Monday, June 24, 2013

Chocolate and Vanilla Frosted Birthday Cupcakes

THE STORY OF THE 50 CUPCAKES


We were sitting across from each other at the old wooden dining room table inherited from my in-laws before he was even born, each of us at our respective laptops, working. Suddenly he looked up at me, pausing in his typing, a glimmer of mischief in his golden eyes, and he said “You’re requisitioned to make 50 cupcakes for my birthday party.” Sly grin slid over his face, smugness oozing from each and every pore. “Requisitioned? Don’t you mean “commissioned”? I asked, always in the habit of correcting those slight errors of language in my multilingual boys. 
Typety type type. His fingers once again clattered across the keyboard of his laptop. He peered closely at the screen before reading aloud: “Requisition: an authoritative or formal demand for something to be done, given, supplied, etc.” “No,” he assured me, “I meant requisitioned.”

And so I found myself scurrying around my kitchen in a panic, flour puffing up around me in great clouds, cocoa powder leaving dark traces across my face, the heavenly scent of vanilla the only thing calming me down. I am always thrilled when my boys ask me to bake for their friends and a birthday party to boot, but why do I take on such Herculean chores that I know only throw me in a tizzy? The cursing emanates from the kitchen on waves of chocolate and cinnamon as I make every effort to measure, stir, pour without dropping anything on the floor, pans and bowls balanced precariously on counter edges and stovetop, utensils scattered willy-nilly all over the kitchen, cupboard doors and drawers gaping accusingly. I watch the clock closely as the minutes tick by, knowing that I have little wiggle room for errors, mishaps or flops. And I still have bowls of buttercream to whip up.



But this is a special day. My baby boy turns 25. Yes, 25 years old. As my own mother would say whenever one of her own children announced yet another birthday “What? You are almost as old as I am! Soon you will be older than I!” Oh yes.



With Uncle Michael

My little bundle of joy. No need to carry you along on a voyage of the years flown by; those of you who are parents already know how it works, those who are not parents will not understand the nostalgia, poignant sadness touched by joy. From plump little baby to curious – more than curious, in his case – toddler to young boy passionate about nature and a gloriously happy eater. Through those turbulent teen years to that odd limbo between adolescence and adulthood – mostly spent in bed, head firmly buried under covers - when he had no idea where to go, what to become, to this. A smart, handsome, funny, oh-so clever and talented young man. Architect, entrepreneur, future politician….


So 50 cupcakes and all of the trouble and anguish that it entailed (necessitated, one could say) was well worth it. A gift for Clem and his friend who shares this birthday with him, a joint party. So I baked. I used several recipes, two for chocolate cupcakes, two for vanilla. And only one disaster of overfilling and overflowing cupcake batter. By the time that I arrived at the frosting stage, I only had time for my Simple Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, but happily it is the best and my sons’ favorite frosting. So I made six batches. Yes, six. And as the clock inched closer to 6 p.m. and pickup time, I pulled out pastry bag and plain tip, all the colored sprinkles I had in my cupboard, the cookies I bought a day earlier expressly for the purpose and began the assembly line production. If in doubt of one’s piping and decorating skills, simply shower cupcakes with sprinkles.

Ta daaaa!!!


Happy Birthday, Clément!


For the cupcakes, I used:

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES


Simple One-Bowl Special Chocolate Cake : makes 12 cupcakes

Emergency Blender Chocolate Cupcakes (an Abby Dodge recipe) – makes 12 cupcakes



VANILLA CUPCAKES

Better-Than-Instant Vanilla Cupcakes (an Abby Dodge recipe) – makes 12 cupcakes

Yellow Layer Cake (from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum) : makes about 36 cupcakes filling the cups only half full. Do not overfill!

Try my Vanilla Sponge Cake in cupcake cups for the same light, ethereal cupcake, filling the papers only half full.

Simple Chocolate Buttercream Frosting – without the mascarpone if the cupcakes will be sitting out or made a day ahead. Feel free to whip in mascarpone if serving immediately to have a richer frosting (you will also need less buttercream). Make one – the recipe given is a double batch - recipe of the frosting at a time (or half, as needed), piping as you like. Simply have enough softened butter, powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder on hand and ready to make more single or double batches as needed; this recipe whips up in a flash. If the buttercream is too soft to pipe immediately, simply pop into the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so.

