances, he might have been quite frightened was trying to force upon him the most dainty-looking cupcake he'd ever seen.

"Okay," he said, and took the cupcake.  The girl clapped her hands and bounced on her toes.  She watched as he carefully peeled the paper from the cake and opened his mouth.  "Just for you," he said, and winked (when did he ever wink?) before taking a gentle bite.

You may have experienced a moment like this, sometime in your life, when you were filled with light and magic and you knew--so completely and without question, so all-of-a-suddenly, and with your whole body--when you knew something you could not quite put to words.  A moment when you felt the sure click of a key turned in a lock, after which the whole mechanism of your life slid into place and the door, the one your back had once pressed against, familiar and unyielding, sprang open and you felt the wild, pitching expanse of possibilities rolling out behind you.  A moment when, in the back of your throat, a small voice that might have been your own whispered desperately turn around turn around!

It was simply a cupcake.  A cupcake, Blaine, reasoned, cannot change your life.  Not even a cupcake as gloriously, floatingly light and exquisite as this one, he reasoned.  It must be the warming up, the coffee and the sugar and the being-out-of-the-rain and the halt of the rush and the jarring of the fall he'd taken and the sneak of a little head cold coming on, but he felt it, a burning like a little flame as the bite went down.  It settled like a sun in his belly and embered there and spread heat in waves that rippled up through his bones and muscles and through his skin in curling-out rays and he thought, for a moment, that he must be glowing with it.  All the strings of bells and beads, all the lamp tassles and the passementaries looped over the door knobs, everything seemed to rock and twinkle with a whispering rustle and a soft, musical jingle.  It was as if, for a moment, the whole little bakery was laughing with him.

"Mmmmmmhh," he groaned, and rolled his eyes closed, because he knew the girl was watching, and something inside him said show her how glowing and good it is and, without thinking, he did.  He fanned his hand near his mouth and tipped his head back, a decent kind of ecstasy, for her benefit alone.

"I know!" she shouted, and slapped the counter with the flat of her hand, clearly pleased.  "Like sunshine, right?"

"Ohhhh," Blaine moaned around another bite.  "Like sunshine, yeah.  Bright.  Tangy.  But underneath there's a kind of green taste, a little planty, a little spicy and not too sweet, either, just" --here, he stole another bite, took a moment to chew and swallow-- "just perfectly--"

"I know!" the girl squealed.  She had her hands clasped on the far lip of the counter and had pulled herself across it, towards Blaine, leaning forward so far she was practically lying on her stomach.  "I told you, he's a genius."  With that, she turned toward the kitchen and hollered, "And I know you're listening, but I mean it anyway!  You're a genius, darling!"  From the kitchen, like an answer, there was a sudden clatter of metal.  She turned back to Blaine and whispered, "I hid four of them for myself, to take home.  Don't--" she winked at him as she slid off the counter and turned on her heel, "don't you dare tell the boss-man!"

With that, she was gone again through the swinging door at the back of the bakery.  In her wake, the kitchen expelled a puff of hot, spiced air, and all the bells and hanging beads shook lightly in its sway.

Blaine sat for a moment, half a cupcake in one hand, his other hand wrapped around the still-steaming paper cup of coffee.  It was just a cupcake, he reasoned, but since no one was looking now, he closed his eyes and slowly slid his tongue through the cream on top.  There was no longer any point in rushing; the damage to the morning had been done, and he would have to run all the way back home to change his clothes, since the coffee stain on his shirt had dried (the girl was right, the shirt was definitely done for) and his pants were probably completely ruined in the back.  Even if he managed to grab a taxi in this rain, it would still take at least an hour to get home and then to the office.  He tried not to think about the office, lit too brightly and drained of color, so sterile the air tasted like Styrofoam, but thoughts kept sneaking back up over him, filling him with--well, not the familiar cold rush and sinking dread he usually felt when he thought of it.  Today, it felt more like a sadness, like blue-black air, like longing, like an empty space.  But it didn't reach his bones, and somewhere in the pit of him he felt verdant and full of sun and solid and real.

He pulled out his phone and started to compose a careful text message.   He would take his time today, for once.  And he would be very late to work. 

