When my best friend got pregnant I was beyond excited for her. They have wanted a baby for a long time and its been a somewhat painful and trying few years but they hung in there and now have a beautiful baby girl set to arrive early next month. Everything has gone wonderfully throughout the pregnancy and mom is a glowing beauty filled with love and excitement as she waits to meet her baby. She jokes that they should have their hands full if the baby is in any way as active (and rather opinionated) as she has been during this pregnancy. I cannot think of two people who will be better parents and I am looking forward to watching them experience the joyfulness of parenthood. Nothing can prepare someone for the feelings and bond you share for your child, I think for me that was the best surprise. These final weeks I will be anxiously waiting for the phone call in excited anticipation of meeting their new baby girl. I know I sound a bit like a gushy ding-dong which is not normally my style but I know how much being a mom has meant to me, in ways I never expected and I just so happy she gets to experience it too.
The shower itself was a tremendous success and a lot of fun. The cupcakes turned out very cute and it was one those times I felt the cake was cooked perfectly. That is not always easy to achieve with cupcakes, perfection can be lost in just one extra minute. For the cupcakes mommy to be chose a red velvet with cream cheese frosting and a vanilla cupcake filled with blackberry curd and a mascapone blackberry frosting. YUM, is all I can say. They were very good.
Triple Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes 20-24 cupcakes
By: Cupcake Bakeshop
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 2/3 cups vanilla sugar*
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 2/3 cups flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cups + 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
In a medium bowl, measure out flour, baking powder and salt, whisk to combine.
Measure out the milk and vanilla, stir to combine. In your electric mixer, beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add half of the milk mixture and beat to combine, continuing alternating between dry and wet finishing out with the dry. Beat to combine but don’t go crazy and mix it too much. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 2/3 full. Bake the cupcakes for about 22-25 minutes or until they spring back when touched or your cake tester comes out clean.
This blackberry curd is pure heaven, I cannot think of what it wouldn’t taste good on and the best part, you can use frozen berries so it’s a treat for any time of year.
Black berry curd
Adapted from: Use Read Butter
- 4 cups of blackberries, fresh or frozen-thawed
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp orange zest (I have used lemon too and it’s just as good)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 ounces of butter
- 4 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons of water
Puree blackberries in a food processor and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Put the blackberry puree, water and zest into a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir in 1 cup of sugar and 2 ounces of butter. Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. While whisking the berry mixture, pour the cornstarch into the pan. Keep stirring until thick and bubbly and stir for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool with a piece of plastic wrap over the top. You can at this point put it in another container to cool, I always press plastic wrap directly onto the curd even in a Tupperware container.
Blackberry Mascarpone Cream Frosting:
Adapted from: Not So Humble Pie
- 1 pound mascarpone cheese
- 2/3 cup of blackberry curd
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 7 tablespoons sugar
Beat the sugar and cream to soft peaks in your mixer, gently transfer to another bowl. Combine the mascarpone and blackberry curd in the mixer bowl and mix. Then add the cream to the mascarpone mixture. Gently fold to combine until no more streaks remain.
Assembly: Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, cut a cone shaped piece out of the center of the cupcake; place a spoonful of blackberry curd in the hole and place the top back on. (You may need to trim the point of the cone for it to fit back on- oh darn, scraps to eat!) Then place your frosting in a piping bag and pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake.
So far I have always used this recipe for red velvet, there must be a million variations out there but I have had such good consistent results with this one I have never tried another.
Red Velvet cupcakes
Taken directly from: Martha Stewart cupcakes
Yield Makes 24
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color (or an entire 1.5 oz bottle of liquid)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
- Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds-do not skip this step, it important!
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each two-thirds full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
This is my go-to cream cheese recipe, it has wonderful flavor and holds up beautifully for piping swirls.
Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
By: Cupcake Bakeshop
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ vanilla bean, seeds scraped out*
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
With an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.
Add the cream cheese and beat until combined
Add the vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, and 3 cups of powder sugar and start on low speed, scraping down side of the bowl as needed and work your way up to medium speed again until light and fluffy. Add more powder sugar until you get the consistency you need, more is better if you are piping cupcakes. Place frosting in a pastry bag with the tip of your choice and pipe onto the cupcakes, you can be generous with this recipe.
*Make sure you take this empty pod and put it in your vanilla sugar container, which is something everyone should have! :) see…Love for vanilla beans.
On another note, I have to apologize for my lack of posts this summer. I have made and photographed tons of food but had very little time to put it together on here. I have had a summer filled with weddings and baking and I am looking forward to things slowing down this fall. I have many, many things to share with everyone, so I am hoping for a fall full of new posts.