Yes, my darling readers. Today is my birthday. My 29th birthday, to be exact. And while it’s probably considered déclassé to do so, I have baked myself cupcakes for my birthday. No, not because nobody else would, or because there would be a lack of cake or treats. But because nobody knows quite what I like or want like I do. Sure, my mom knows me really well, and Jay, and my girl Sami, and a few other close friends. But still. I know me better. Besides, I had these leopard print cupcake liners sitting here for months, just waiting for their day in the sun. And I knew that I’d use them for my birthday because I have a thing for leopard print. And the color pink. Oh, you didn’t know that?
Me in my Jessie Steele leopard print apron. This is a photo from March 2010. Unfortunately, my hair is no longer that awesome lavender color, it’s just platinum blonde. Also, it’s a completely different style, which I’ll share with you another time…
And my stand mixer, camera and laptop are all pink. So if you weren’t aware that I have slight obsessions with those things, now you are. Since I bake for everyone else & their birthdays- why shouldn’t I bake for myself!? So I decided I wanted pink cupcakes, in these leopard liners, with chocolate frosting (because it went really well with the brown in the liners) and some pink sprinkles (recipes can be found by clicking the ‘Continue Reading…’ link at the bottom of this post). Then I thought, let me take it a step further. Inspired by Lyns who’s posted about this phenomenon… how about cupcakes on top of cupcakes?!
And so that’s exactly what I did.
I got mini-cupcake liners in the same leopard print as the large ones, and decorated them the same way, hot pink sprinkles & all. Then I just put the little ones right on top of the regular ones, and stuck on some skull & crossbones. How cute is that, seriously? Combine all that with the vintage skull toppers (which are for Halloween really, shhh), andd I think they’re the perfect birthday cupcakes for me. Although… I have a confession to make. When I said I used chocolate frosting… well, I did. But it wasn’t just a regular buttercream. It’s what I like to call ‘chocolate velvet’ buttercream; I probably used twice the amount of cocoa powder without increasing the rest of the ingredients. It makes it thicker, darker and richer- like fudge. Harder to pipe out, I admit, but I could use the arm and hand muscle exercise. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much pink coloring left, so the cupcakes weren’t hot pink, but they were a pretty pale pink. That works too.
Happy birthday to me!
I got some sweet-ass baking related gifts this year, as per usual (if you’ve been reading the blog a while, you’ll remember I got Lola for my birthday 2 years ago…). I got my KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment from my dear sweet Jay, Yoyo says she plans on making me “an apron for every holiday” which to me sounds fucking superb! I’m spoiled rotten. I also got other stuff, but you all only come here for the cookery/bakery info. I know that. You baking sluts. But before I get to the recipes I have a few things to say.
I honestly cannot believe I’m 29 and this is my last year in my 20’s. It’s surreal. It seems like yesterday I was just some little teenage punk with purple hair and a spike collar thinking I was so revolutionary. Don’t get me wrong- I’ve learned a lot in the past 12 years since I was that little punk (okay, actually, it’s only been 9 years since I had pink hair, so I guess I was a “little punk” after I was out of my teens too), and some amazing things have happened to me, and some shitty things, but I learned a lot… and most of it I wish I knew back then. But youth is wasted on the young, right? So time marches on, and I guess I just can’t believe it’s marched this fast. You never believe your parents when they tell you this is gonna happen, and then before you know it you’re telling kids that and feeling like a old fart in the process. I mean, look at me, I’m calling teenagers “kids.” That’s just plain weird. If the 16 year old me saw me now, with my baking & my knitting & aversion to “going out”, she’d probably blow a gasket laughing her ass off, and I’d probably slap the shit out of her for the stupid things she did. I’ve changed so much, but at the same time I know I also really haven’t. All I know is, it seems like I woke up 29 today but went to bed last night a 16 year old. Unbelievable. I can’t believe this blog is going to be THREE YEARS OLD this September. Crazy!
Anyway, being non-religious, I don’t believe in “blessings” per se, but for lack of a better term I have been incredibly “blessed.” I choose not to have many friends or acquaintances or random people share in my life, but instead have just a few extremely genuine people I truly care about, and I happen to have a very special inner circle that I adore. That includes people I’ve known my whole life, people I’ve known since I’m a teen, people I’ve known since college, people I’ve never met in person or people I’ve met only once. It includes blood relations, non-blood relations that feel like blood relations, and people who couldn’t be further from my blood relation. So thank you to them for being there for the past 29 years, 15 years, 10 years or 5 years- the amount of time doesn’t matter, it’s the stuff that happens in that amount of time that does. So thank you, you beautiful people. I love you all. And if you doubt that, then maybe you aren’t one of the ones I meant *wink*
Muchas gracias to sweet estelle’s baking supply for the larger leopard liners & Bake It Pretty for the mini-cupcake liners & sprinkles. They both have beautiful stuff, every baker dreams of having cupboards stocked with things like they sell. Or at least I do. I have no idea where the skulls are from, they were a gift. But surely you can find something similar on one of the many internet baking supply stores if you desire them.
MARTHA STEWART WHITE CUPCAKES (I dyed them pink using Wilton ‘rose pink’ gel food coloring)
- 2 ¼ cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cups milk
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ cups plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 4 large egg whites
Then you’re gonna:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake or muffin tins with papers; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine milk and vanilla in a glass measuring cup.
- Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat until pale and creamy. With mixer on medium speed, gradually add sugar in a steady stream; continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low.
- Add flour mixture to butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk mixture and starting and ending with the flour. Do not overbeat.
- In a clean bowl of electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of the whites into flour mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg whites in two batches, being careful not to deflate the whites.
- Pour batter into prepared tins, filling cups to about ½ inch from the tops. Bake until a cake tester inserted near the centers comes out clean and the tops spring back when pressed lightly in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool completely before icing or storing.
CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
Get this stuff together:
- 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 3 to 5 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Place the butter and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until the mixture is soft and well combined, 30 seconds.
- Stop the machine and add the confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons of the milk, and the vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more.
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoons more milk if the frosting is too stiff.
As I said above, I made a much richer chocolate frosting by doubling the cocoa powder yet not doubling the rest of the ingredients. If you want to do that, just be aware it will be incredibly thick and difficult to pipe. I’d recommend adding more of everything evenly until you get a dark enough frosting, unless you want to break a sweat piping.