::--::

"Are you going to watch him all morning like the big ole creepy homo you are?" 'Trice asked as she chopped walnuts on the table near the door.  "Or are you going to go out there and claim your pride of place as the genius who gave him a mouth-orgasm?"

Kurt turned away from the crack in the swinging door where he'd been pressed for nearly ten minutes, watching the curly-headed man with the coffee-stained shirt licking and nibbling with abandon at the cupcake he'd sent out.  "First of all, 'Trice, that is a disgusting way to describe it.  Second of all, he seems to still be in the middle of whatever enjoyment he's getting, and it would be creepier to interrupt him while he's doing those...things...with his tongue.  And finally," he stopped and carefully curled his left hand over hers, tucking her fingers more carefully under the palm of her hand, "you need to remember your knife skills.  You're the creepy homo, wielding that knife like a serial killer.  I'm a very sweet homo."

'Trice stopped chopping and looked at him, fist on her jutting hip, knife cocked up and glinting dangerously.

"Watch it," she said, "or this creepy homo might just snap and use this knife on something other than these nuts."

"Nice.  Very nice.  A nut joke.  How original of you," Kurt said, and turned his back on her.  Through the crack, he watched the man pop the last bite of cupcake into his mouth and run his thumb slowly over his bottom lip.  Kurt knew it was meant to sweep for crumbs, simply pragmatic, but he saw the movement in slow motion, more of a caress, the man's thumb pulling his own lips apart ever so slightly, and when it reached the corner of his mouth, the thumb dipped in and he sucked it gently.  The tendons of his throat tightened and relaxed when he finally swallowed.  Kurt let out a low sigh.

"He is very pretty, " 'Trice said.

"Stop it.  I just like watching people enjoy what I make.  And it's a recipe experiment.  I'm doing research," he whispered, eye still glued to the crack in the door.  "I'm really not being creepy."

"Uh huh," 'Trice said in a monotone.

Kurt knew he was, of course, being creepy, watching a man who clearly thought he was alone, a very pretty man who'd now gone loose and pliant with pleasure, a man who seemed to be licking his own hand clean like a cat.  Good god, Kurt thought, there should never be napkins anywhere.  Ever.

He also knew he was telling the truth: he really did like watching people enjoy what he baked.  Since he'd given up performing years ago, this was the next best thing to applause.  Always in secret, to make sure nothing was amped up for his benefit, he watched, thrilling at the little licks and hums and shivers of delight brought out by something he had made.  Performing had been like fireworks and diamonds; this was quieter, like fireglow, like warm hands, like love.  He'd never have believed it of himself when he was younger, struggling so hard always to be seen and to be heard, but what he wanted most of all now was to put himself entirely into something made all the more beautiful because it would not last, and to give it over to someone else to be completely devoured until there was nothing left of it, to be smelled and tasted and felt, to become a part of that body.  He could put all his tenderness and love there, and it would, quite literally, feed another person.

"Go out there," 'Trice said.  She pointed the knife at him.  "Just go ask him for his number already, Stalker Barbie."

"No."

"Chef Kurt Elizabeth Hummel, you are a yellow-bellied chicken.  And a baby.  You're a chicken-baby."

"It's too soon."

'Trice rolled her eyes, even though she knew he couldn't see her.  "It's been more than a year.  It's not too soon.  It appears to be exactly the right time," she said, nodding toward the outer room.

Kurt waved her off and turned back to the door.  "Sixteen months.  And I get to say how soon is too soon."

At this moment, let us halt the story to say, because neither Kurt nor 'Trice will mention it, that Kurt had once been in love.

The man's name had been Andy.  He was a freelance writer and a rabid fan of Kurt's baking.  He had a job tending bar, a nice apartment on Jane Street, and a gray-and-brown-spotted dachshund also called Andy.  Lest you think that evidence of some flaw--narcissism or stupidity or lack of imagination--you should know that Andy (the man) had, because he had quite a big soft spot for anything little or broken or both, adopted Andy (the dachshund) at a rather ripe age, when he'd already been answering to that name for many years and, well, you know what they say about teaching an old dog new tricks.  Andy (the man) wasn't going to change his own name, either, since that would be patently ridiculous, and he'd had the name even longer than the dog.  So the two, man and dachshund, shared space and shared names, and eventually came to share Kurt, who loved them both fiercely and protectively and gloriously for four years.

