You’re supposed to make a big deal about birthdays in my book, so having only one child means it’s probably a little bit excessive around here. First, there are the required cupcakes for the class. My child is quite vocal about how she doesn’t like storebought cupcakes. She says it’s the frosting, she doesn’t like what passes for buttercream. Can you blame her?
So, for the class, I made Red Velvet cupcakes from my 1956 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook. I frosted them with Cook’s Illustrated Creamy Chocolate Frosting. This is the first time I’ve paired the two recipes and they work well together. That cake definitely needs a big, fluffy frosting to go with it and this one does it.
Then, for her family celebration, we had what has become tradition – carrot cake from The New Basics Cookbook, complete with their cream cheese frosting recipe. I know they say that cupcakes are on their way out and are being replaced with pie, but in this house, cupcakes are still pretty popular. Perfect portion sizes AND you can pop the extras in the freezer. They pack much better in a lunchbox than a piece of pie (or cake for that matter).
I tend to follow baking recipes pretty religiously. It’s all chemistry and since any variation can throw a recipe off, I don’t try to get funky with it. The one exception to that rule are those carrot cake cupcakes. I substitute half a cup of applesauce for oil and I use a cup of wheat flour. They are also made from carrots that Edie plants herself in the garden every spring (or at least reminds and then supervises my planting of the seeds). It’s one of the healthiest treat I bake and so, so good. The only thing I throw in carrot cake are raisins – we’re not fans of nuts in our baked goods, so they don’t get thrown in, nor do I add anything else, like coconut or pineapple.
For dinner, I made lasagna, but it didn’t quite turn out. I may have used too much sauce, or cheese or both, with not enough noodles. I used the no boil noodles and I guess I thought they would spread out more than they did. It still tasted good, but it wasn’t quite lasagna….oh well. It was edible and no one minded and the cupcakes more than made up for it.
Tomorrow is Pat’s birthday. He has yet to request a dinner or a dessert, leaving it up to me to surprise him. No idea what I’m going to throw together yet. Saturday night, we are hosting 5 of Edie’s friends for a slumber party and our menu has been planned for weeks. There will be more baking of course, and then I’m looking forward to NOT baking and NOT entertaining for at least a week. I get burned out on it right about this time every year – I’ve been baking since November after all and even though I love baking, I’m pretty sure that 6 dozen cupcakes, a cheesecake and a yet to be determined treat is a bit much for a week’s worth of baking.
Thankfully, we’ve shared a good bit of it, so it’s not like we have it lying around the house. Forget the holiday gain, I’ve got January birthday gain. I’m soooo hitting the gym next week…..