it’s grown on…in me ::::
And I’m back! Midst fragmented sleep and trying to delegate domestic activities (and trying not to remote access into my work email), I’m back in the kitchen a little. To be honest, before Sky-Girl was born, I thought I’d have a little more time before her due date to cook and post some of my prior recipes. This recipe is one of them, this frilly pre-party with girly cupcakes. I’m happy to report that Peach and Grub gave the cupcakes the thumbs’ up before Sister Sky upset the balance of Mommy’s treats from the kitchen. (The in-laws took care of that with an awesome shaved ice machine — I can’t and won’t compete!) I’m usually not a frilly dessert maker, but once in awhile it just seems necessary.
When Peach was born, I was about anti-pink and anti-frill as one could be. But then I saw her in the Sunday underpants, the flowery onesies, and polka dotted dresses. It was a cuteness overload. And for Sky-Girl, I’ve fully immersed myself into pink, though open to color deviations. We feel more prepared this time around, though with a little more chaos in the house with a five year old and two year old at the helm.
Sometimes to assuage this chaos, after a good dinner, we use dessert. To pre-celebrate Baby Girl’s arrival, get in the appropriate nesting, to get my baking on, as well as giving Peach and Grub a treat, I decided to make cupcakes. Angel food cake was a favorite of mine as a child, light and cloud-like, so different than other buttery, heavy cakes. It surprised me then, just recently, when I realized that I had never MADE one. What a perfect way to welcome our new baby into the home, with an angelic cake and a frilly pink frosting. Despite my attempt at a more puffy cupcake, these lovelies rose at first, then deflated a bit in the oven and out. I did fill the cupcake wells fairly high, however, and I didn’t have any overflow mess. The batter was pretty thick.
As for the decorating choice, I didn’t want perfection. My theme may be girly pink for the arrival of our daughter, but really, am I going to make each cupcake exactly the same in bubbly design and number of pearly sprinkles? No way. Why? Each of our children are unique. The phrase “cut from the same cloth” may apply to where one comes from, but the grain of that cloth, how it is used, what it becomes, is endless. It is one of the most exciting things before a baby’s birth to imagine who they will become. Once Peach and Grub arrived, I couldn’t imagine them not being here in this world, each of their personalities distinct and a blessing.
Welcome to the world, Sky-Girl. So far, you are swimming in a mire of pink and cuteness. Feel free to deviate from this social expectation. Big Sister Peach and Big Brother Grub will be happy to give you suggestions.
One year ago: chia honey limeade
- FOR THE CUPCAKES:
- ¾ cup cake flour (84 g)
- ¾ cup powdered sugar (74 g)
- 6 egg whites (mine equaled 175 g)
- ¼ teaspoon white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- FOR THE FROSTING: 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 8 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese, softened
- pink food coloring (or other color) - I used Wilton's food gel
- Make the cupcakes: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, sift together flour and powdered sugar; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk, beat egg whites, white vinegar, and salt on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar and vanilla, and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Add sifted flour mixture and gently fold until smooth*; fill 12 muffin tin cups lined with cupcake liners to the top with batter. In retrospect, I should have used a piping bag to fill the cupcake wells, to make each cupcake a little more even.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, then for 15-20 more minutes at 325 degrees until lightly browned. Let cool completely.
- Make the frosting: In a bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla, salt, and zest on medium-high speed of a hand mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar and juice, and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. If using food coloring, add it here. Gently stir in mascarpone, and then transfer frosting to a small piping bag or plastic bag fitted with a plain tip.** I made a bubbly design, it seemed to fit the girly-pink theme. I topped mine with the quintessential girly topper: edible pink pearls.
- These keep well in the fridge (for the sake of keeping the frosting from wilting) or at room temperature if in cooler climes, for a couple of days.