How they had met is not important--perhaps that story will be told here in due course.  Suffice it to say that they did meet, and they fell rapidly in love, and after eight months of loving him, Kurt moved into the little apartment on Jane Street with Andy and Andy, and the three of them began to make a home.  Six months later, Kurt married Andy (the man) and promised also to have and hold Andy (the dachshund) for the rest of his life, too.

It is also not important what the man was like, what it was in Andy that made Kurt love him so quickly and completely.  Because Andy is gone now, knocked off the road by a city bus, laid in a hospital bed, allowed to rest for days in what Kurt desperately told himself over and over was just a peaceful sleep, while his crushed bones and purple bruises and glass scrapes and poor broken body valiantly tried to heal, and, eventually, sixteen months ago by Kurt's count, was laid with somber hands in a gray wooden casket and put where Kurt could never touch him or look on him or whisper to him again.

"How much chopped walnut do we need?"

Kurt jumped and looked at 'Trice as though she'd just appeared from nowhere.

"I'm sorry?  Oh.  I don't even know yet.  I'm experimenting again.  That should do it, though," he said absently, glancing at the pile of mangled nutmeats she'd amassed.  "Let's toast them first."

"Light or dark?"

"Whichever," he said casually, rummaging on the metal shelves for... he wasn't sure what. 

'Trice gave him a lingering, incredulous glance before sweeping the nuts onto a baking sheet and turning toward the ovens.  "I'll just char them, then, if it's all the same to you.  I'm brainstorming names.  Ashy Nut Muffins?  Burny Cakes?  Charcoal Lumpies?"

Kurt was sure she kept going, but he'd tuned her out, turning instead to the crack in the door again.  But the curly-haired man had already left and the shop was empty and quiet.

He poked his head out to check the table where the man had been sitting.  He hoped for a brief moment the man had... what? forgotten his wallet? left a business card with his number and a note for the brilliant pastry chef? dropped a glass slipper under his chair?  He was being ridiculous.

"You are so far gone, Daddy-O," 'Trice mumbled as she swept past him, heading back out through the door to take her usual place at the counter.  Kurt ventured out to stand near the man's table.

"He didn't leave anything," 'Trice said, looking right through him.  "Give it up."

"I..." Kurt said.  He sat down.

"I've got your number, Charlie."  'Trice pointed and aimed her fingers like a gun, narrowing her eyes to a focused squint, but did not fire. 

The man had politely cleaned up after himself at the table, and nothing--not even a smudge or crumb--was left of him there.  All the trash had been cleared away, the table wiped clean.  Nothing lingered, not even the ring of condensation from his coffee cup.

'Trice made an exploding noise and fired her finger-gun straight at him.  "Told you," she said, and winked.  "But he'll definitely be back."

The stool's velvet cushion bore a faint, damp imprint where the man had been sitting, the only evidence he'd even existed at all.

::--::

Recipes are taken straight from Kurt's notebook and reproduced here.  Notes in blue were added by 'Trice because she rocks and she is totally the reason for any of this tasting good, because she does all the hard work while he sprays his hair and fusses with the knot on his apron.  Just saying.


KURT'S AND 'TRICE'S "JUST LIKE SUNSHINE" LEMON AND OLIVE OIL CHIFFON CUPCAKES 

3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
5 eggs, separated
2 egg whites
3/4 cup Florida Crystals or organic cane sugar
2 Tbs (plus! plus!) grated lemon zest (have your lazy assistant grate the zest 3-4 lemons) my ass, hummel, you wish!
1/2 cup expeller-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup Gewurtztraminer wine (or other sweet white)  or maybe it could work with champagne?

Prepare a springform pan (or cupcake tins) with parchment and vegetable oil.

Beat 5 egg yolks with sugar until light yellow and creamy.  In another bowl, combine flours and salt, then add to egg mixture and combine.  Lightly beat in lemon zest.

Drizzle wine and olive oil into the flour mixture and beat just to combine.  If you go at this too energetically, Kurt will scream at you that you are overdeveloping the gluten and it will no longer be pastry!  So mix lightly but thoroughly.

Beat 7 egg whites to soft peak stage.  Peaks should be firm but not dry; again, be careful or Kurt will yell at you that we are making chiffon, not meringue, everything with you is too much!!  Gently fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then fold in remaining whites until thoroughly combined. 

