Monday, August 24, 2009

Birthday Cupcakes

Sometimes I get far more credit for being creative than I actually deserve. Everything about these cupcakes was stolen. The cake recipe is straight out of BAKED (as is the buttercream frosting recipe). The idea for the decorations is also stolen from...somebody...or some collection of bodies on the internet that came up when I searched for "Beach cake". It all melded together in my brain and I spat out what you see above.

Seconda wanted a water party for her 7th birthday, complete with a beach themed cake. So, my version of that is...gummi bears in little gummi inner tubes riding the waves (with big fishes) while some other gummi bears lie on the sand (crushed vanilla wafer cookies) under big umbrellas.

But here's the part I will happily take credit for: I made the cake and frosting from scratch. I think that's only the second time in...*counting*...16 birthday cakes, that I've actually done it all from scratch. Usually I'm so focused on the decorations, or the girls want something so specific, that I feel it can only be done with boxed cake mix and/or tubs of store-bought frosting. *Standing in silhouette in the fields of Tara*--As god is my witness, I'll never use boxed mix again! Really. Never. And neither should you.

I used the Whiteout Cake recipe from BAKED (and followed their advice to use an extra egg yolk if making cupcakes). The cake was so tender, and moist, and delicious. Even without frosting.

But, of course, there has to be frosting. Once again, I used their Green Tea Frosting recipe minus the matcha powder, for a traditional buttercream frosting. And once again I sing its praises. Light, buttery, delicious. And, I discovered this time, holds its consistency well even with the addition of food dye and with being in and out of the fridge.

A tasty success.

TGIP Rating--Whiteout Cake--KEEPER. And next time I'm making it as a three-layer cake with their white chocolate buttercream frosting. Yum.

Next up: I started a job today. After being out of the workforce for almost exactly 10 years. One of my first (and most beloved) supervisors when I first started working at UC Berkeley, fresh out of college, was Helen Oless. She also happened to be a chef. We talked all the time about how she was going to teach me to make pastries, but we never actually did it. I, sadly, lost touch with her several years ago. But, a couple of weeks ago, in one of my random attempts to try and locate her again, I searched for her name on the internet and found this. And this. Frankly, I don't know if it's the same Helen. I suspect it is, mainly because of the Italian bent of these recipes. So, I think I'll try the one with prosciutto because it will give me an excuse to go to Caputo's. And I'll pretend Helen herself is teaching me to make make bread.

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