Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Birthday Cupcakes

So I had my 30th birthday. I actually feel pretty good about it, even though my son keeps reminding me that I'm starting to look my age. Long ago are the days when I could pass for a college student. Now I get questions like this from Xander: "Mom, why are there so many lines around your eyes?" Or I get exclamations such as this: "Mom, I can see all your white hair!" Ah, kids. You just have to appreciate their pure honesty, and laugh because it is at your expense.

I had a hard time trying to decide what kind of cake to make myself. Originally, we debated the idea of having Andy make a cake for me, but we decided that it would be fun for me to get a break from the kids and just bake in a quiet house. So he took off with the boys and I holed up in the kitchen with my brand-new cookbook, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. After much consideration, and after finally asking Xander his opinion, I decided on Red Hot Velvet Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream. Because the cake itself is a three-layer cake loaded in between its layers with piles of buttercream frosting, I didn't want to make the whole entire cake for just myself, Xander, and Andy. I had the good fortune of finding an adaptation of this recipe on Recipezaar where it was turned into cupcakes for Oprah's magazine back around Valentine's Day. So I simply used this idea, cut the recipe in half, and ended up with 12 cupcakes. Perfect! Or at least, a perfect amount for our little family.

The cupcakes turned out really good. I was a little bummed because even though the recipe called for dark cocoa powder, I used regular because I was certain I had used all my dark for a different recipe. About a week after I baked the cupcakes, guess what we found in our cupboard? That's right, the dark cocoa powder. I'm sure it would have made the cakes taste richer and even yummier, but they were still good. Next time I will definitely use the dark. It was also fun for me to play around with using a piping bag to get the frosting onto the cupcakes. I think I've been inspired now to take a cake decorating class or something, because I know I'd have a blast. In the meantime, I'm going to have fun at home experimenting with the delicious-sounding recipes in my new cookbook.

Oh, by the way, in the picture of Xander, he is eating a cupcake, not losing a bloody brawl in a dark alley!

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