Today I have two goodies to share in honor of this very special day: my sweet mom's birthday! She is such a blessing to me and I thank our great Lord every night for her. We are both goofballs in dire need of daily chocolate and sugary coffee concoctions, so we naturally get along very well. ;) I'm extending her celebration here to share the birthday card and cupcakes I made her. :o)
I was in a mega time crunch, but I did manage to make her a quick sweet card. She comes to expect handmade creations by now, so panic was rising as the clock refused to halt. She loves pearls and treats (see how great she is?!), so I decided upon a spruced up cupcake. Who can resist pearly and rhinestone frosting? Unseen in the soft photo is the base pink cardstock. It is embossed with the most beautiful filigree design. Feel free to visualize it! I coated the cherry with Glossy Accents (love) and embossed/sparkled the fudge frosting to mimic swirled sanding sugars. The cupcake is popped up for dimension... hopefully she won't eat it. The interior sentiment lovingly states: "Wishing you a birthday as sweet as you!"
Time for Sweet Saturday! Here are the birthday girl's cupcakes. Disclaimer: While it looks like my chubby kitty piped the frosting, it was in fact I who did it. Normally I decorate very well... but it was 4:30am and my eyes felt like diamond-encrusted sandpaper. Also, my mechanical pastry bag broke mid-swirl. Minutes later my make-shift disposable pastry bag exploded twice during use. Peculiar! (Okay, they weren't explosions... more like wildly dangerous hiccups.) Nonetheless, this recipe is FANTASTIC. If you need a classic go-to vanilla cake or chocolate frosting, you have met your new love. Even unadorned (by request), these are stellar.
While I believe frosting should tower twice as high as the cupcake itself, I scaled this batch down for the festivities. Somehow, not everyone agrees with me. ;) This frosting is super chocolatey, rich, and dreamy. Those little dark flecks you see in the cupcakes are vanilla bean seeds. So gorgeous. This recipe yields a moist, tender, fluffy cake. In other words, the perfect vanilla cake.
Thank you very much for visiting. I hope your weekend is jam-packed with sparkly blessings. :o) Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go devour another cupcake. Join me! (Bonus: This recipe yields over two dozen cupcakes... you are essentially forced to keep a few for yourself.)
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
Yield: approximately 30 cupcakes
3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together and set aside. Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer with the butter and discard the pod (or reserve for another use). Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.
Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about ⅔ of the way full. (You will likely have extra batter after filling 24 wells.) Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Replace your paper liners and bake remaining batter if desired. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.
Source: Annie's Eats, who adapted it from Confections of a Foodie Bride, who adapted it from The Well-Decorated Cake
14 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped (I use semi-sweet or milk)
9 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
9 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
6 tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. sour cream
Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Set aside to cool until just barely warm. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Gradually mix in the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Beat in the the melted and cooled chocolate, followed by the sour cream. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Frost cupcakes immediately.
Source: Barely adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
Key Birthday Card Recipe Components:
* Cricut cartridges: Simply Charmed, Storybook
* Cuttlebug D'vine Swirls embossing folder
* Paper: American Crafts, Papertrey Ink, DCWV, miscellaneous from stash
* Ribbon: Target
* Miscellaneous: Glossy Accents, Studio G glitter glue