Pour batter into prepared pan(s).  Bake cake at 325 degrees F for 45-50 minutes.  Reduce the time if you're doing cupcakes.  Cake is done when the top springs back when you poke it gently.  Or when a tester comes out clean.  Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

When cool, smother with Ricotta and Whipped Cream Frosting.  Top with fresh basil chiffonade and a candied lemon rind.


RICOTTA AND WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING

2/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 Tbs lemon-basil simple syrup (recipe below)
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Combine and whip into peaks.


LEMON-BASIL SIMPLE SYRUP

1 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
7 large basil leaves
a few curls of lemon peel seriously, hummel, more lemon peel?

Bring to a boil and cook to reduce to 1 cup.  Reserve for use in frosting recipe.



A/N after the fact:  Just in case you're not one of those that reads all the comments below, I'd like to highlight a little advice from , who tried this recipe and wrote in response:

"- MOAR ZEST in the batter.
- The frosting recipe omits a bit of crucial handholding. It calls for both whipping cream and concentrated lemon, and contains no instruction but, "Combine and whip into peaks." If you have ever in your life uttered the phrase, "Crap! I'm out of buttermilk!" you can probably guess why this could be an issue. So: whip the cream until it's quite stiff (but keep an eye on it; you don't want butter). Meanwhile, combine the other ingredients separately. Then fold the two together.
- After you've frosted the cupcakes, drizzle a little of the lemon syrup over each one. They will be less beautiful, but more tasty."


Thank you, Stulti... this is all excellent advice!

::--::

|| chapter 2 ||



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This is so cool so far (and I am a sucker for tasty recipes) so I am definitely looking forward to more :D
Ah, good, I'm glad! The recipe is a mash-up of a couple different ones; I think we're all suckers for herby sweet stuff here!
Well shit, I almost didn't read this I thought it was a reposting of a bakeryfic I found on ff.net.

SOO SOO SOOOOOO excited, this one looks adorable toO! I feel like I'm collecting them now like pokemon. But, hey, who cares
I'm surprised there aren't more food-related fics out there. Everybody should be writing about food. And cooking it for me. Meanwhile, glad you're excited for this one. We are, too.
Aww! I'm a klainer and a former NYC (now suburb) pastry chef and used to work for a mercurial, infant terrible Patrice (a french guy). If I promise not to nitpick that your yummy-sounding recipe is actually technically a chiffon cake and not an angel cake (angel cakes have no yolks and no fat -- sorry, i teach professional pastry and that's one of our exam questions), will you let Irene down easy? :D
Professor of Pastry! Sultan of Sugar! Master of Mmmm? I'm quitting while I'm ahead. THANK you for the help! Going to fix this now. Kurt would never mix up a chiffon with an angel cake, of course, even if he's self-taught. (Would you be interested in being an adviser on this fic, since all of us eat but none of us is a professional chef?)

Don't worry about Irene. I get the feeling she does this quite often. It kind of rolls off her back.
Very interesting start. I'm loving the style in which you wrote this. You've been able to work so much backstory into the natural flow of the story. Hopefully these two will get to actually meet soon.

The recipe sound delicious, though I must admit to not really eating of this nature.
Glad you like this so far! The backstory is definitely the tricky part in a long piece like this, we're finding. How and when to work it in, and doing it deftly, is the difficulty. So glad you like the style so far. Thank you!
This is so cute. I really love how its written, and I'm liking 'Trice, she's fun. Can't wait for more!
I like 'Trice, too. Kurt needs someone snarkier than he is around to keep him in line, I think. She'll certainly make more appearances.
*_____* aaaah, I love this! The setting is adorable and the tone is perfect. Like, I've got the Ameile narrator's voice in my head and it all sounds so whimsical and also CAKE. Can't wait for the rest!
Amelie!? Awesome! Haven't thought about that film since it came out, but the whimsey is certainly of the same ilk. And, yes, expect more cake. Everything is better with cake, for sure. So glad you're enjoying this so far!
I am so beyond excited to read more of this fic!!! :D
Yay! Thank you! We'll update on Thursday, barring natural disaster or cake failure.
I have been hopelessly in love with your writing style since How Something Like Luck You Are, but I was lurking then, so I never said anything. Gah, the section from the sky's POV... I'm still not over it. How do you words?

