Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cupcakes for birthdays

We celebrated Partner's birthday this week. My birthday last month was pretty lousy, and I don't want to go into it, but Partner's was good: well, mostly; he still had to work, and then our childbirth class was scheduled for that evening, so we spent two hours at the hospital as well. Afterwards, however, we walked up the hill to a nice Indian restaurant. In addition, I made some cupcakes (they are called fairy cakes in this country) from our favorite recipe, which I would like to share--be warned, you will need a set of scales:

Genoise Cupcakes

-4 ounces (weight) sugar
-4 eggs
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-4 ounces (weight) self-raising flour (all-purpose flour may be substituted)
-Pinch of salt

1)Preheat the oven to 375F. Depending on the size of your cupcake tins, this will make about 12-15 cupcakes; have muffin cups ready in the tins, or if not using muffin cups, grease and coat the cupcake tins with sugar. 2)Using an electric mixer, whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla for 10 minutes. The mixture will be tripled in volume, nearly white, and form soft peaks. 3)Very gently, sift the flour and salt into the egg mixture in three batches, folding each batch in. It is important not to overmix at this point. 4)Divide the batter into the cupcake tins, and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the tops are light gold, springy, and a toothpick comes out clean. 5)Let cool in the tins for about 5 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely before frosting.

And if you wish a very quick, tasty frosting here is enough to cover the above recipe:

Butter Frosting

-3 ounces (weight) butter
-6 ounces (weight) icing/powdered sugar
-1/4 tsp vanilla
-1 or 2 Tbsp milk
-2 or 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional--leave out if you want vanilla frosting)

1)Beat the butter and sugar until thoroughly combined. 2)Add the vanilla and enough milk to make the frosting spreadable. 3)Add the cocoa powder if desired, and blend in completely. Use immediately--do not refrigerate.

I've had a bad case of the blahs this weekend. I think it's the hormones. I'm so tired all the time--as in I want to sleep all day--and I feel like an alien spawn is ready to burst out of my skin. I'm still working on my schoolwork and my current crochet projects so even though I'm seriously demotivated, at least I don't feel like a complete failure on top of it. If I may share a tip for helping cope with the blahs: eat lots of fruit. I don't know what it is, but about half an hour after eating an apple and an orange, I usually have a bit more drive to sit down to the piano or wash the dishes or whatever.

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