Good morning! It’s true, today is my birthday. Today I am turning my Mom’s current age minus 25 years (maybe that’ll keep her from telling you all my age, hehe).
I asked my Mom if she’d send a few pictures this way, from me when I was little, or of birthday’s, and these are a few that she sent.
Here’s my at my second birthday…I guess my Mom was ahead of the times with “smash cakes” because I had my own little cake to devour and destroy. Nice!
This is me, around 3 years old, baking with my Mom. I vaguely remember this, because I pulled my little chair from my little chair and table set up to the counter, and hiked up that apron. It was either cookie dough or bread dough, but definitely not gluten free.
Don’t you love the design of my parent’s kitchen? The fake ivy covered brick wallpaper, and the very printed flooring, which was mostly orange
in colour. Gotta love the early 80′s!
Ah yes, my 5th birthday. The hat and pin were either from school, or Sunday School, I can’t quite remember. Why do kids not have to wear paper crown for their birthday’s anymore? I wonder if I have construction paper big enough to fit around my head today?
That cake my Mom decorated herself from her Wilson cake decorating book. It has a ballerina on it, I’m not sure why, since I was a total tomboy, and ballerinas were not my thing. But, I did like it! And my birthday was quite often around Easter, so that’s why there are coloured eggs on the table, just in case you thought decorated with pastel eggs all the time.
I have been blessed to have over 30 wonderful birthday’s, and I am thankful for each and every one. I am old enough now to have seen that not everyone is that fortunate. I will not take my years for granted.
Today, my kiddos and I are starting the day with chocolate chip orange pancakes, and then we will be spending the day with my parents. More blessings right there, spending time with those that raised me, and those that I am raising.
Thanks for joining me today. I made you some cupcakes. I was so undecided about the flavours, there are so many different combinations that I want to try. Chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, mocha, white chocolate, and the list goes on. But, since it’s finally starting to feel like spring here, I decided to go with something a little lighter in flavour.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (see Note)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 package instant Lemon Pudding, 4 serving size (I used Jello Brand)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ (icing) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup strawberries (about 4 ounces), hulled
- Source: Martha Stewart Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (8 ounces), rinsed, hulled, and coarsely chopped
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Line muffin tins with papers, and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together flour mixture, salt, baking powder, Xanthan gum, and instant pudding until combined. Stir together milk, canola oil, vanilla and zest in another bowl.
- Beat together sugar and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed just until combined, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour and milk mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing until just combined.
- Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins, and bake in the middle of the oven for 22-27 minutes, or until a wooden pick or skewer inserted into center of the cupcake comes out clean.
- Cool cupcakes in pans on racks for 10 minutes. Remove to cooling racks & cool completely before filling and frosting.
- Based on a recipe by Martha Stewart Kids, Volume 21 Spring 2006
- Put cream cheese, butter, and confectioners’ sugar into mixer bowl; mix until creamy. Mix in vanilla. Puree strawberries in a food processor. Mix the puree into the cream cheese mixture. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Stir before using.
- Place the strawberries in a food processor. Puree until completely smooth.
- Combine the egg white and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F and the sugar has dissolved. If you are not sure, feel the mixture with your fingers, it should not be gritty at all anymore. If it is still gritty, keep heating and whisking it.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes. The bowl should be cool to the touch at this point.
- Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again. Give it time, it will come together again. Blend in the strawberry puree until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- To fill the cooled cupcakes, I used an apple corer, and pushed it down into the middle of the cupcake while twisting it. Just be sure to not go through to the bottom of your cupcake, you want to have cake under your filling. Remove cake “plug”, leaving a hole for the filling.
- Place Strawberry Cream Cheese filling in a zipper seal bag, and snip a corner open. Pipe the filling into the cooled cupcakes.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large decorating tip with the Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and pipe it onto the cooled cupcakes as desired, and garnish with fresh berry slices.
The Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling is adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart Kids, Volume 21 Spring 2006.
The Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream is from Martha Stewart Cupcakes
I’ll leave you with a few more pics…