Anyway, your use of language is so decadent; I find myself slowing down to savor it. (Uh, food related puns only semi-intended.) I think my favorite here is the section immediately following Blaine's first bite of the cupcake. Or the description of why Kurt likes baking. It's just all so lovely and evocative. Can't wait to read more! :)
Oh, gosh, now I'm blushing. Thank you, and I'm really glad you like the writing style. A bit baroque, maybe, but we ARE writing about pastry, so it seems fitting to me, anyway.

Food puns are ALWAYS welcome. And gay bakery puns, if you have them, are even better!

Thanks for the very SWEET review. So glad you're reading along!
I'm loving the style you're writing this in (it kind of reminds me of Pushing Daisies), and your characters are awesome. Kurt is just adorable and hilarious, 'Trice deserves all the high fives, and I just want to wrap Blaine up in a giant fuzzy hug.
Very interesting start and I can't wait to read more.
Also, way to my heart is totally through food - can't wait to try out this new cupcake recipe!
Hooray for a Pushing Daisies comparison--hadn't thought of it before, but the narration, the sugar and the hint of magic are certainly all there. Now all we need is a visit from Kristin Chenowith. Actually, I kind of just need a visit from Kristin Chenowith, so if anyone could arrange that, I would be grateful. :)

Thanks for the encouraging review. Really glad you're enjoying and following along.
Oh my god. Okay.

1) I LOVE THE STYLE OF THIS.
2) This is oddly, wonderfully reminiscent of Stranger than Fiction. Have you seen it? Just enough to be like ...oh man, I hope that movie inspired you to write this fic.
3) I love recipes, and I love baking, and OH MY GOD I HAVE GOT TO TRY MAKING THOSE CUPCAKES but damn, I'm tired.
4) I completely understand what Blaine was experiencing with that cupcake. I was just talking to a co-worker yesterday (who also appreciates food) about that, and she terms them C.O.'s ... culinary orgasms. Yes. Yes. Yes.
5) I think this fic is going to be my new obsession.
Hey, awesome!
1) Glad you love the style. Wasn't sure about the baroque descriptions and wordiness, so the compliment is a nice one here!
2) I saw STRANGER THAN FICTION when it came out; wasn't thinking of it particularly, but it is making me smile how many slightly-magical, quirky narrated films/TV shows people are mentioning here, and they're all ones I really liked, so it's certainly possible the tone of that fed this one somewhere in my subconscious. It's a comparison I wouldn't kick out of bed for eating crackers, for sure! (Marc Forster? OK!)
3) You do have to try making those cupcakes, for sure. They were delicious. I made the cake as a cake, and a friend literally ate HALF of it in one sitting. Which was probably for the best.
4) C.O.? Brilliant. Glitterwocky, who is directing this fic, has described something exactly like this several times in her vision for this. Upcoming on her request list: chocolate and salted-caramel cupcake orgasm.
5) Why, I do declare! Happy to hear it! We will certainly try to live up to that responsibility.

Thanks for all the encouragement and kind comments!
Holy crap those cupcakes look amazinggg! Totally making them
When I get back to the states. This story is adorable and I love that u added a recipe for the cupcakes! Thank u!
Glitterwocky is an evil genius when dreaming up awesome things to cook and eat. And she doesn't even cotton to sugar all that much!

Glad you're enjoying the story so far! Thank you!
What muses to inspire such poetry! I am nothing short of giddy in anticipation for more, more, MORE of your delectable words. The collaborative recipes at the finale are sweet icing on the proverbial punny cake. I melt.
ditto
What a great start, and I totally love the premise of this story. Looking forward to more!
Really glad you've enjoyed it so far! The credit for the premise belongs entirely to Glitterwocky, who seems to have a preternatural talent for thinking up just the right situations.
YOur story is utterly delightful. I can't wait to read the rest - and drool over all of the recipes.

I tried making the cupcakes today and failed miserably. I didn't have pastry floor, so I just tried to use all purpose flour, which was probably mistake number one. I used white grape juice instead of wine. I had to hand beat the eggs and my whites weren't anywhere comes to making peaks - they were froathy, at least. Are you sure that the amount of flour is right? It seemed very watery even before adding the egg whites and it was soup with the whites. I added in extra flour then, but the cupcakes were flat, tough, flavorless lumps, hardly what Blaine was raving about. Does it need baking powder?

