Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Birthday Nonsense

At midnight on my birthday, I was roused from my computer daze by the sight of the boy with my favorite kind of cake: grocery store cake. The kind that makes your teeth squeak.

Birthday Cake
And it was pretty much all sugar and roses from there on out. Literally. Lots of sugar, roses, and champagne, to be precise. Damn, it feels good to be a gangster. Where gangster is whitest girly girl ever.

The weekend had everything good: burgers at 5 Guys, brunch with friends, fancy cocktails at this bar, which I highly recommend, and my beautiful, amazing friends.

Birthday Nails by Sally Hansen

Birthday Necklace by The Boy

I also made some birthday cupcakes for a little slumber party I had with a few of my girlfriends and they were pretty amazing, if you don't mind my bragging. I adapted them from this recipe and here's what I came up with:

Birthday Cupcakes
aka strawberry champagne cupcakes
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup champagne/sparkling white wine
2/3 cup strawberry puree (the original recipe calls for 1/3 but this makes them super moist)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 

For Frosting
1 cup champagne
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk or cream, as needed
and I added 1/3 cup strawberry puree. This made the frosting softer and more of a glaze, giving the cupcakes kind of a jam taste which I love, love, loved but omit if you want a more classic cupcake. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk, champagne, strawberry puree, sugar, vanilla, and oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth. Fill cupcake liners with a scant 1/4 cup of batter (cups should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 18-22 minutes or until set, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

For frosting, bring champagne to a simmer in a small saucepan. Continue to boil gently until only 2-3 tablespoons of liquid remain. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. This happens faster than you think. One second it's bubbly champagne and the next it's syrup, so be sure and watch it. I overdid mine a little, and lost a lot of the champagne-y flavor in the frosting.

Cream butter in electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Slowly add 1 cup sugar and beat until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons reduced champagne and mix. Continue to add confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until light and fluffy. Add cream or more sugar as necessary to achieve proper consistency. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

 Then, if you are so inclined, top with strawberries and beautiful mermaid cupcake toppers that were a gift from your mom. 

I hope you all are having a great week- mine is lots of coffee, classes, work and email catch up. This weekend I head home to help my mom move and I'm trying to get my affairs in order before then.

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