I've Been Baking

0821-bakingDo you remember that episode of Gray’s Anatomy when Izzie’s terminally ill boyfriend dies, which sends her into a craze where she bakes muffins all day every day for about a week in order to cope? OK, I’m not quite there, but I’ve been baking a lot–brownies, cookies, zucchini bread, muffins, and these amazing black bottom cupcakes (recipe to follow) that I turn to now and then when things aren’t going so well. Truth is, nobody’s dying here. Everyone’s healthy, we have jobs (and frankly, I have too much work). And we have a roof over our heads–a nice roof, which covers a pretty darn nice house (time to be grateful!). But you know when you dream a big dream and it doesn’t pan out the way you hoped? It’s tough.

I’m talking about our house sale, which is looking more and more like it’s not meant to be. We still have a little more time before our contract runs out on the Bainbridge Island dream house (and it truly is a dream house, which makes me sniffle a little more as I type here), so I won’t get all Negative Nancy just yet. Even still, all signs have been pointing to a big fat NO. The Seattle real estate market seems to be dead. Lifeless. An absolute ghost town. (P.S. We’ve gotten some interest, but only from people who seem to want the Deal Of The Century. “Will you accept our offer for $200,000 less than you’re asking?” Um, no.)

Maybe it’s not our time? Maybe God is looking out for us in ways we can’t anticipate? Maybe we’re meant to live a little simpler right now (I mean, heck, Jason could lose his job and my hands could become paralyzed and unable to type, and we could live comfortably in this house for years and years on our reserves). I guess that’s a good thing, right?

So we will take a deep breath, and count our blessings, and wait. And if this deal doesn’t come together, we will reset. And maybe buy some new couches, and a coffee table, and recarpet the upstairs. And I will bake some more cupcakes.

Black Bottom Cupcakes


¾  package of an 8-ounce cream cheese package, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
¼ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


To make the filling, mix together the sugar, egg, vanilla and cream cheese in a mixer until smooth. Mix in the chocolate chips and set aside. To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin cups. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Using your hands, make a “well” in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour the wet ingredients in. Lightly mix the two together with a spatula until the mixture is well combined, but not overmixed. Using an ice scream scoop, or a spoon, divide the batter amongst all 12 cupcakes. Then, spoon a dollop of the cream-cheese filling on top of each, pushing the spoon down a bit to make sure the filling gets into the center of each cupcake. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops of the cupcakes look just golden brown. The center should have a soft, gooey texture, so don’t overcook! These store well for up to three days in an airtight container.

  • August 21, 2009

    Sarah, I will pray for you. We have never met of course, but I do hope God will reveal His perfect Plan for your lives.

  • August 21, 2009

    My heart goes out to you! Just remember it only takes one full price buyer to make the deal happen. And everyone needs a home. My realtor told me that once when I sold a home and was nervous about it. The Seattle market should bounce back soon. Sending prayers your way. P.S. those cupcakes look heavenly!

  • August 21, 2009

    good luck with it all….my folks are selling their place too and it’s hard now. those cookies look amazing though

  • August 22, 2009

    oh my goodness, these cupcakes look amazing! and we’re rooting for you, sarah. xoxo

  • August 23, 2009

    Well baking is definitely an okay way to cope! Fingers crossed for you all!

  • August 23, 2009

    Ugh, I am so sorry to hear about your house situation. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason though – no matter how irritating that may sound. 😉

  • August 26, 2009

    I honestly do not know how you do it; you juggle so much and you always seem to maintain your poise. Props to you! 🙂

  • August 27, 2009

    Well baking is definitely an okay way to cope! Fingers crossed for you all!

  • August 30, 2009

    mmmm your post makes me what to bake my worries away. Starting with the cupcakes:) bummer on the house deal:(

  • October 12, 2009

    Hi Sarah,
    My name is kassandra and I live in New York with my lovely husband; we’re both in real estate in Manhattan and it has been quite a challenge since September 2008; what a year huh?

    Anyway, you do not know me, but I came accross your blog online as the Vitamin G article caught my eyes…I continued to read on. Absolutely a joy!

    We do not have time to focus on things that aren’t going right; all we have to do is re-think on how to move on, and you seem to have that under wraps.

    I have been baking myself, I think it is a Fall thing; some of my favorites are:
    sugar free banana bread, (some honey though; about two tablespoons)
    sugar free carrot cake-same
    flourless chocolate cake; hmmm
    Your little one is adorable- I absolutely enjoyed reading your articles and I just had to leave a comment.

    The world is a better place for savy bloggers like you. Do you freelance?



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