Should the syrup also have sugar in it?

I'm going to try again tomorrow, so some baking advice would be appreciated!
Oh, dear, sorry the recipe didn't work for you! For the cake, it's leavened with the eggs (no baking soda or powder used). You do need to beat the eggs pretty vigorously and for a while to get to soft peak stage--an electric mixer makes this quick work, but you can do it by hand, it's just a lot of labor! A friend of mine tells the story about when he was in cooking school and one of the chefs made them all beat egg whites into meringue by hand, just so they would appreciate what it meant to do so. That's why I like my electric mixer! Be religious about the eggs if you're going to do this--make sure they get to the right stage, or the cake won't be light and spongy. Once you've lovingly beaten the crap out of those eggs, fold them gently into the mix, so that you don't deflate them. The beating helps incorporate a lot of air into them, which is important here, so you don't want to lose it when you fold it in.

The amount of flour is right--it's a relatively small amount of flour, for sure, but again, the eggs are the feature of this cake.

As for the syrup, yes, that was a big ooops! It's been corrected now, but we forgot to write that one in! (It's not really a syrup without sugar, is it?) You'll need 2/3 cup sugar when you boil and reduce the mixture. Thanks for pointing that out!

Thanks for reading and leaving feedback--glad you're trying out the recipes, too! This week's recipe, for cookies, is considerably less trouble and just as delicious!
This is completely different from what I was expecting, based on the title- in the best possible way. (I thought it was going to involve Sugar Motta! Luckily I started reading before I decided to click away from the page.)

I really love the style of this story- there is an atmosphere to it. And I love all the little side-note backstories that slip in here and there. Plus, we get recipes? Extra bonus!
Yikes, Sugar Motta is so far off my radar (not a fan of that character) that I hadn't even thought about that! Glad you pushed on anyway, and that you're enjoying the story. Thanks for reading!
I found this story today and I think it's absolutely brilliant! Your writing style is beautiful, so poetic and expressive, when Blaine took a bite of the cupcake, I felt like tasting it myself. And the way you adress the reader directly is so fresh and amusing, so fabulous in its very own and unique way, I hope you don't mind me saying this, but the tale of the two Andys reminded me a lot of John Irving, the same intelligent, absurd, heartwarming humour, one second you laugh about the identity of names and in the next second you cry over the tragic death of Andy the man. And now that I think of it, you didn' t say what happened to Andy the dachshund. This story truly is a gem and I'm very happy to have found it.
Oh, John Irving! An actual book reference! Hooray! John Irving used to be my dirty, secret pleasure, my reading-for-the-plane when I was younger. You describe his stuff exactly perfectly, too.

Andy the daschund is still around. Kurt did, after all, promise to have and hold him until death, too! He's not allowed at the bakery, obviously, but he will probably make an appearance at some point soon.

(Fair warning, though... the little guy IS getting old. He's not entirely spry.)

So glad you found the story and you're enjoying everything. Thank you for the nice comments!
Oh, god, this is just so REFRESHING.

A while back, I was whining to SOMEONE that there needed to be bakery owner!Kurt fic, and why didn't this exist, and I am SO GLAD IT EXISTS! I can't believe I missed this at first, but I'm so glad I found it now and I can't wait to try the cupcakes, yes. But, refreshing. That's what I keep coming back to.
That's funny! Entirely Glitterwocky's idea. And, in fact, I was hesitant to do it at first. But she is always right about these things.

You should totally try the cupcakes and tell me how it goes. Because there should be more cupcakes in the world. It's your duty to help put them there. It's my duty to help take them out.

Thanks for the nice comments!
questionnnn: how many cupcakes does the recipe serve?
(also i love this story :D)
From this recipe, you'll probably get between 2 and 3 dozen cupcakes, depending on how big the cups are (I use giant muffin tins for my cupcakes, so...).

This all assumes, of course, that you do not eat any of the batter before baking. Which, again, is a terrible idea because of the eggs. But some of us are unable to control ourselves.