27 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Beautiful cupcakes! A great birthday treat.

Baking big quantities tends to stress me, especially since my kitchen is tiny...

Cheers,

Rosa

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Happy Birthday to your handsome son, Jamie. Chocolate cupcakes are the perfect party food. They do grow up so fast, way too fast.

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com said...

Happy Birthday to your son, Jamie!!! Great celebratory cupcakes!!

Kids do grow up way too fast :)

Rambling Tart said...

You are a wonderful mother, Jamie! :-) Whipping up 50 cupcakes is no easy feat. Clement must feel loved to bits. :-)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a gorgeous boy he is!! Happy Birthday to Clément and may he have many more happy, fun filled and cupcake filled birthdays :D

Amanda said...

What a lovely - and lucky - young man. I love to bake for my kids, so it's nice to think they'll still want cake from me when they are all grown up and independent. Whenever that will be.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

Happy Birthday Clem! You do not look old enough for a 25 year old son. If I were you, I'd make him say 18 for a few more years. :)

He's so cute!

A Canadian Foodie said...

What a lovely tribute and beautiful young man who has his mothers lips!
:)
V

sandy axelrod said...

Happy Birthday to your handsome son. I understand completely about the age thing. Our son just turned 40 and I don't know how that could be possible since I am only 35! LOL!! At least that is how old I feel. The cupcakes are gorgeous and I can't wait to try some of the recipes.

Jamie said...

@Sandy Axelrod - Thank you, your comment made me laugh out loud! Here's to kids who are now older than their moms!

Lisa said...

Happy 25th to Clem! I remember turning 25 and thinking 'OMG, I'm half way to 30 - I'm so old!" It's amazing how fast times flies, and yes, before he knows it, he will be your age lol I applaud you for turning out 50 cupcakes..I wish I was there to help make them diappear, they look fantastic! xo

Barb | Creative Culinary said...

Happy Birthday to your sweet son and to you Jamie...I think mom's deserve some measure of those birthday wishes, after all, we were there and actually remember the 'birth' day!!

What an effort and extraordinary show of your love...my birthday is in December; won't you be my Mommy? :)

Mother said...

Veramente splendidi.
Un grande saluto.

Liz Berg said...

I think I've been requisitioned, too...for a BBQ my 27 y/o is attending this weekend. We're not picky...he said :/ I can just picture the clouds of flour and cocoa...it sounds so familiar! Happy, happy birthday to your son...he and his friends are very lucky. Your cupcakes are beautiful.

Barbara Bakes said...

A perfect birthday dessert perfectly decorated. Happy Birthday!

Elizabeth said...

You are the best! How wonderful. But I do worry on your behalf about how the number of cupcakes will go up with each birthday. How on earth will you manage when you have to make 80 cupcakes on Clément's 40th birthday?

Jamie said...

@Elizabeth: that would mean that at 40 he is still celebrating with his friend Anne-Sophie who has the same birth date. If that is the case, I'll ask her mother to make half :-)

Carolyn Jung said...

What a sweet post -- in each and every way. Mmm, 50 cupcakes is a gift, indeed.

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen said...

I hope he know what a great mom he has to whip him up 50 cupcakes on demand!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

You are hereby commissioned to make chocolate cupcakes for all of my future birthdays! To me, they look lovely. (And who are we to have kids who are so old???)

Terra said...

Awww, your son is so lucky!!! 50 cupcakes that is beautiful, whew that was a mission on your hands, and you knocked them out of the park! I love that you used mascarpone in the frosting, that sounds rich and decadent! Beautiful, Hugs, Terra

Jamie said...

@Terra - thanks! And you'll notice I only made batches of 12 at a time ha ha.

Cuisine de Provence said...

What a cute guy! And the cupcakes are not bad either....

Kate@Diethood said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! He looks like the French gentleman that I envisioned! :)

P.S. I think when you are multilingual, such as myself, it is easier to find words to express yourself. :)

Ivy said...

Happy (belated) birthday wishes from here as well. A lovely birthday treat for your sons birthday!

Charul @ Tadka Masala said...

These cupcakes look yumm! Belated birthday wishes for the handsome man! :)

Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes said...

Sweet, sweet post. A belated happy birthday to your son Jamie! The requisitioned cupcakes are just gorgeous; sprinkles always save the day. Great job!

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