Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Birthday Specialty!

Happy Birthday to me! And to one of my best friends Jaylene! We share a unique bond. Can you guess what? Our birthdays are the same! Let me tell you a story. Jaylene and I met on the first day of University (not technically the first day), but the day that we were scheduled to move into our residences. We we sharing the same rez suite; I was lucky enough to have a single room and Jaylene had a double room with one of her best friends from home, who also grew to be one of my closest friends, Robyn. In the next days to come, we discovered that we shared the same birthday. Over the years we became closer and closer, and found more and more similarities between our families (primarily that both our mother's shared pretty much the same person and were kind of identical in most respects).

A bittersweet turn to the story happened just in the last few months. Jaylene and I (and Robyn) went our separate ways. Robyn stayed in Ottawa to work and continue schooling, I moved to London to do my Masters degree, and Jaylene moved back to her hometown (temporarily) before leaving to teach English in South Korea just last week! This is the first time in 6 years that we haven't been together for our birthday :(, but we are both doing such amazing things (although I think I'm more jealous of what she's doing now that I've got a crap load of work to do).

So I decided to celebrate (somewhat) online by making confetti cupcakes and sweet sugar cookies for our birthday. While Jaylene couldn't enjoy the spoils, she was able to see the pictures and my classmates got the spoils! P.S. Forgive my crappy picture taking, there may be several posts like this. Lately I'll finish something late at night and then only have a very short amount of time in the wee-early hours of the morning to take pictures, so lighting has been abominable.

The cupcakes were interesting- not in a bad way, they were very tasty! I may have kept them in the oven a minute too long, I'm not sure, but the tops of the cupcakes became a little crispy. Upon doing a quality control test Sean deemed that they were the best cupcakes he'd had because he liked the texture so much. They were topped with a sweet and airy simple American Buttercream... yum! If you're interested in making decorated sugar cookies, check out this post on Baby Shower Cookies.

Yield: 24 cupcakes
1 cup milk, room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Whisk the milk, egg whites, vanilla and almond extracts together in a medium-sized bowl.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed briefly to combine. Cut the butter into 6 pieces and add them to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until the mixture is coarse and sandy. Add milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl and continue beating for 20-30 seconds. Use a spatula to gently fold in the sprinkles.

Divide the batter evenly among the wells 1/2- 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and allow them to cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream (American)
2 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Stir the heavy cream, vanilla extract and salt together in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on med-high speed until smooth. With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar until it is completely incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the heavy cream mixture. Increase the mixer to medium speed and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. If the frosting is too soft, simply add more powdered sugar, and vice versa if it is too stiff, add more heavy cream.

Sources: Cupcakes from Baking Bites and Frosting from Cooks Illustrated via Tracey's Culinary Adventures Pin It

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