Good luck with the recipe!
Oh my god, I just found this GEM and have been grinning like a fool (and made an "oh, no!" face at the Tale of Andy Squared) and this is just delicious. (hurr)

In my head Jim Dale is narrating this, and nothing hurts. Love it.
Psst..

Hey, Q...

Stoney is reading our fic.

Tee hee.
Hurrah!! Only the other day I was bemoaning the lack of Baker!Kurt fics, and now this!! I know just how Blaine felt eating that cupcake :)

Plus, I really want to try that recipe now - only I'm not even sure what half the things are !!!!
I did not realize this was a thing, baker!Kurt, but glitterwocky clearly did. And now you can stop bemoaning. Which is usually unbecoming. So, yay! (See what I did?)

Listen, if you're going to try the recipe, don't be intimidated. You can substitute familiar stuff aplenty. Especially the wine. Even white grape juice or apple juice will work. The only tricky part is dealing with the eggs--an electric mixer is a necessity, unless you have fortitude, perseverance, and well-developed biceps. The toughest and most important part is really achieving a good texture on the whites and folding them into the batter without deflating. If you can do that, you're golden. Otherwise, just try the frosting. Glitterwocky made it and ate it off biscuits. Good luck!
Verry cute so far. Andy's story really touched me somehow, and I should mention that's not easy to do.
Also, you should know I'm in the middle of a night shift which only ends at 7am and it's Passover, which means there are no pastries to be seen for about a week. I now crave cupcakes like nobody's business. Just saying.
Oh no! This story is DEFINITELY NOT kosher for Passover. Yikes. Can we do something like a fruit jell? A matzoh pudding? Or a very, very flat cupcake? Hmph.

I am sending you imaginary cupcakes to cheer you on (those are always kosher) until you have the green light again to eat with abandon. Then you can have seventy cupcakes if you want.

Glad you're touched and also enjoying this, despite the torture.

Five Recs

User stultiloquentia referenced to your post from Five Recs saying: [...] so hardcore. It's like getting shocked by socks in the winter." Sweet! A Love Story Told in Sugar [...]
hehehe! Someone recommended this story to me and at first glance, I thought it was entitled, "Sweet! A Love Story Told By Sugar." Like, Sugar Motta. What is wrong with me?

I really enjoy how you write. You're very unique. I can see why people are loving this. <3

I was super excited when I saw the recipe at the end...and then I remembered that I'm a vegan. ;P
You're not the first person to have read this as being by/about Sugar Motta. What is wrong with ME that the possibility never entered my mind??

Glad you're liking this. The lemon cake recipe, yes, isn't very vegan-friendly. (Though you could certainly take the flavor principles and apply them to a more vegan cake!) But the rest in following chapters are really easy to convert. (I was a vegan for over a decade, so we can sure talk if you can't figure out how to convert them...) Kurt would throw a tantrum at the thought of you desecrating his recipes with something other than REAL BUTTER, but as long as you don't mention it, I won't, either.
Toddling back in to say, well, that went well.

Notes I'm adding on top of 'Trice's notes:

- MOAR ZEST in the batter.
- The frosting recipe omits a bit of crucial handholding. It calls for both whipping cream and concentrated lemon, and contains no instruction but, "Combine and whip into peaks." If you have ever in your life uttered the phrase, "Crap! I'm out of buttermilk!" you can probably guess why this could be an issue. So: whip the cream until it's quite stiff (but keep an eye on it; you don't want butter). Meanwhile, combine the other ingredients separately. Then fold the two together.
- After you've frosted the cupcakes, drizzle a little of the lemon syrup over each one. They will be less beautiful, but more tasty.

My office, which is full of food snobs on ruthlessly maintained diets, averaged about two per person. HAH. They wish to inform you that they are eagerly awaiting the next chapter.
Oooh, perfect advice about the cream. I forget, since I'm so used to working with it, how dangerously easy it is to make butter (done it once or twice, and usually by accident). I'm going to put this advice as a note near the recipe, if you don't mind, so that everyone will see it.

And yay, office! Though this makes some more work for you, eh?!
This is so perfect. I want to constantly quote it in everyday conversation. You might be the best thing I've ever seen/read/just-plain-EXPERIENCED.
Goodness! Well, thank you for that high compliment! I'm glad you enjoy it!
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