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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cupcake surprise for Mother's Day gift - recipe included

Make an elegant, yummy Mother's Day gift.
I love to cook and desserts are one of my favorite things to make. I think that's because if I'm going to indulge and not think about the calories - it had better be delicious - and usually, I find grocery store desserts look good, but aren't so good. Most of the time I don't mind making desserts from scratch because they taste so good.

Now, the lowly cupcake from my childhood has been elevated to a new level and there are wonderful recipes - but mostly it is the endless variety of special additions that you can make to a cupcake so that each one in a batch can be completely different.

I do love to cook but I have to admit that I have not mastered the art of beautiful presentation - even though I think presentation makes a huge difference. Here is a great, simple vanilla cake recipe - from scratch. Mom will appreciate the love in each delicious cupcake and appreciate the time and attention you spent on her Mother's Day gift.

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
Add lemon zest if you'd like to give it a really different taste:
Lemon Zest - The yellow outer rind of the lemon that contains the fruit's flavor and perfume. The rind being the outer skin of the lemon which consists of both the yellow zest and white membrane (pith).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
For the Cupcakes: Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture, along with the milk, and beat until combined.
Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. If you want flat topped cupcakes then slice off the dome of each cupcake, with a sharp knife, before frosting.

Now - for the frosting - if you're going to the trouble to make the cake from scratch - you've got to make the frosting from scratch. Here is a recipe for buttercream frosting (mmmm). This is the kind you use for decorating - just what you need for your
Buttercream Frosting:
2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon purevanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk or light cream
Assorted food colors (if desired

For the Frosting: In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed. Tint the frosting with desired food color (I use the paste food coloring that is available at decorating stores and party stores).

Makes about 12 cupcakesSource:Hay, Donna. Modern Classics Book 2. Harper Collins Publishers Inc. New York: 2003.

When you present these delicious cupcakes for her Mom's Day gift she will be delighted - and so will everyone else that will benefit from your labor of love - and gee, that's what we're celebrating - right? - Mom's labors of love - for us!

Before you slather on the buttercream frosting - here is some inspiration in this video. Wow - how beautiful. Great idea for you to have fun making the cupcakes for your Mothers Day gift.
For Mom! A Cupcake Bouquet!

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